Plagiarism as an Ethical Issue in Engineering
Plagiarism is defined as the wrongful adoption, close limitation or publication of another author’s dialect, thoughts or terminologies, and then representing them as one’s own original work. It refers to the illegal act of purporting one’s original creation, especially in relation to the publication field, to be of one’s own creation. Though this act is thought as theft in some contents, its inhibition does not exist in a legal sense. Under most statutes in most countries, it’s challenged as the use of fair competition or a violation of the moral rights statute. This competition was however appreciated until the 18th century, before which authors and artists were discouraged from ‘unnecessary invention’ and instead encouraged to copy the works of their predecessors. This is unlike in the present form of plagiarism where writers are discouraged from emulating other peoples’ exact words in their work.
Regardless whether one paraphrases the original ideas or not, they still remain borrowed ideas and therefore need to be cited. This is especially the case in the area of engineering, where individuals can easily copy other people’s innovative ideas, such as designs and blueprints, and present them as their own. This essay argues that plagiarism not only encourages intellectual dishonesty, but also violates ethical codes in the field of engineering, and therefore needs to be discouraged within the intellectual and professional community. Most plagiarize because they think that changing the wording of a sentence makes it their original work. Not surprisingly, the question that a potential plagiarizer asks is “”How many words do I need to change so I’m not plagiarizing?” Irrespective of the field in which thoughts, ideas and publications appear, there exist several ethics that define the difference between what should be termed as right or wrong. These ethics can be grouped into several fields, based on the filed they apply and based on the scholars who argued their existence.
These virtue fields include: Virtue ethics. These were advocated for by aristotle, a greek scholar. His argument applies in the modern field in the sense that all individuals ought to endeavor for happiness.tgis is aimed at being as human as they can, while learning to balance between honesty, which is painful to deal with, and dishonesty, which according to clich’e is a vice. In the case of engineers, the should ask themselves the following question while deciding on the projects they want to come up with: “What kind of a person do I want to be?” They should also realise that honesty is a state of character and also avirtue.
Plgiarizing on purpose diminshes one’s own character and personality standards. Ethical relativism. This theory of ethics was proposed by Bernard Williams, who proposed that morality erupted from cultural norms. He argued that the society’s culture is that of citations. According to this theory, the culture of probable plagiarists is to plagiarize. It proposes that just like ‘polygamy’, plagiarism is morally wrong in some fields of appplication and yet acceptable in another society.
This is however not very applicable in the modern context of plagiarism as it considered a vice in most fields. Utiliritarianism. According to its proposing founders, Betham and Mill, good deeds in any field lead to a reward, experience and in general, a net benefit. The main aim of this ethic is promotion of the use of original and innovative ideas to complete projects, with the expectations of receiving a reward. This reward need not necessarily be materiliastic in nature.
This theory however, also pupports that in some cases, it is morally correct to cheat. It however argues that in most cases, the result of cheating, which in our case, is the use of plagiarism, leads to more emotional pain and unhappiness than the opposite. The theory argues that the effects of the cheating process are not only felt by the person carrying out the act but also by those at close range of the perpetrator. Ethics of care. This was suggested by Noddings and Gillian. They argued about the moral effects of the act of plagiarizing on a third party who is close to the person taking part in plagiarism.
Kantian Ethics. Another perspective towards this ethical proposition is the’ do to others what you’d like them to do to you.’ This theory was proposed by Kant, who argued that it is not right to plagiarize an individual;s project or idea, if you would not like it it someone also plagiarized your own ideas. Ethical issues, hence, determine what is expected of an individual. They ought to accept and acknowledge their mistakes, embrace honesty, behave as responsible individuals, learn not to discriminate on what to do and not. Hence engineers are expected, while following the code of ethics that are in place, to learn on limiting their decision making beyond their levels of competence.
Thus, it is necessary to observe honesty and integrity “to restore to maintai society’s trust in the engineering profession”. This policy is intended to reinforce these values. They are also not supposed to expose secrets that ought to be kept. These would include the secrets of their profession etc. engineers are also, according to ethics, supposed to maintain such values as honesty, originality and innovation.
Based on this, plagiarism is, hence, a clear violation of the code of conduct of the ethics in the engineering field. Moreover, in the professsion of engineering, ethics are more to do with the application of common senses in the process of decision making. This is because in this field, it is difficult to predict the occurrence of events that need the consideration of ethics, or just mere common sense. Hence ethics are an important part of the engineering field. In relation to the engineering field, the concept of plagiarism applies in terms of heusterics. These reffers to the process of serving or encouraging one to understand, point out and solve problems on his or her own.
This is achieved by frequent experimenting, evaluating possible solutions and answers. Heusterics could also mean the use of trial and error method. In engineering, ethics are defined in terms of several key attributes. Engineering involves the use ot heusterics, irrespective of the activity that the engineer undertakes. According to engineers, the percepyion of ‘best;’ is deifferent from that of theorists.
The work of an engineer ought to be judged in terms of the level of technology that exists at the time his or her design is made. This is meant to represent the best engineering practice in existence. The best pracice in engineering is dtermined based on the heuristics that are used to design and make projects.. Hence it is true to argue that engineering is a heuristic. Ethics in this field have hence evolved considerably in the previous years.
This is mainly because engineers appreciate their responsibility in the society, which is not only innovating new technologies, discoveries and designs, but also in acting to the best of their reach to porotect the interest of the public as they, the engineers innovate and come up with new ideas. Beginning from their early school days, engineers are reminded of their responsiblilities by the frequent application and use of heusterics. This plays a great deal in their field as they get used to the promotion of ehtics and conduct. The major obligation among the ethics and conducts of the engineers is not only a personal responsibity of the enginners but t is the greatest and main aim of the code of ethics amng the engineers. The engineers are expected to promote this by becoming innovative and creative in their line of duty.
They are trained as much as possible to minimise cases of plagiarism in their innovations, as a means of protecting the rights and interests of the public, who are their employers, contracters, etc. the public bestows its faith upon the innovations that the engineers come up with. Hence these engineers, as a way of protectin the interest of the public, ought to always consider this fact. However, as a current trend, most engineers tend to compete amongst themselves as a way of proving their superiority. Consequently, they end up using the ideas of their previous predecessors in the field of engineering, and claiming them to be their own creation.
Thus the professional engineering societies resolved to establishing a code of ethicsw to minimise such these cases. They came up with such policies as: the licencing of engineers, legislation of engineering policies to allow for copyrights and patenting of projects. Research shows that persistent concern in the field of engineering is the issue of data forgery. According to researcher William M. Worek, the work of engineers ought to be treated as intellectul property. Hence whatever innovations and ideas that the engineers come up with ought to be treated as having a separate leagal entity.
This menas that they are solely the creations of the engineers who came up with them and not of any other persons. They should enjoy exclusive fights whereby the owners or innovators enjoy the exclusive ownership rights of their ideas. This is in itself an enccouragement as it increases the engineers’ confidence and attribution to innovation. According to William, science, in the recent years now does a better job of protecting the interest of the intersts of the public. This is because of the introduction of plagiarism detection programs, which greatly, redeces the chances of engineers pupporting that their fellow counterparts’ work is theirs.
Furthermore, it is mandatory for any student pursuing an engineering course to take a lesson(s) about the issues of plagiarism and its relation to materials. This orientation is useful, since it brings the engineering students at per with the current trends in the worls and also inhibits their reliance to plagiarised materials for projects. According to Margaret Bailey, who is a professor of mechanical engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology, students who partake courses in plagiarism and its effects in the engineering field, fair better in their careers. This is unlike their opposites, who, according to the professor, don’t grasp the fact that theyheld the responsibility of, not only come up with innovations but also participate in the ‘after lives’ of these innovations. E.g.
the legislation, determination of how their projects impact the society at large.this can be a major taunt to the perception that the society has on the engineering field as their projects are prone to awry results in future. They may cause mishaps that are of high intensity to the society.the perception of the society is that somewhere along the line in the development of the project, some form of corruption or nepotism took place, leading to the plagiarism of someone’s work and hence the production of shawdy projects. This taunt to the name of engineers spreads all over the professon irrespective of the number of indivuals who actually practice the imoral act of plagiarism and adoption of the ideas of others.
It diminishes all engineers in the end, and most of those who were well trained, well intentioned and well principled end up losing a large lump of their psyche to work. Their general output is hence affected and hence the entire fitled f engineering is also affected. Moreove3r, these weell intentioned engineers also end up making decisions that are of unethical due to the frustrations that they under go. Leading to a flaw in the general outcome from them. Hence the study of the lessons mentioned above is hence, essential since it leadss to the genaral diminishing of the existence of the immoral activities that are related to plagiarism. This is more so due to the fact that the modern trends that are in existence are of a nature wher by most of the dailly lives of the society depends on engineers to innvate products that ease the level of hussle that mwembers of a society go through.
The society expects these products to be of a perfect nature The tastes and preferences of the members of the society also matter a lot in determining the nature of products that engineers ought to produce .Consumers in the society prefer products that are differentiated, yet they serve almost the same purposes. Hence, plagiarism in the society hinders this preference and tastes of the consumers in the society. If the products that engieers come up with are of a nature such that they are plagiarised, then consumers hesitate from consuming such products, and hence a decline in the level of returns expected from the engineering field. Hence plagiarism also affects the economic benefits associated with the sales and returns from engineering innovations.
This calls for the need to come with ways of curbing plagiarism, such as changing labolatory experiments frequently. Engineering is also a key basis for the development of the infrastructure of any country. The engineers are left with the larger portion of deciding on crucial question os how, where and when key developments of infrastracture develops. Hence the ethics of conduct greatly become of use. If the engineers that exist in acertain country, for example, did not get a good orientation into the ehtics of the profession, it is likely that the ideas for projects that they have are not based on originality, but are rather plagiarised.
The fact that they are plagiarised means that they lack some aspect of originality that the originals have, and are therefore not expected to be built to the correct standards. This means that plagiarism of these projects greatly inhibits the rate at which the infrastrure of such countries grow. Plagiarism, in general, does not adhere to the code of ethics that are attributed to several fields. In relation to te field of engineering, plagiarism greatly affects several key sectors related to the profession. Some of these include the decline in output, the decline in revenue slow growth in the economic and social fields of the societies. Hence, plagiarism is an unethical issue in the field of engineering.