• 1 School of Dental Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kelantan, 16150, Malaysia
  • 2 School of Dentistry, University of Dundee, Park Place, Dundee, DD1 4HN, Scotland, UK
  • 3 College of Dentistry, Jouf University, Sakaka, 72721, Saudi Arabia.
  • 4 School of Dental Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kelantan, 16150, Malaysia.
Br Dent J, 2020 Oct 20.
PMID: 33082524 DOI: 10.1038/s41415-020-2026-4


Objective Following a survey of the literature, a systematic review was carried out with the aim of answering the following questions: 1) What is 'acceptable plagiarism'?; 2) Who carries out plagiarism?; 3) What factors could encourage plagiarism?; 4) How can plagiarism be managed?Data source and selection Following PRISMA guidelines, data were gathered by searching Scopus, PubMed and Web of Science. After removal of duplicates, 345 titles were identified. Then, having satisfied a priori eligibility criteria, 29 papers were interrogated. The quality of relevant papers (n = 23) was assessed using the Joanna Briggs Critical Appraisal Tool.Data extraction There was no clear threshold as to what is 'acceptable plagiarism'. Despite this lack of clarity, it is argued consistently that males, and those who wrote in a language that is not their mother tongue, were more likely to plagiarise.Conclusion Plagiarism is all but inescapable due to various reasons: 1) there is no agreed threshold as to what is 'acceptable plagiarism'; 2) the internet; 3) institutional; and 4) societal expectations. Plagiarism could be mitigated in the student domain by grammar support and, for example, non-written submissions such as presenting work by video. Academic fraud is fundamentally undermined by valuing original and creative scholarship and sound ethical principles.

* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.