If you go back just 25 years ago, plagiarism was hard work. One had to go to the library, find sources to copy from, retype those sources and then turn them in as their own. By the time one does all of that, they are a large part of the way to doing a non-plagiarized assignment so there was little benefit to risking punishment and shame.
Plagiarism isn’t necessarily about picking out the wheat from the chaff; it is about copying other peoples work without referencing or acknowledging it.
Whether it is Nick Simmons facing allegations of plagiarism in his comic book, plagiarism in crossword puzzles or accusations of plagiarism in photography, plagiarism is a problem in nearly every single field where creativity is valued.
You might think the one area of academia that would be safe from plagiarism is the research and discussion of plagiarism itself. You’d still be wrong.
In 2017, a paper published in Saudi Arabia on the factors leading to plagiarism, as well as suggested remedies, contained plagiarism. In 2015, an Indian paper presenting guidelines for plagiarism was retracted for, once again, plagiarism.
While such incidents are still very rare, especially when stacked up against other areas of research, even the research of plagiarism is not immune to plagiarism.
Incase it wasn’t obvious, I didn’t write a single word of the post above. The first paragraph was from a 2011 article from plagarismtoday.com, the second from an article by Zack Whittaker for iGeneration, and the closing paragraphs were plucked straight from a blog post on Turnitin’s website (the academic plagiarism checker my university uses).
Our ideas, once posted, are no longer safe. But when you’re giving them away, it’s hard to be bothered by anyone stealing them.