Research activity is
intended to contribute to the expansion of knowledge and to the innovation of science.
It is based on universal principles of honesty, integrity, honor and
responsibility on which the academic community constructs its foundation. The
ethical principle of research involves the regulations, professional norms and
obligations specific to each discipline. The undertakings of scholarly research
are defined in the framework of the ethical Research Code. However, with the
use of the Internet and the availability of innumerable information, the
academic community is confronted with a new form of dilemma: plagiarism. Thus,
assuming there were no rules for conduct of ethical research and no software to
detect plagiarism. Would it matter? In this context, it is therefore important to
question into both in term of shared empowerment in the face of the Internet,
and of its impact on the emergence of deviant practices as the question is
being tackled. It is also important to define the conduct of ethical research,
and then analyze its importance in scholarly research. 

Conformity to the academic
rules, norms and standards of ethical research is a warranty of the quality of
the research carried out. Research never occurs as an accident, nor carried out
in a vacuum, but always in a professional and social environment that can occasionally
impede on one’s level of values in a context where productivity, fame, and
competition have become more important.  The advent of the Internet has changed the
ways information is gathered. The wealth of resources to which students,
professionals and researchers can refer to on the Internet and the many ways to
carry out research works with less effort can also be tainted with plagiarism. Thus,
research must be carried out in respect of the practices and ethical principles
appropriate to each discipline. Being aware of the risks of the enormous field
of information on the Internet, plagiarism must remain a permanent concern of
ethical research for honest and competent professionals.

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The question that that
we must be concerned about here is whether the development of the Internet and
innovative practices induced has not distorted the boundaries between conduct
of ethical research and plagiarism. It is not clear what the answer should be. Nor
can one address the ethical problem of plagiarism posed by the Internet simply by
providing a set of rules of conduct or a code of conduct that regulates
research on the Web. First, because to not plagiarize or steal an intellectual
work without thinking about one’s own behavior has little to do with ethics,
and secondly while the internet has largely contributed to changing the way in
which research is conducted, the way in which student knowledge is validated
should also be changed. So it would not matter whether the academic community just
sticks to the ethical laws to fix the problems of plagiarism. It’s all about personal
integrity and moral courage. If plagiarism is understood as the appropriation of
a publisher’s work or text, a researcher who follows his profession code of
ethic will not do it.

However, it would be naïve
to attribute the problem of plagiarism sole to the Internet.  It would also be erroneous to consider that
the internet is the direct cause of the deviant phenomena that can be observed
today in scholarly community. Instead, those in the research community need to embrace
the ethics and morality of their professions and take them seriously. The rules
for conduct of ethical research are designed to raise the consciousness of professionals
to be responsible, to take action and to respect their fundamental values. What
is valid and moral for a professional in everyday life as a researcher would
also be valid and moral on the Internet. I mean a researcher needs to be honest
in all aspect of his daily research. After all, the professional code of
conduct is the cornerstone on which our professional behaviors and actions are based.

Research should always
be conducted in a genuine spirit of quest for knowledge. Researchers should
promote a climate of research integrity and responsibility and foster public
confidence. Respecting the rules of ethical code of research can result in
professionals and all research stakeholders to be impartial and transparent. It
is in this context of very strong integrity, morality and responsibility that
the rules for conduct of ethical research would matter. Research integrity
involves good practices and behaviors and it comes naturally. It promotes
reflection, autonomy and a greater sense of responsibility.

It is
therefore very important to understand that the internet and the Web have
become, before anything else, a colossal and an indispensable source of
information. They offer a multitude of knowledge.  However, this wealth of knowledge forces all
users of digital resources to learn about what it appropriate and legal to do. Researches
and the reproduction of resources have never been easier. However, this
phenomenon generates an avalanche of problems, including plagiarism.
Professionals and Scholars are too often content to copy and paste fragments of
text. Plagiarism has many consequences, all negative and can lead to very
serious sanctions. When the practice of plagiarism becomes widespread in the
scholarly communities, it shows a clear lack of rules for conduct of ethical
research, a lack of knowledge and a lack of integrity. 

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