2-day doctoral seminar

Plagiarism: revealing fractures in the individual and collective production of knowledge


We offer this second type of seminar for doctoral students–the future guardians of academic and scientific integrity–at times of the day suitable to their schedules. The sample schedule below is from our seminar at the School of Criminal Science of the University of Lausanne (25-26/11/2015).


Our work as researchers has changed dramatically as a result of the rule of “publish or perish,” electronic communications, online libraries and other factors. These changes have come about so quickly that we have not had time to establish stable guidelines for ethical behavior. Every year, PhD dissertations are rejected and reputations destroyed on the grounds of academic negligence because the authors plagiarized the writings of others. In this seminar, we use our case files and the research we carry out as a base and cover the following topics:

1st day (14:00 to 17:15): Mastering the subject

– The first topic is how someone does (or does not) become a plagiarist and the factors that can contribute to the making of a plagiarist even at the doctoral level. This has serious consequences because, all over the world, doctoral degrees can be withdrawn many years after they are awarded. We will provide illustrative cases, and the doctoral candidates will also be invited to share their experiences.

–  We then address the 10 consequences of plagiaristic behavior so that participants can understand the nature of the problem and move beyond a simple focus on “who copied whom?” The doctoral candidates will then apply their understanding of the 10 consequences to real-life cases.

–  The third topic is plagiarist profiles. The goal is to stop making generalizations about behaviors and to stop thinking in terms of oppositions such as “good or bad” and “perpetrator or victim.” Participants learn how to recognize the types of plagiarists and how to either communicate with them or avoid and sanction them.


2nd day (9:15 to 12:15 and 13:15 to 17:15): Developing expertise

– The fourth topic involves using our evaluation templates to classify 5 types of plagiarism, which differ in the nature and extent of the deception employed by the plagiarist. We demonstrate the signature marks of a plagiarist and how they can be spotted without using detection software (by doing this, the participants clearly gauge the risks of their own behavior, if it is less than irreproachable).

– We then explain the workings of the committees that review cases of plagiarism (including the risks involved, precautions to take and issues of confidentiality) and the formal legal charges (such as counterfeiting or defamation).

–  Two to three case files that are under study are then presented. All were prepared following plagiarism complaints related to doctoral dissertations and will be analyzed by the students. The participants take on different roles (plagiarist, victim, co-authors, dissertation director, chair of the dissertation committee, publisher, lawyer, dean of the university, etc.) in order to study the cases and then – together – suggest possible remedies.

– Participants then have an opportunity to discuss their experiences with plagiarism and to classify the types of plagiarism. Various comparative tables of the different types of plagiarism are then analyzed.

Course objectives

• To provide participants with a clear ethical framework with respect to borrowing, citations, and the creation of knowledge through the writing of articles and doctoral dissertations.

• To provide guidelines on how to handle complex cases of plagiarism that involve both conflict and a variety of participants (doctoral candidates, professors, administrators, authors, journals, etc.).


• Presentations based on the work we have been doing on the subject over the past 10 years, including through the website

• Analysis of case reports based on real-life situations that we have encountered

• Group work building on the experiences of each participant

• Reading (optional): Le plagiat académique – Comprendre pour agir, Bergadaà M., L’Harmattan, Questions contemporaines (2015)