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Plagiarism is commonly defined as the appropriation of another's work as one's own.2 Some definitions add the purposive element of gaining an advantage of some kind.3 Others include the codicil, "with the intent to deceive."4 The historical profession has adopted a broad and stern definition of plagiarism, based upon ethical rather than purely legal conceptions. Its definition of plagiarism is the "expropriation of another author's text, and the presentation of it as one's own."5 It does not require that the act be intentional, nor that the offender gain some advantage from it.6 Nor for historians is the ultimate sanction against the offense a legal one, but instead the public infamy that accompanies egregious misconduct. As historians, we know, in the words of Lord Acton, the "undying penalty which history has the power to inflict on wrong."7

 

 


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Copyright 2006. Chambon Foundation. All rights reserved.                    Revised: June 03, 2009