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All main topics / Information Management / CLC Help Desk General Knowledge / CLC Help Desk General Knowledge
A patron asks you for help on their computer and you notice they've "written" their paper using a paper mill.  What do you do?
For those who don't know, a paper mill is a database of pre-written papers that can be purchased for the purposes of handing them in as if they were your own (i.e., plagiarizing).  Using them is entirely unacceptable at UBC.

This rarely arises, but when it does, it's pretty awkward.  Our role at the CLC is not a policing role and so it's up to you if you even say anything.  However, students involved in such an activity are at a very high risk of being caught and suspended.  Therefore, it would be in their best interest if you said something in the way of discouraging them from using a paper mill.

The best approach here is to not take an accusatory ("what you're doing is wrong") type approach, but to talk to them as a friendly fellow student.  Remind them that,
  • Although writing papers can be difficult at first, there are many resources available to help them (Writing Centre, Research Rescue).
  • Most professors run their papers through anti-plagiarism software such as  These software programs are aware of paper mills and index them as part of their plagiarism checking (in fact, they even buy articles from the mills to index the full text of the papers!).
  • The consequences of being caught are just not worth it.  To see some of the results of student misconduct, check out the 2008-2009 Student Discipline Annual Report

For more information, checkout the Academic Integrity Resource Centre on the CLC website.

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Flashcard info:
Author: peer.assistants
Main topic: Information Management
Topic: CLC Help Desk General Knowledge
Published: 22.06.2011




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