Tips to reduce similarity index and avoid plagiarism in academic writing
I believe that all of us should evaluate our new articles or manuscripts using reliable plagiarism checking software before sending them to the publishing company. I penned down a few ways to reduce the similarity index flagged by a plagiarism checking software and sharing the article with you here. I hope this helps!
Please let me know how did you find this article to encourage me to write more of such articles. Thank you!
Reducing Similarity Index to Avoid Plagiarism
Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of someone’s work, idea, or text and is a matter of concern for everyone involved in academic, creative, and other professional fields. The use of published text and data without citation is of maximum concern in academic writing. Most universities and publishing houses check the manuscripts submitted to them—for granting degrees or publications —using a reliable plagiarism checker software. All the manuscripts with a similarity index of more than a certain percentage are not considered. An author might not intend to plagiarize; however, due to the abundance of published text, some sentences or paragraphs may inadvertently match with a text already available in the public domain. The steps below might be followed to reduce the similarity index and avoid plagiarism.
- Identify the source. Plagiarism checker software provides a report where the matching portions of the text are flagged, and the corresponding source is also mentioned. These flagged portions need to be modified.
- Quote and cite the flagged text. Sentences copied from a source need to be put within double quotation marks along with in-text citation of the source. The style of writing in-text citation and corresponding reference depends on the university's guidelines or the targeted journal.
For Example – Rao et al. (2005) established that, “Among several methods available for the reduction of indole to indoline the use of borane dimethylsulfide complex in trifluoroacetic acid was found suitable for the stereospecific reduction of the indole double bond in substituted-1,2,3,4,6,7,12,12a-octahydropyrazino- [1',2':1,6]pyrido[3,4-b]indoles to the corresponding dihydro derivatives”.
Corresponding Reference – Rao, J., Chakrabarty, R., Roy, R., Mishra, A., Saksena, A.K. (2005). A convenient stereospecific synthesis of substituted 1,2,3,4,6,6a,7,11b,12, 12a-decahydropyrazino[1',2':1,6]pyrido[3,4-b]indoles. Arkivoc, (ii), 20-28.
- Paraphrase the flagged text. Paraphrasing creatively along with citing the source helps in reducing the similarity index. An effective paraphrasing can be done by following the steps given below.
1. Read the text—carefully and loudly—more than once till you get the whole essence of it.
2. Keep the source away and write the text in your words. This can be done using synonyms, changing the voice of the sentences (active to passive and vice versa), breaking long sentences into two or more sentences, as required, and varying the sequence of ideas in the source text. Plagiarism software is designed to match a string of words, usually three- or five-word strings, so it is important to check that three similar words are not placed in a row, except for a proper noun.
3. Match with the source text and check that all the important ideas conveyed in the source text have been conveyed in the new text.
4. Cite the source text after paraphrasing is done.
Awareness of plagiarism, avoiding plagiarism, and the habit of citing the sources correctly are the keys to maintain academic integrity and ethical behaviour.