What is plagiarism? Saskatchewan College of Physicians provides “teachable moment” for students, teachers

Sean Murphy*

High school and post-secondary teachers plagued by the problem of plagiarism can thank the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan for providing them with a “teachable moment.”

Saskatchewan’s College of Physicians has published a draft policy intended to force objecting physicians to do what they believe to be wrong, including participation in euthanasia, assisted suicide, and abortion.  The policy is virtually a word-for-word copy of the Model Conscientious Objection Policy proposed by euthanasia and abortion activists – without attribution.

Bryan Salte, speaking for the College, denied that the College document was taken from the Model Conscientious Objection Policy, though he did admit that it was a “significant source.”

Now Saskatchewan students have a comeback for teachers who award a “0” for plagiarism because they have copied most of a paper from a “significant source” on the internet.  They can quote Mr. Salte.

On the other hand, Saskatchewan teachers might take this as a “teachable moment”  to explain that it is unethical to pass off someone else’s work as one’s own – even if one likes it and agrees with it entirely and the real authors are pleased with the results.

It might even be a good topic for a class on ethics in medical research.

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