Concepts of Plagiarism and Reference Management in Scholarly Writing: Perspectives for the Residency Training Programme in Nigeria
Scholarly/scientific writing is an integral part of the Residency Training Program in Nigeria, culminating in the writing and defence of dissertations. Plagiarism, a form of research publication misconduct, is the inappropriate use of someone else’s writing without appropriate attribution. Limited empirical data suggests that plagiarism is not uncommon among residents and fellows. Despite widespread awareness of plagiarism amongst residents and fellows, there is deficient in depth knowledge of its nuances. Factors such as ‘publish or perish’ phenomenon, inadequate literature search and critique skills and inexperience with ethical scientific writing may also be contributing to the committal of plagiarism among residents. There is thus the need to formally train and mentor residents in ethical writing. While stressing the need for the individual resident to accept responsibility to acquire these skills, we highlight the roles of training units, institutions and colleges in fostering and institutionalising ethically sound writing
culture by organising formal trainings and mentorship in scientific writing, formulating and disseminating anti plagiarism policy and providing access to plagiarism checkers. We also briefly identify proficiency in reference management as a strategy for avoiding plagiarism. We conclude by identifying researchable gaps on the subject of plagiarism in postgraduate medical education in Nigeria.