I'm currently teaching a calculus course and I want to create a project in which we analyse different population growth models using the tools we've learned so far. With this in mind I found a great article where both the history and technical aspects of the subject are very well explained. I want to create a PDF where I can write down verbatim most of this text and even some figures (which are part of other papers), just adding exercises and remarks as we move forward.

The question then is, how can I do this without incurring into plagiarism? Two ideas come to mind:

1) Clarify at the beginning of the text that everything, except the exercises, is written down exactly as in the reference.

2) In addition to the above clarification, use a box or quotes whenever a part of the paper is cited. I think this probably is the best course of action, but it's certainly impractical.

Does anyone have a better idea?

1 Answer 1


It isn't plagiarism if you don't represent it as your own work. If it is cited, it isn't plagiarism. However, copying complete articles is fraught and comes up against copyright restrictions which can result in either legal action or lawsuit. You should talk to someone locally about what is allowed and what is not. Librarians are good at that as is the legal department, if available, at your institution. As to how to cite, either of your options seems fine. They both indicate that you are quoting, not just paraphrasing.

Just be sure you are covered or willing to take the risk of possible censure.

Contacting the article's author may give you additional guidance and possibly permission.

  • Thanks, Buffy. I hear you. I guess it would be important to clarify that my source is freely available online, so presumably all of my students could've accessed it by themselves. Do you think this solves the issues you mention?
    – user347489
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 22:32
  • 1
    If they access it themselves then you don't need to copy it. Much cleaner that way. You can just reference relevant sections of it as needed.
    – Buffy
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 22:38
  • Duh! The reasoning is so simple that it's great. Thanks for the help!
    – user347489
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 22:46

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