Author A has a paper where a sentence (25 or so words) that refers to the work of Authors B and C.

If author Y copies verbatim the sentence by A, and includes the reference to B and C (as it's a verbatim copy), this is plagiarism, right? There are no quotation marks.

  • Whenever possible, try to read/skim the references yourself.
    – The Guy
    Commented Apr 19, 2016 at 11:06

1 Answer 1


If there's no reference to A, yes, that is plagiarism. If Y has not read the papers by B and C, it's also reference padding.

It is possible that Y did read those papers by B and C and happened upon the same sentence structure as A, which is not plagiarism. That's actually pretty easy when citing one paper. "According to Smith (2001) blah, blah..." happens all the time. With two authors and 25 words, it is much less likely that Y independently wrote the same thing.

You don't tell us the context. I suppose it's possible there is a special case that would mitigate this, but I can't think of one.

  • It's a sentence in a paper I read, and I recognised it from A. The sentence is a bit like "several studies have investigated and developed frameworks for X, but they have limitations, and have yet to mature into something more bounded (Reference B and C)". But it's a verbatim copy and the sentence structure is quite unique (although not particularly exciting) Commented Apr 19, 2016 at 9:51

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