Is ChatGPT plagiarism free? It’s designed not to plagiarise, but it may draw from other writers’ work in a way that may be plagiarism or that may be perceived as plagiarism.
You can use ChatGPT and still create original writing by fact-checking, citing, and editing carefully while relying on it as an assistant, not a substitute writer.
No, ChatGPT doesn’t plagiarise in the sense that it doesn’t copy information and pass it along to you. But—and it’s a but you can’t overlook—because it learns from existing sources to write the information it gives you, it may borrow other writers’ ideas without giving them credit, which is a form of plagiarism. It may also generate content that closely resembles existing content, which can be mistaken for plagiarism.
Is ChatGPT content plagiarism-free?
Plagiarism is more than just copying another text word for word. Since there’s more than one type of plagiarism, ChatGPT may contain text that could be seen as plagiarised.
For example, if it draws on ideas from another writer but doesn’t give accurate source information, that is plagiarism. It could also appear to contain paraphrasing plagiarism, in which it seems to rephrase another writer’s text in different words without citing it.
Although ChatGPT is designed to create unique content, it sometimes falls short or is misunderstood.
Is using ChatGPT content plagiarising?
Debate is ongoing about whether it’s possible to plagiarise content written by an entity that’s not human, such as as AI tool. We typically think of plagiarism as using information from another person without properly crediting them.
But at the heart of this concept is the need for originality—when work is original, it’s important not only that it doesn’t come from someone else but that it does come from you.
In other words, your work might be plagiarised if you didn’t generate it, even if you didn’t steal it from another person.
This is why some organisations recommend citing ChatGPT as a source when you use it. One example is the APA, which says to quote and cite the language model like you would any other source. It offers a citation format for ChatGPT texts.
Using ChatGPT with a citation is one way to prevent plagiarism; is forbidding its use an equally valid way? Prohibition might be the most certain way to prevent it, but in our technology-driven world, it may be unrealistic and even seem like micromanagement to expect students not to use helpful and accessible tools.
For instance, when my kids were very small and we moved to a home with a staircase, I didn’t put up gates. Instead, I taught them how to navigate the stairs safely. It took a little time and some extra supervision, but it let them expand their skills and gave them more freedom.
In the same way, students can learn how to use ChatGPT wisely, benefit from it, and still create original work.