How to avoid Plagiarism

Have you ever written an article and wondered how to avoid plagiarism? Are you sure to cite sources correctly? In fact it is not always easy to know how to correctly report and refer to ideas and findings of other people. However, wrong behaviors can have consequences.

Here you can find many information on what good scientific practices and plagiarism are, on how to cite other people’s work correctly, on how to avoid plagiarism and on why it is important to respect other people’s ideas.

Have a look at the FAQs to find answers to your questions about plagiarism, find more detailed explanations in the Knowledge Base section and explore available trainings or webinars on the topic. In the last section you can find a selection of useful external resources about plagiarism.


Citations / Quotes

5.6-3 May I just select an image from Google for a PowerPoint presentation and insert it into my presentation without any further ado?

If the image is a copyright-protected work (and that is generally the case), then it may only be used with the consent of the author and the owner of rights. However, the image can be entered into the presentation as a ‘pictorial quotation’. Then it has to serve an explanatory, informational or illustrative function, be covered in the scope of the purpose of the quotebe disclosed as a quote and the source specified (Art. 25 para. 2 CopA).

2.2.1-3 Is a theory presented in a scientific work protected by copyright?

Yes and no: the theory is not protected by copyright in its semantic content. It is a scientific statement and must be freely available to science. If the theory is designed creatively and individually in linguistic terms, it is at least protected in this linguistic form. If the theory is used word-for-word by a third party, the exception of quotation must be observed pursuant to Art. 25 CopA; otherwise, the presumption of a work exists (plagiarism).

2.2.1-4 Is a teaching book or a textbook protected by copyright?

Basically yes, when the textbook or parts of it have creative and individual elements. The form of representation in particular can be protected, i.e. the structure of the textbook, the way the contents are put together, the form of linguistic communication (e.g. through images, tables, diagrams, etc.), the language itself (e.g. for laypeople without specialist vocabulary or humorous descriptions).However, the (teaching) methods or the knowledge about them which is transmitted by the book are not protected because parts of already known, tested and researched matter are summarised for the purpose of knowledge transfer.

6.5.2-1 If I fail to indicate a source I have used, can I be punished?

Any person who intentionally omits to indicate the source used where required by statute and where the author is named therein, and to provide the name of the source is liable to a fine on the complaint of the person whose rights have been infringed (Art. 68 CopA). Failure to indicate the source is punishable only following a complaint and is not considered to be a serious enough contravention to be entered on the offender’s criminal record.

In addition, failure to indicate a source at an academic level or in research is considered to be unethical (violation of good scientific practice) and may lead to disciplinary action.


Find more detailed information on various aspects regarding plagiarism:


Webinar on Plagiarism & Good Scientific Practices

This webinar was held in German by Danielle Kaufmann. Unfortunately, the recording of the webinar is not available.


Training Catalogue

Inside the training catalogue you can find a vast selection of training topics and formats, among which also a course on "Plagiarism & Good Scientific Practices in Academic Writing" (p. 12).



For any questions please do not hesitate to contact us either by e-mail (, phone  (+41 58 666 49 30) or online chat:

USI students/employees can also book a tutoring session on plagiarism by writing an e-mail to

Oline Chat Times


Video resources:


Times I Plagiarized (by The Odd1sOut)                                                                              Acceptable/Unacceptable (by University of Alberta)


Swiss Websites / Resources

International Websites

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