Academic Integrity at Bow Valley College

According to Kakkonen and Mozgovoy (2012), cyber-plagiarism can be defined as "a type of academic dishonesty that consists of reusing whole electronic documents, or parts of them, composed by another author without proper acknowledgment of the original source" (p. 1168). 

Cyber-plagiarism has also been called "e-plagiarism," "web plagiarism," and "cut-and-paste plagiarism." Most often, it refers to cutting and pasting content from website pages and presenting it as one's own original work. 

Discussions of cyber-plagiarism typically involve addressing:

  • The influence of the Internet, which has made plagiarism much easier to commit (but also to detect)
  • The impression held by many students that information on the Internet is openly accessible and can therefore be borrowed, used, and reused without acknowledgement 
  • The need for academic institutions to implement preventative measures and enforce strict policies in order to curb cyber-plagiarism

Ghost Writing

The Dictionary of Publishing and Printing defines a ghostwriter as "somebody who writes something for or with somebody else, the other person receiving sole credit as the author" (2006, "Ghostwriter"). 

Ghost writing is thus the practice of writing a text without formal acknowledge as an author. In some industries, ghost writing is considered an acceptable practice. In other contexts, such as medical journalism and scholarship, it is considered deceptive and therefore unethical. 

Both plagiarism and ghostwriting conceals the true author's name. The difference between the two is:

  • A plagiarist copies the text without the permission of the true author.
  • A ghostwriter knowingly writes text to appear as someone else's speech or writing. 

False Authorship

Also called pseudepigraphy, false authorship refers to the "practice of writers ascribing a false name as the author of a particular work, usually to give a piece of writing greater authority or credibility" and more broadly, "any attempt to assign a false name to a piece of writing" (Page, 2004, p. 429). 

In many cases, false authorship can be considered fraudulent as it is purposely deceives and misleads both the reader and the general public.  

At Bow Valley College, both ghost writing and false authorship are considered acts of academic dishonesty. If anyone other than yourself has written or contributed to your assignment and you present it as entirely your own work, you will be subject to academic penalties for dishonestly representing the work. 

Below is a selection of websites, new articles, and resources available in the library databases for understanding the concepts of ghost writing and false authorship:


Ghostwriter. (2006). In P. Collin (Ed.), Dictionary of publishing and printing. London, United Kingdom: A&C Black. Retrieved from

Page, J. S. (2004). Cyber-pseudepigraphy: A new challenge for higher education policy and management. Journal Of Higher Education Policy & Management, 26(3), 429-433. doi:10.1080/1360080042000290267

An essay or paper mill refers to websites that compile and sell ready-made assignments, which students can then purchase directly or pay a fee to access and download.

Why Avoid Essay & Paper Mills?

  • Even if the essay or paper was paid for, submitting an assignment that was not produced by yourself is considered a serious case of academic dishonesty and will result in penalties such as a failing grade or expulsion from the course, program or institution
  • Most academic institutions provide access to plagiarism detection software that allows instructors to easily identify if an assignment has been copied or downloaded from an essay or paper mill
  • Instructors often recognize when an assignment is not produced by a student: style of writing, word choice, grammar and research source are all important clues that instructors can use to investigate if an assignment has been plagiarized

Below is a selection of websites, new articles, and resources available in the library databases on the dangers of using online essay or paper mills: