/ How to Change Code to Avoid Plagiarism?

How to Change Code to Avoid Plagiarism?

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Manish Jindal

April 5, 2024


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How to Change Code to Avoid Plagiarism?

Key Takeaways on How to Change Code to Avoid Plagiarism:

  • It is plagiarism to use someone else’s code without giving credit, even if you do it by chance.
  • When using code from open-source projects, understand and follow the license terms. Some licenses require attribution, while others may have limitations on use.
  • Even if the license allows it, acknowledge the original author in your code comments.
  • Use online code similarity checkers to find similarities and make sure your code is fairly different from other codes that are already out there.

What Is Plagiarism Code?

Code plagiarism refers to the act of using someone else’s code without giving proper credit or presenting it as one’s own.

This can occur in various contexts, such as in academic settings where students might copy code for assignments, or in professional settings where developers might use code from open-source projects without proper attribution.

Here are some forms of code plagiarism:

  • Verbatim Copying: This is the most straightforward form of plagiarism, where one copies and pastes code lines exactly as it is.
  • Mosaic Plagiarism: This involves copying parts of code from different sources and combining them to make it appear as a new piece of code.
  • Algorithm Plagiarism: This occurs when the logic or algorithm of a piece of code is copied, even if the actual lines of code are not identical.
  • Refactoring Plagiarism: This involves making superficial changes to copied code, such as changing variable names or rearranging the code structure, to make it appear different.

It’s important to note that not all code reuse is plagiarism.

Code reuse is a common practice in programming and is often encouraged to avoid “reinventing the wheel”. However, the key difference between acceptable code reuse and plagiarism is the act of giving credit.

When reusing code, one should always give proper attribution to the original author, typically in the form of comments in the code files.

Is There a Plagiarism Checker for Code?

Yes, there absolutely are plagiarism checkers for code! These tools can be valuable assets in ensuring your code is original and to avoid any unintentional copying.

Here’s a breakdown of code plagiarism checkers:

  • Function: They scan your code and compare it against vast databases of existing code to identify similar structures or logic.
  • Benefits:
    • Catch unintentional plagiarism: They can help you identify code snippets that might be unknowingly similar to existing code.
    • Peace of mind: Running a check can give you confidence that your code is largely original.
  • Limitations:
    • Not perfect: Similarity doesn’t always equal plagiarism, and these tools might flag code that’s legitimately inspired by others.
    • Focus on structure: They primarily focus on code structure and logic, not necessarily variable names or comments.

Some popular code plagiarism checkers are MOSS, Codequiry, or, Codio.

Understanding the Importance of Code Modification

When you change current code, you’re not only making it work for your needs, but you’re also showing that you understand and can master the ideas behind it.

Changing the structure of code also lets you add your own style, which makes it different from the original source. There is less chance of accidentally violating someone else’s intellectual property rights if you do this.

How to Change Code to Avoid Plagiarism?

When it comes to modifying code to avoid plagiarism, there are several strategies you can employ. Here are some best practices to help you ensure that your code is original and properly attributed:

  1. Understand the License: Before using someone else’s code, it’s important to understand the terms under which it is shared. Open-source code often comes with licenses that dictate how the code can be used. Some licenses allow for free use and modification, while others might require attribution or have other restrictions. Make sure to comply with these terms.
  2. Understand the Code: Before you can rewrite code, you need to understand what it does. This might involve running the code, reading any associated documentation, or doing some research on the concepts used in the code.
  3. Modify the Code: Simply copying and pasting code is not enough. Try to understand the logic behind the code and then write your own implementation. This might involve changing variable names, altering the structure of the code, or even coming up with a completely new approach to solve the problem.
  4. Refactor: Once you have a working version of the code, look for ways to improve it. This could involve making it more efficient, easier to read, or adding comments to explain what different parts of the code do.
  5. Cite the Source: If you use someone else’s code as a reference or starting point, always give credit. This can be done through comments in the code that acknowledge the original author or source. This not only helps avoid plagiarism but also provides a reference for anyone reading your code in the future.
  6. Check for Plagiarism
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    : Use a online plagiarism checker to ensure that your code is sufficiently different from the original. These tools can compare your code to a database of existing code and highlight any similarities.

Remember, the goal is not to create an exact copy of the original code, but to understand the problem and create your own solution. It’s okay if your code doesn’t look exactly like the original – in fact, it’s better if it doesn’t, as long as it solves the problem correctly.

What’s Next?

Avoiding plagiarism goes beyond just borrowing code. By understanding licenses, citing sources, and significantly modifying the structure and logic, you can ensure your code is original. Remember, accidental plagiarism can occur in any programming language.

Use code search tools with advanced search syntax tips to identify similar code and learn from it. Code plagiarism detectors are powerful tools that provide detailed reports to identify potential copyright infringement risks.

Developing strong coding skills and creating unique coding solutions minimises the chances of such accusations.

Bytescare champions the importance of safeguarding all digital content, including code. Don’t let fear of plagiarism hinder your creativity. Contact us today and let’s work together to secure your code with confidence.

Read More:


Does plagiarism apply to code?

Absolutely! Plagiarism applies to any form of intellectual property, and code is no exception. Copying someone else’s code without attribution is considered plagiarism.

How do I change my code to prevent plagiarism?

Here are some key steps:

Understand the License: Check if the code you’re referencing has an open-source license and follow its reuse guidelines.
Cite the Source: Even if allowed, acknowledge the original author in your code comments.
Modify the Code: Significantly alter the structure, logic, and variable names to demonstrate your understanding.
Use Code Search Tools: Identify similar code and learn from it, but don’t simply copy.

How do you rewrite a code to avoid plagiarism?

Rewriting code to avoid plagiarism involves more than superficial changes. Here’s what you can do:

Change the Logic: Modify how the code achieves its functionality.

Restructure the Code: Alter the organisation and flow of the code.

Rename Variables: Use different and descriptive variable names.

Improve the Code: Enhance its efficiency, readability, or functionality.

Is it plagiarism if you reuse your own code?

Reusing your own code is not typically considered plagiarism, but it can be in certain academic or professional settings where original work is expected each time. This is sometimes referred to as “self-plagiarism”.

Does changing variable names avoid plagiarism?

Simply changing variable names isn’t enough. To avoid plagiarism issues, you need to demonstrate a deeper understanding by modifying the code’s structure, logic, or functionality.

What is Programming Plagiarism?

Programming plagiarism refers to using someone else’s code without giving them credit. This can involve copying code directly, modifying it slightly, or even translating it to a different programming language.

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