The relevance of context in plagiarism detection


copyright infringement
extrinsic plagiarism detection
professional legal genres
infracción de derechos de autor
detección de plagio externo
géneros profesionales jurídicos

How to Cite

Guillén Nieto, V. (2020). The relevance of context in plagiarism detection: The case of a professional legal genre . Ibérica, (40), 101–122. Retrieved from


This paper focuses on plagiarism detection in a professional legal genre: the lawsuit (Alcaraz Varó & Hughes, 2002; Cabré, 2003: 163-199; Ruiz-Garrido, Palmer-Silveira & Fortanet-Gómez, 2010; Nagy, 2014: 261-273). Its main aim is to analyse the major approaches to extrinsic plagiarism detection, namely computer-based approaches and language-based approaches, either form-onlybased or integrated. Our discussion attempts to answer five questions: (a) What type of language evidence can be obtained through an extrinsic plagiarism detection tool? (b) What type of language evidence can a text-only based approach to plagiarism provide? (c) What type of language evidence can an integrated approach to plagiarism provide? (d) What are the strengths and weaknesses of each of these approaches? And (d) how relevant can the language evidence provided by each approach be for the legal decision? The analysis is grounded in an exemplary case study on plagiarism between lawyers that was tried in a high court of justice in Spain (Judgment 107/2017, 2nd March 2017). Findings from this paper confirm that plagiarism detection is a complex, multilayered task going beyond and above the discovery of copied text of an earlier original work into another, and show the relevance of context in discerning between real cases of plagiarism and those that are not

Copyright (c) 2020 Victoria Guillén Nieto

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