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Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Ethics, readings, help, and tools for AI in an academic and research setting. Includes a comparative table (AI matrix) of various AI tools/platforms.

Plagiarism, Copyright, Fair Use, Ethics

Plagiarism is when you take someone else's ideas and portray them as your own, even unintentionally. If you are using AI to summarize an idea or write your work, it's not 100% your work. It's your prompts (which is your intellectual choice) and the use of an algorithm that represents infinite perspectives/resources/etc. If you ask ChatGPT if using it is considered plagiarism, the response is basically 'no' because it isn't a person and utilizes many sources and data to generate an answer to a given prompt.

So what does this mean?

  1. You should cite the Generative AI platform you are utilizing for your work, just like you would a reference or note which statistical analysis tool you are using in your methodology. Be transparent.
  2. Check your syllabus, rubric. publisher, citation style guideline, etc. because there are different perspectives on if using Generative AI in your work is considered plagiarism or not. The context matters, so check the authority in which you are working within.

From Inside Higher Ed, When AI Is Writing, Who Is the Author? "OpenAI clearly articulates that all content generated through the use of ChatGPT and intended for publication as writing (they give as quaint examples “a book, compendium of short stories”) is to be understood and identified as “co-authored” by the user and the AI."


Did I Plagiarize? The Types and Severity of Plagiarism Violations (image link)

 Did I Plagiarize? The Types and Severity of Plagiarism Violations infographic


Generative AI tools are trained on collections of material gathered from many places. Some AI image and text generation tools have been trained on material scraped from web pages without the consent or knowledge of the web page owners. 

Using AI tools to alter copyrighted material may infringe on the copyright owners exclusive rights under copyright by creating a derivative. Permissions may need to be obtained before using AI tools to alter images or large portions of text.

Currently, copyright protection is not granted to works created by Artificial Intelligence. The U.S. Copyright Office has issued guidance that explains the requirement for human authorship to be granted copyright protection and provides information to creators working in tandem with AI tools on how to effectively and correctly registered their works.

Uploading Libraries' Resources (articles, book chapters, etc.)

Users should not upload Libraries' materials into any Open Generative AI Tool. When the Libraries' subscribe to a database, we must adhere to that resource's licensing agreements. Those licenses protect the intellectual property of that resource.

Most database vendors prevent sharing their resources with those who do not have authorized access.

Because users have very little control over how their input will or could be used by an Open Source AI platform, this also applies to inputting database content into most AI platforms.

As of July 2023 there are several law suits brought against AI image and text generation tools that have used visual and text content created or owned by others as training material.  Here is a New York Times article from April 2024 describing 8 newspapers that are suing OpenAI and Microsoft for copyright infringement. These law suits claim that the use of artists’ or writers' content, without permissions, to train generative AI is an infringement of copyright. While these cases are ongoing, we have no definitive answer. However, several experts have pointed to previous fair use cases to justify a fair use argument for the use of various training data for AI image generation tools.

Ethical Use of AI, summarized

  • If it's your work, make it your work. Only include material in your writing that you wrote or can cite.
  • There is no guarantee that the answer a generative AI platforms delivers is correct, accurate, or unbiased. You still have to make a judgment and use your critical thinking skills to assess those answers.
  • Do not upload materials or documents that are not yours into any AI platform.
  • Do not provide any sensitive information to an AI platform.
  • Don't let AI take away from learning or experiencing something that will help you grow. Use AI platforms wisely and on tasks that are busy work.
Subjects: Interdisciplinary