Citing the work that supports your research is both an ethical issue and a legal issue.
The ethics of citing is based on the scholarly tradition of giving credit for information and ideas that are not one's own. Science has a long tradition of acknowledging priority through citations. You have the ethical responsibility to cite all works that were used to support your research, to give credit to the earlier work and to provide a clear path for those who follow in your footsteps.
As so eloquently expressed by Isaac Newton in a letter to Robert Hooke in 1675 (Merton 1965),
"If I have seen further it is by standing on ye sholders of Giants."
The legal issues of citing one's sources are codified in Copyrights, Title 17 of the U.S. Code, which describes the legal protections of authors' and creators' intellectual property rights.
[Merton, RK. 1965. On the shoulders of giants: a Shandean postscript. New York: The Free Press. p. 31]
Plagiarism is defined as:
"The action or practice of taking someone else's work, idea, etc., and passing it off as one's own; literary theft"
(OED Online 2006). [OED Online [Internet]. plagiarism, n. Oxford University Press. 2006. [cited 2007 Jul 30]. Available from: [http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/144939]
Indiana University Bloomington has an excellent plagiarism tutorial at
with a certification test students can take as part of a study led by Theodore Frick.
The UH Manoa Student Conduct Code includes plagiarism under prohibited activities.
The UH Manoa Catalog states:
Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to