Let’s Talk Originality

By JD Ephraim

ORIGINALITY is an important concept in research in academia. Research pertains to careful study or investigation in order to discover new facts or information.
According to Blacks Law Dictionary,Eighth Edition, ORIGINALITY is the quality or state of being a product of independent creation and a minimum degree of creativity.
According to Philips E.M. and Push D.S. In ” How to get a PhD: a handbook for Students and their Supervisors” , Originality also means carrying out an empirical work that has not been done before; making a synthesis that has not been done before ; using already known material but with a new interpretation ; trying out something in a country which has previously only been tried in other countries ; taking a particular technique and applying it in a new area ; bringing new evidence to bear on an old issue ; being cross-disciplinary and using different methodologies; looking at areas that people in that discipline have not looked at before ; or adding to knowledge in a way that has not been done before.

Originality is the aspect of created or invented work as being new or novel, and can be distinguished from reproduction, clones, forgeries ,or derivative works.
An original work is one neither received from others, nor one copied from, or based upon the work of others.
Therefore, originality simply means a person’s ability to create, produce, contribute, or develop a new idea, product, or output that has not been produced before.
Facts and ideas relate to originality. For example :
I) New idea+ new facts = Originality.
2) New facts + old ideas = Originality.
3) Old facts + New ideas = Originality.
4) Old facts + Old ideas = plagiarism !
It is originality that gives sanctity to copyright and patent law.
Copyright Law protects the rights of the Researcher to his work.It also sanctions the violation of such rights. See s1(2) (a) of the Copyright Act, CAP c 28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
For a right to be protected, ” ” sufficient effort” must have been expended on the work to give it original character.
” Original character” signifies that the idea leading to the production of such work must be initiated, delivered, and produced by a particular person. See HOLLINRAKE V.TRUSTWELL(1894)3 Ch.420, where the House of Lords held, inter alia, that copyright is confined to the expression of ideas, and if such expression is not copied, then copyright is not infringed, but where, some one’s idea, is copied, applied,and used by another person without due acknowledgement of the original source, then copyright is infringed. This was rightly acknowledged by Lord Atkin in
MACMILLAN&CO LTD V. COOPER (1923), 40 L8TR, 186 at 188.
From the above we can deduce that originality accords :
___ self esteem, self confidence and self fulfilment.
____ accords room for dynamic utilization of the brain to meet the dynamism of challenges of the world.
____ it enhances sincerity and honesty.
____ it encourages respect and enhances reputation.
____ it closes the door of embarrassment, dismissal, and court litigation.
____ it uplifts and earns for the Researcher unexpected awards and praises.
____ it can also bring riches as dividends of research.

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