Academic honesty ensures acknowledgement of other people’s hard work and thought. The International Center for Academic Integrity defines it as “a commitment, even in the face of adversity, to six fundamental values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, and courage. From these values flow principles of behavior that enable academic communities to translate ideals to action.”
Different cultures and traditions often have distinct definitions of what behaviors constitute academic honesty. For example, in some cultures, it is considered a sign of respect to use the exact wording of a well-known thinker, and attribution is considered unnecessary. However, that is not an accepted practice for scholars in the United States.
To learn more about cultural differences with regards to academic honesty, check out this book: Howard, Rebecca Moore. Standing in the Shadow of Giants : Plagiarists, Authors, Collaborators. Stamford, Conn.: Ablex Pub., c1999.