The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity (jointly published by the European Science Foundation and ALL European Academies (ALLEA)), and to which the HKU Policy on Research Integrity makes reference in Section 2) defines plagiarism in Section 2.2.4 (‘Integrity in science and scholarship: misconduct’) as:

“the appropriation of another person’s ideas, research results or words without giving appropriate credit. The precise wording of an idea or explanation or illustrative material (such as original figures and photographs, as well as lengthy tables) in textbooks or popular material are protected by copyright laws, but nevertheless can be subject to plagiarism.”

The Code leaves open the possibility for an open mistake (in Section 2.2.4):

“It should be recognised that the demarcation line between unacceptable and still acceptable behaviour is not always clear and beyond academic debate … Where is the boundary between plagiarism and careless citation?”

The Code recognises that there is an overlap between plagiarism and abusing one’s position as an editor or reviewer to steal intellectual ideas (in Section 2.2.5, ‘Good practices’):

“Purloining ideas as an editor or reviewer is plagiarism”