Universities have put in place various policies and punishments to manage plagiarism and it is an issue of significant interest. This article looks at how plagiarism is discussed in the 55 Higher Education articles between 1982 and June 2022 that make some reference to the term. Many of the articles focused on a police-catch-punish approach and imbued a strong moral charge to the issue. In contrast to such articles were those that presented citation as a complex academic practice that needs to be engaged with educationally. Our understandings of and responses to plagiarism emerge from a number of causal mechanisms but I argue that a key mechanism is the commodification of knowledge. Where knowledge is a product to be packaged, bought, and sold, then ownership and attribution become more important than engagement and personal meaning making. Instead of our obsession with a police-catch-punish approach to plagiarism, at a more micro-level, we should be inducting students into the many roles citations serve, and at a macro-level, we should be engaging in considerations of the purposes of a higher education and how we might better enable students to enjoy a transformative relationship to knowledge.