Academic integrity and plagiarism procedure

Intent

To identify minimum procedural standards for academic integrity and procedures for the management of plagiarism

Objectives

All assessments conducted by, or on behalf of RMIT University

Scope

Exclusions

The research component of higher degree by research programs

Procedure steps and actions

1. Academic integrity

Academic integrity means honesty and responsibility in scholarship through respecting the work of others while having the freedom to build new insights, new knowledge and ideas.

RMIT University upholds the values of academic integrity as fundamental to the scholarship undertaken by all members of its community.

Academic work in a university depends on the practice of academic integrity as a core value. It is an important part of academic life for both students and staff, and essential to academic thought and practice. All work produced must acknowledge the sources of ideas presented and cite the original written work which informed it.

1.1 Student responsibilities

In addition to meeting assessment timelines and attendance requirements (where applicable), academic integrity is about honest presentation of academic work. This requires being accountable for the authorship and originality of work submitted and appropriately acknowledging the work of others contained therein.

Students must be accountable for the originality and validity of assessment submissions, and not assist others in any form of plagiarism or cheating. Students must:

  • adhere to assessment rules and/or guidelines
  • acknowledge quotations explicitly and document sources appropriately
  • not copy or include other people’s work without full acknowledgement
  • do the work themselves (unless it is a group assessment)
  • participate in group assessment activity as required, including adhering to group processes and outcomes, participate in deciding what each group member’s contribution will be, and seeking resolution if the group is not functioning effectively by providing honest feedback to help resolve problems in the effective operation of the group
  • not falsify data, select data that fit a predetermined conclusion, or weight some data relative to other data without providing a rationale to justify this action
  • follow the instructions of staff regarding the collection of assessment items after marking
  • retain a copy of each assessment submission, together with related developmental material in a safe place for the duration of the course so that others cannot access and submit them as their own, and so that these can be produced if required to demonstrate authorship and originality of the work

Presenting work that fails to acknowledge the contribution of others can compromise academic integrity. This includes:

  • plagiarism
  • cheating in an exam
  • copying or submitting whole or parts of computer files without appropriate acknowledgement (e.g., webpages, software, programs)

Students must reference the following types of information:

  • thoughts, ideas, definitions or theories
  • research and other studies
  • statistics
  • information from the Internet, including images and media
  • designs or works of art
  • facts that are not common knowledge

The University website provides referencing style resources to assist students in these important areas.

Any work or sections thereof not referenced are assumed to be:

  • an original idea
  • common knowledge
  • common knowledge in your field of work or study

To maintain academic integrity students must:

  • understand how to reference sources
  • not leave assignments around for others to access
  • log off and remove USBs or related devices from computers in the library or labs to protect the integrity of electronic work on shared drives and in the ‘cloud’
  • when photocopying or making notes from texts, record all bibliographic information
  • ensure the work clearly distinguishes between original ideas and those of others Advice on accepted referencing can be gained from program staff and the Study and Learning Centre

Using the correct citation and knowing how to reference work properly is one of the most important principles of academic integrity. The supporting guidelines section of this procedure provides links to a range of resources available to assist students to understand the concepts of academic integrity and referencing.

1.2 Staff responsibilities

Academic integrity is an intrinsic feature of academic life, and fundamental to the whole construct of academic thought and established scholarly practice.

Staff should assist students with understanding the importance of academic integrity as part of their chosen area of study by:

  • providing them with communication and resources at the commencement of their University experience
  • providing timely notification of submission dates and attendance requirements
  • ensuring that a suitable location, equipment, materials and environment are available for assessment tasks
  • designing assessment tasks that will minimise opportunities for plagiarism and/or cheating, and providing students with clear guidelines of what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it
  • providing valid and representative assessment tasks that allow due credit to be given for each student’s achievement
  • providing, and informing students of, secure arrangements for the collection of assessment items after marking
  • providing guidance to students on what constitutes positive group work in assessment. Specifically this requires that staff:
    • clearly explain the tasks and responsibilities of group work
    • facilitate the preparation of the group student contract
    • provide clear written instructions for group projects that detail what needs to be done by the group and what is individual work, and
    • provide guidance for groups that are not functioning effectively, and resolution procedures that groups may adopt as required

2. Identifying and managing incidences of plagiarism

2.1 Plagiarism is the presentation of the work, idea or creation of another person as though it is one’s own. It is a form of cheating and is a very serious academic offence that may lead to expulsion from the University. Plagiarised material can be drawn from, and presented in, written, graphic and visual form, including electronic data, and oral presentations. Plagiarism occurs when the origin of the material used is not appropriately cited.

2.2 When submitting work for assessment students are required to certify that they are the original author of that work. The University utilises a range of authenticity and originality of work detection strategies and software to monitor academic integrity.

Examples of plagiarism include, but are not restricted to:

  • copying sentences or paragraphs, tables, diagrams or formulae word for word from one or more sources, whether published or unpublished, which could include, but are not limited to, books, journals, reports, theses, websites, conference papers, course notes, etc., without proper citation
  • closely paraphrasing sentences, paragraphs, ideas or themes without proper citation
  • piecing together text from one or more sources and adding only linking sentences
  • copying or submitting whole or parts of computer files without acknowledging their source
  • copying designs or works of art and submitting them as one’s original work
  • copying a whole or any part of another student’s work
  • submitting work as the student’s own that someone else has done for the student

Detection and management of incidences of plagiarism must be managed in accordance with the instructions for identification and management of plagiarism in coursework programs or, the instructions for the management of plagiarism in research programs, as appropriate.

[Next: Supporting documents and information]