Academic dishonesty and plagiarism

The University of Sydney Business School firmly believes that plagiarism by students or staff is unacceptable. As such, we have a three tiered (pronged) strategy to address plagiarism, which consists of: the "moral suasion" approach (as in honour codes); the "law-and-order approach" of detection software and penalties; and, the "educational approach" of teaching students what they should and shouldn't do (see Jaschik, 2010)

The educational approach is the Business School's primary focus and a number of initiatives exist to achieve this aim - improved self-paced educational module, compulsory testing of understanding of academic honesty concepts to inform additional education where required, expanded resources, referral to a learning advisor where appropriate and modified assessment in key units of study.

Under the Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism in Coursework policy, the Business School requires the mandatory use of TurnItIn, which is an electronic text matching software program, for all assessments. TurnItIn will not be used by the Business School as a sole or even the primary mechanism for detecting plagiarism. Detection of plagiarism and academic dishonesty is the responsibility of teaching staff as part of standard assessment mechanisms designed to foster good academic practices.

All assessments will be checked for plagiarism. Assessments will be fully checked and monitored using manual process, Google checks and text matching software checks. In order to do this, the Business School may reproduce the assessment, provide a copy to another member of the Business School, and/or communicate a copy of this assignment to a plagiarism checking service (which may then retain a copy of the assignment on its database for the purpose of future plagiarism checking). Serious penalties may be applied if a student is found to have engaged in plagiarism.

Jaschik, S. (2010) 'Plagiarism Prevention Without Fear', Inside Higher Ed, online at http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2010/01/26/plagiarize

Introduction

Academic honesty is a core value of the University of Sydney, and 'breaches of academic honesty will not be tolerated.' This information details the Business School's policy on detecting and managing academic dishonesty and plagiarism..

The Business School values education about and prevention of academic dishonesty and plagiarism, and regards recourse to these procedures as a last resort. Students are encouraged to use the many learning resources available to avoid plagiarising or academic dishonesty.

Students are required to complete the Academic Honesty Module in Blackboard early in their first semester of study with the Business School, and are encouraged to use other resources early and often throughout their candidatures. Information and assistance about practicing good academic research, writing and referencing skills is also provided at orientation sessions, in assessment cover sheets and in unit of study outlines. Students who are still uncertain about how to reference or the limits of legitimate cooperation should contact their lecturer, tutor or Business School's Learning Advisor for additional assistance.

University policy

Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism including definitions of Negligent Plagiarism, Dishonest Plagiarism and Academic Dishonesty.

The Business School handles academic honesty and plagiarism issues according to University policy. Students must not engage in any form of academic dishonesty and must ensure that assessments are fully and correctly referenced.

Plagiarism includes:

  • not using quotation marks for copied material
  • underquoting copied material, that is, quoting only some of the copied material
  • not giving references or attributions of the material used
  • not giving correct references or attributions of the material used
  • not using any recognisable reference style
  • using graphs/images from a source without appropriate references or attributions

Academic Dishonesty includes:

  • fabrication of data
  • copying from or using other student's work
  • recycling previously submitted material- taking section(s) from a previous assignment and using them in a current one, whether in the same unit, another unit or another semester
  • engaging someone else to complete an assessment or examination on one's behalf
  • misconduct during supervised assessments
  • submitting fraudulent special consideration forms
  • working too closely with other students whereby the bounds of legitimate cooperation are exceeded

Business School policy

The Business School requires students to complete the Academic Honesty online module prior to handing in the first assessment in their studies in the Business School. Students need to complete the module only once in their degree. Any student who has not completed the Academic Honesty online module by the end of their first semester of study with the Business School will receive Absent Fail grades and a mark of zero for every Business School unit of study in which they are enrolled, even if they pass all other assessment tasks. If the student subsequently completes the module, they must appeal the grade to the Sub-Dean Academic Policy and only if the appeal is successful will they receive their final grade.

In addition specific and targeted education embedded in actual assessments is offered in key units of study.

Students should also familiarise themselves with the policy and any discipline specific guidelines or requirements. It is the responsibility of all students to ensure they do not commit or collude with another person to commit academic dishonesty or plagiarism and to comply with the policy.

All students are required to submit a signed statement of compliance with all work submitted to the University for assessment, presentation or publication certifying that no part of the work constitutes a breach of University policy. For the Business School, this statement of compliance is in the form of an electronic form when submitting online or an individual or group assignment cover sheet if submitting a hard copy.

Academic Honesty is monitored in a variety of methods in every unit of study in the Business School, including the text-matching software Turnitin. Students are required to submit all assessments electronically (except where the Unit of Study Outline specifies otherwise), upon which it will be checked through Turnitin. More information about submitting assignments electronically and Turnitin is available in Blackboard and in the Assignment Coversheet.

Electronic submissions must be certified by the student that the digital file being submitted for assessment has been quality tested for corruption and as such acknowledge that students may incur late penalties if the file is not able to be opened or viewed. Digital files must be tested via Blackboard and the server version must be tested once uploaded.

Steps to follow in cases of suspected academic dishonesty

  1. When an Examiner suspects or is made aware of alleged plagiarism or academic misconduct by a student, the Examiner must report this to the Dean's nominee, the Sub-Dean Academic Policy. The Sub-Dean Academic Policy will handle all cases of alleged plagiarism or academic dishonesty within the Business School.

  2. The Sub-Dean Academic Policy and the Examiner will make a preliminary assessment on the nature of the alleged plagiarism or dishonesty taking into account factors such as:
    • the extent of the alleged plagiarism measured against the student's original contribution of the work;
    • the percentage value of the work in the unit of study or course;
    • the student's overall academic performances in the unit of study or course; and
    • the circumstances in which the plagiarism is alleged to have occurred.
    • the nature and extent of the alleged dishonesty.

  3. Where the Director of Academic Appeal assesses that the alleged conduct is likely to have been negligent:
    • on the basis of carelessness or inexperience, and
    • affects a relatively insignificant portion or element of the work, and
    • where the student has not previously had any work referred under these procedures,

    the Director may refer the work back to the student for correction and resubmission. The student will be required to resubmit the work, correctly referenced but otherwise unchanged, to the Director's office. If the alleged plagiarism is corrected, the work will be returned to the original Examiner for marking. If there are unresolved issues, the following step will apply.

  4. Where the Sub-Dean Academic Policy assesses that the alleged conduct is potentially Negligent Plagiarism, Dishonest Plagiarism, some other form of academic dishonesty, affects a significant proportion or element of the work, the student has previously had work referred or more information is required in order to make an assessment, the Sub-Dean Academic Policy and Examiner will meet with the student to discuss the issue.

    The student will be sent an email notifying them of the exact nature of the problem,the details of the meeting, as well as being provided with marked up copies of their assignment and any other relevant supporting documents. The student will normally receive notification 5 days before the meeting.

  5. If the Sub-Dean Academic Policy forms the view that the student has engaged in Negligent Plagiarism they will:
    • Inform the student of this conclusion and provide counselling, including explaining referencing guidelines and referring the student to services for assistance (where relevant); and
    • The Sub-Dean Academic Policy may also take other appropriate action including requiring the student to resubmit the work for assessment, undertake another form of assessment, undertake other remedial action or apply a fail grade or mark penalty to all or part of the work.

  6. If the Sub-Dean Academic Policy forms the view that the student has engaged in Dishonest Plagiarism or other Academic Dishonesty, and the conduct is not serious to constitute potential student misconduct, they will:
    • Inform the student of the conclusion reached;
    • Counsel the student by explaining referencing guidelines, and referring the student to services for assistance (where relevant); and
    • Issue a written warning about the consequences of any subsequent breaches of the policy and procedures. A copy of the written warning must be signed and dated by the Dean's nominee and the student. One copy is retained by the student and a second copy is placed on a central file maintained by the Registrar.
    • The Sub-Dean Academic Policy may also take other appropriate action including requiring the student to resubmit the work for assessment, undertake another form of assessment, undertake other remedial action, apply a fail grade or mark penalty to all or part of the work, or apply a fail grade or mark penalty to the unit of study.

  7. Where the Sub-Dean Academic Policy assesses that the Dishonest Plagiarism or other academic dishonesty is serious enough, if proven, to constitute potential student misconduct under Chapter 8 of the University of Sydney By-Laws 1999 (as amended):
    • Considering the extent of the conduct when measured against the student's original contribution to the work, the capacity of the conduct to adversely affect the student's peers of teachers, the capacity of the conduct to adversely impact on the academic standards of the University;
    • whether the student has previously received a written warning and, if so, the content of that warning.
    The Sub-Dean Academic Policy will refer the alleged dishonesty to the Registrar for investigation.

The student will be advised of the right to appeal against the decision of the Sub-Dean Academic Policy. Appeals relating to decisions on matters of academic honesty follow the same procedure as appeals against academic decisions.



See also: Appeals Process.

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