Academic honesty

Academic honesty is a core value of the University of Sydney. The University is committed to the basic academic right that students receive due credit for work submitted for assessment. Integral to this is the notion that it is clearly unfair for students to submit work for assessment that dishonestly represents the work of others as their own. Such activity represents a form of fraud.

The most common form of academic dishonesty is plagiarism with intent to deceive the examiner. Plagiarism can be broadly defined as knowingly presenting another person's ideas, findings, or work as one's own by copying or reproducing the work without due acknowledgement of the source.

Plagiarism may take many forms. The most common form of plagiarism is where a student presents written work, including sentences, paragraphs or longer extracts from published work without attribution of its source. Work submitted for assessment may also be regarded as plagiarised where significant portions of an assignment have been reproduced from the work of another student, since this exceeds the boundaries of legitimate co-operation.

Legitimate co-operation can be defined as any constructive educational and intellectual practice that aims to facilitate optimal learning outcomes through interaction between students. Within individual assignments (those not explicitly labelled group assignments), discussion with other students is legitimate but joint writing of solutions or viewing another student's solution is not. Within group assignments, joint writing of solutions is legitimate and expected, but the work must bear all and only the names of the actual contributors. Parts of group assignments labelled as individual can be legitimately shown to and discussed in detail with other group members, but must be written by the individual alone.

Within the discipline of Information Technologies, the following activities are frequently associated with plagiarism and are therefore treated as evidence of academic dishonesty except when carried out legitimately within a declared group project: taking other students' work from a printer; making files associated with assessed work available to others, by any means (making such files available is always beyond the boundaries of legitimate co-operation); attempting to view files owned by another student without permission, even when those files have been made accessible to others; encouraging other students to carry out operations which have the effect of making files accessible; using another student's terminal while that student is temporarily absent (except that it is permitted during busy periods to log off a terminal that seems to have been abandoned).

Using any quantity of material from one or more web sites or other published sources without acknowledgement and attempting to pass it off as one's own work, whether in written assignments or in presentations, is plagiarism with intent to deceive.

Other forms of academic dishonesty include recycling (the submission for assessment of one's own work, or of work which is substantially the same, which has previously been counted towards the satisfactory completion of another unit of study, and credited towards a university degree, and where the examiner has not been informed); fabrication of data; the engagement of another person to complete an assessment or examination in place of the student, whether for payment or otherwise; communication, whether by speaking or some other means, to other candidates during an examination; bringing into an examination and concealing forbidden material such as text books, notes, calculators or computers; attempts to read other students' work during an examination; and writing an examination or test paper, or consulting with another person about the examination or test, outside the confines of the examination room without permission.

The procedures for dealing with academic dishonesty are set out in the Academic Board resolution 'Academic Board Policy: Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism'. In brief, when an examiner becomes aware of a case of academic dishonesty (including intent to deceive), he or she will refer the matter to the Head of School, who after giving the student a fair hearing may decide to dismiss the case, issue a written warning, require a resubmission, or apply a fail grade to the unit of study as a whole or to the affected part of it. The Head may also decide to refer the matter to the University Registrar where the student continues in a denial or the Head considers that failing the unit is insufficient. The Head must keep a record of the case, and communicate the decision in writing to the student in a timely manner. The university Calendar describes procedures for appeals against such decisions.

Students submitting work for assessment in the School of Information Technologies will be required to sign a declaration stating that, except where specifically acknowledged, the work contained in the assignment/project is their own work, has not been copied from other sources and has not been previously submitted for award or assessment. For work submitted in hard copy, this declaration will take the form of a cover sheet. Please click below for a PDF of the cover sheet for :

Where there is a question about their contribution, then in order arrive at the final mark for the assessment, students may be asked to identify those portions of the work contributed by them personally and required to demonstrate their knowledge of the relevant material by answering oral questions or by undertaking supplementary work, either written or in the laboratory.