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Academic integrity and misconduct

Academic integrity means honesty in your studies, acknowledging the work of others and giving credit where you have used other people's ideas as part of presenting your arguments. Plagiarism means presenting someone else's work as your own, even with their consent.

Plagiarism is wholly unacceptable and is treated by the University of Nottingham as an act of Academic Misconduct, comparable to cheating in exams or fabricating data.

If plagiarism is discovered, it not only makes the student concerned liable to serious penalties, but raises questions about personal integrity. However, sometimes what appears to be intentional plagiarism can be poor academic practice arising from a lack of understanding of standard methods of acknowledging the source of words, ideas and diagrams in your work.

You may be asked to sign your submitted work to show you have read and understood the University's Regulations on Academic Misconduct. Your School handbooks will offer some guidance on what this means in the context of your particular subject of study and you should ask your lecturer or tutor to clarify if you're not sure.

Types of cheating behaviour

Cheating is seeking to gain unfair advantage, usually violating regulations, of which plagiarism is one type. At the University of Nottingham it is academic misconduct to present someone else's work as being one's own. Note that plagiarism has to do with work, and copyright violation has to do with words. These are often confused.

Cheating behaviours include:

  • False citation
  • Plagiarism
  • Using unauthorised sources or notes in examinations or tests.
  • Dishonestly obtaining materials or information prior to examinations.
  • Copying from other students.
  • Permitting other students to copy your work. 
  • Soliciting work from others (e.g. individuals, 'editors' or essay banks etc). 
  • Unauthorised Collaboration, or collusion occurs where:
    • Collaboration became collusion
    • The work submitted has resulted from collaboration with others whose contribution has not been acknowledged. 
    • Fabrication may take various forms but is essentially concerned with manufacturing aspects of the work produced. For example, the insertion of made-up information, data, sources, quotes, anecdotes or analysis would all amount to fabrication.

Recycling - The multiple submission of your own work/ material is not, in itself, considered as academic misconduct. Submission of material that has been submitted on a previous occasion for a different summative assessment is, however, unlikely to be academically appropriate. The merit of such material will therefore be a matter of academic judgement and it may attract fewer (or no) marks than would have been the case if it had not been assessed previously.


Studying Effectively

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