Quality Manual

Policy on academic misconduct

This page contains the University's policy on academic misconduct. Its content is applicable to staff and students across all of the UK, China and Malaysia campuses.

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Includes: values of academic enterprise; purpose of formative assessment; application; fitness to practise procedures; provision of examples; responsibilities; penalties; mitigating circumstances

1.1   The academic enterprise at the University of Nottingham, whether scholarship, research or innovation, is based on the values of academic integrity, honesty and trust.  

1.2   Any inappropriate activity or behaviour by a student which may give that student, or another student, an unpermitted academic advantage in a summative assessment is considered to be an act of academic misconduct and unacceptable in a scholarly community. This includes activity or behaviour during preparation for a summative assessment even if there is no direct evidence of misconduct in the assessment itself e.g., approaching a third party for help during an examination even if there is no evidence of the material provided being used in the summative assessment. Such action(s) will be considered under these Regulations and this may lead to a penalty being imposed.

Formative assessment is primarily designed to give feedback on progress and inform development, but does not contribute to a module mark. If the affected work does not count towards an award, a transcript mark or a progression decision, the problematic work should normally be addressed by specific and extensive feedback on the issue that is the subject of concern. This is to ensure change of behaviour and act as a preventative measure for future incidents.

1.3   These Regulations are to be applied to all current students of the University, whether currently registered or not. Former students will be subject to the academic misconduct regulations that were in place whilst they were a registered student. 

1.4   The University’s Fitness to Practise procedures may also be applied to students on programmes of study which lead to professional registration and whose actions are considered under these Regulations.  Findings of proven intent to commit academic misconduct (see below) will also be referred for consideration under the relevant Fitness to Practise concerns process. For more information, please consult the following:

Fitness to practise procedures 

1.5   Schools/Departments will provide advice and examples to students as to what constitutes academic misconduct and make them aware of these Regulations and the possible outcomes of action constituting academic misconduct. Students have a responsibility to attend such sessions and study such advice. 

1.6   Students should take responsibility for the integrity of their own work, including asking for clarification.  

1.7   Confirmed instances of academic misconduct and any penalty awarded may be referred to in student references (relating to a student’s academic achievement at University) or notified to an accrediting body.  

1.8   The standard of proof is that of “the balance of probabilities”. Evidence indicating that, on the balance of probabilities, academic misconduct has occurred will be deemed sufficient evidence for action under these Regulations.

1.9   Students are responsible for ensuring that they inform the University of any mitigating circumstances that they consider are affecting their ability to undertake an assessment, to ensure appropriate support can be provided. Although mitigating circumstances do not justify the occurrence of academic misconduct, such circumstances may be taken into account when determining a penalty.


Students cannot use other procedures e.g., Extenuating Circumstances or Academic Appeals, to request an outcome that would change a penalty for academic misconduct imposed by a School or Department or an Academic Misconduct Committee.


 1.10   It is not necessary to prove intention to commit academic misconduct in order to make a finding of academic misconduct. However, proven intent to commit academic misconduct is likely to be considered an aggravating factor when determining a penalty.  Examples of proven intent include, but are not limited to;

  • False authorship or impersonation
  • Falsifying data
  • An attempt to gain an unpermitted advantage in an assessment by presenting false content or evidence as part of an extenuating circumstances claim
  • Access to Moodle or other websites during an examination (where the use of such websites is unauthorised)
  • Taking unauthorised, pre-prepared materials into an examination where there is evidence of intent to use them and where the materials are potentially relevant to the examination.  This could include having concealed notes, being found with materials during a toilet break, having material on a desk.

Academic misconduct

Includes: plagiarism; false authorship; collusion; misconduct in examinations; fabrication or misrepresentation; recycling

2.1   The following is a non-exhaustive list of examples of academic misconduct which will be considered under these Regulations: 

2.1.1   Plagiarism

representing another person’s work or ideas as one’s own. For example, by failing to correctly acknowledge others’ ideas and work as sources of information in an assignment, and neglecting use of quotation marks. This also applies to the use of graphical material, calculations etc. in that plagiarism is not limited to text-based sources.

Where permitted, a proof-reader may identify spelling and basic grammar errors. Inaccuracies in academic content must not be corrected nor should the structure of the piece of work be changed; doing so may result in a charge of plagiarism. A proof-reader may be used to ensure that the work meets a quality threshold in accordance with the University’s Policy on Proofreading unless a School/Department policy specifically prohibits this. Students should make every effort to familiarise themselves with their School/Department’s policy regarding proof-reading. Paraphrasing or re-ordering the words of plagiarised text to avoid Turnitin matches is plagiarism if the ideas are represented as the student’s own. Schools/Departments should ensure this information is accessible to students. 

For more information about the Proofreading policy, please consult the following:

Proofreading policy

2.1.2   False Authorship

where a student is not the author of the work they have submitted. False Authorship is a form of plagiarism but is distinguished by the fact that the student has deliberately engaged with a third party and/or software tool to complete an assessment, either in part or whole. This engagement can be direct or through a platform such as Course Hero. This may include work produced by; another student, an essay mill, a family member or friend, a tutoring service such as Chegg or the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) software (e.g., Generative Pre-trained Transformer (ChatAI,GPT-3/Chatbot), Megatron-turning Natural Language Generation (MT-NLG), ChatBot and Wordtune). Use of answers advertised or provided by tutoring services or essay mills is False Authorship. As it is the authorship of work that is contested, there is no requirement to prove that the work has been purchased.  The submission of work which is either generated and/or improved by language model software for the purposes of gaining marks will be regarded as False Authorship and seen as an attempt to gain an intentional unfair academic advantage.  

2.1.3   Collusion

cooperation in order to gain an unpermitted advantage. This may occur where students have consciously collaborated on a piece of work, in part or whole, and passed it off as their own individual efforts or where one student has authorised another to use their work, in part or whole, and to submit it as their own.  A colluding student does not have to gain an unpermitted advantage in their own summative assessment for academic misconduct to have occurred. 

legitimate input from University tutors or approved readers or scribes is not considered to be collusion. 

2.1.4   Misconduct in examinations

Including, for example, when an examination candidate: 

  • Copies from the examination script of another candidate.  
  • Obtains or offers any other improper assistance from or to another candidate (or any other person unless an approved reader or scribe). This includes engagement with online tutoring services/essay mills even if the student does not go on to submit the work provided as part of the summative assessment. 
  • Has with them any unauthorised book (including mathematical tables), manuscript or loose papers of any kind, unauthorised electronic devices (e.g. mobile telephones, smart watches) or any source of unauthorised information. 
  • Allows themself to be impersonated or when any person impersonates another examination candidate. This definition is not limited to formal examinations and includes presentations, group work and other forms of summative assessment.
It is the student’s responsibility to ensure unauthorised items are not taken into an examination.  It is not the responsibility of the invigilator to search for and remove the unauthorised items.
Where a student is found to have taken unauthorised materials or an electronic device to their desk, the student is guilty of academic misconduct, irrespective of that student’s intent or the nature of the materials. 

2.1.5   Fabrication or misrepresentation

The presentation of fabricated data, results, references, evidence or other material or misrepresentation of the same. Including, for example: 

  • Claiming to have carried out experiments, observations, interviews or other forms of research which a student has not, in fact, carried out; 
  • Falsely claiming to have obtained results or other evidence;
  • In the case of professional qualifications, falsely claiming to have completed hours in practice or to have achieved required competencies when this is not the case; 
  • Submitting a false Extenuating Circumstances claim where the facts of the claim and/or evidence has been fabricated/falsified. This activity will be addressed as academic misconduct even if the claim is not approved.

2.1.6   Failure to disclose previous experience or qualifications that are a bar to enrolment on a module (for example, enrolment on inter-faculty language modules). 

2.1.7   Failure to obtain ethical approval: where work is undertaken without obtaining ethical approval when there is a clear and unambiguous requirement to do so.  

2.2   Recycling (self-plagiarism) 

The multiple submission by a student of their own material (either in whole or in part) is not considered academic misconduct. This includes work that the student may have submitted for a previous academic year, for another course or at a different institution. 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. 


Related links and documentation

Includes: Code of ethical research conduct and research ethics; Policy on communications with third parties; Unacceptable behaviour policy; further guidance about procedures and exam conditions

For more information about related codes and policies, please consult the following:

Further guidance about procedures and exam conditions

For more information about the academic misconduct procedure and exam conditions, please consult the following:

Student Services - Academic misconduct procedure

Student Services - About your exam

If you have any problems or queries relating to this page, please email: academic-misconduct@nottingham.ac.uk  Email
This content was last modified on 22 December 2022

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