Academic Integrity

The University is a community bound by, among other things, a culture of academic integrity. Students are continually supported and guided in what constitutes academic integrity and why this enriches their experience and bestows benefits intrinsically linked to knowledge acquisition, skills development and qualification.

Academic misconduct is, in essence, a breach of this norm, and the application of the academic misconduct procedure set out in Academic Regulations 6 & 7 primarily protects this culture.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity means demonstrating honest, moral behaviours when producing academic work. This involves acknowledging the work of others, giving appropriate credit to others where their ideas are presented as part of your work and the importance of producing work in your own voice. As part of a learning community students share ideas and develop new ones- you need to be able to interpret and present other people's ideas and combine these with your own when producing work. To achieve this, you will be supported to develop skills of reflection and self-awareness about topics such as fairness, responsibility and respect in academic practice.

Academic integrity includes a variety of elements including:

  • honesty - being truthful about which ideas are our own and which are derived from others and about the methodologies and results of our work.
  • trust - the ability to rely on the truth of someone or something is a fundamental pillar of academic pursuit and a necessary foundation of academic work.
  • fairness - not trying to gain an advantage by unfair means for instance by passing off the work of others as your own.
  • responsibility - taking an active role in our own learning.
  • respect - for the work of fellow students, teachers and other writers and scholars.
  • courage - being courageous means acting in accordance with one's convictions. Students who exhibit courage hold themselves and their fellow learners to the highest standards of academic integrity even when doing so involves risk of negative consequences, such as a bad grade, or reprisal from their peers or others.

Poor Academic Practice

The University recognises that there is a difference between academic misconduct and poor academic practice. Poor academic practice involves minor breaches of discipline-specific citation and/or referencing conventions that give no discernible academic advantage. Where poor academic practice is identified, your work will be marked according to the relevant grade criteria, and you will be directed to the resources available to help you improve your working methods and academic writing to avoid potential academic misconduct.

Academic Misconduct – definition and types of misconduct

Plagiarism (including copying)

The act of presenting the work of another person (or people) as your own without proper acknowledgement. This includes copying the work of another student or other students.

The University expects students to take responsibility for the security of their work (i.e. with written work, to ensure that other students do not get access to electronic or hard copy of the work). Failure to keep work secure may allow others to cheat, and could result in an allegation of academic misconduct for students whose work have been copied, particularly if the origin of the work is in doubt.

Self-plagiarism

The act of presenting part or all of your work that has been previously submitted to meet the requirements of a different assessment, except where the nature of the assessment makes this permissible.

Collusion

The act, by two or more students, of presenting a piece of work jointly without acknowledging the collaboration. This could include permitting or assisting another to present work that has been copied or paraphrased from your own work.

The University also defines collusion as the act of one student presenting a piece of work as their own independent work when the work was undertaken by a group. With group work, where individual members submit parts of the total assignment, each member of a group must take responsibility for checking the legitimacy of the work submitted in his/her name. If even part of the work is found to contain academic misconduct, penalties will normally be imposed on all group members equally.

Cheating in an examination venue

The University defines cheating in an examination venue as including:

  • Taking notes or any unauthorised materials into an examination venue. This includes having notes available in toilets or other areas that may be visited during the examination. If students refuse to comply with instructions if they request to leave the examination venue during the examination (e.g. a toilet visit), this may be considered evidence of attempted academic misconduct.
  • Obtaining an advanced copy of a question paper.
  • Unauthorised communication during an examination (including via telephone or other electronic media).
  • Removing an examination answer book from the examination venue.
  • Copying from another candidate.
  • Allowing oneself to be impersonated.
  • Impersonating another candidate.

Fabricating or falsifying data or using without permission another person's work

The act of fabricating or falsifying data to include presenting work that has not taken place. This includes laboratory reports or projects based on experimental or field work. It may also include falsifying attendance sheets for placements where this is part of the assessment requirements.

Purchasing or Commissioning

The act of attempting to purchase or purchasing work for an assessment including, for example from the internet, or attempting to commission, or commissioning someone else to complete an assessment on your behalf.

Academic Induction Period

The University recognises that students who are new to UK Higher Education may need some time to learn how to acknowledge sources properly. Therefore, it operates an ‘academic induction period' during which the focus of the University's response to signs of plagiarism and/or collusion is to educate students in regard to appropriate academic practice and academic integrity rather than to penalise unacceptable academic practice.

The academic induction period applies to all full-time and part-time students and is defined as:

  • the first academic year of a student's registration with the University on an undergraduate course at Level 3 and 4 only.
  • the first teaching block on a postgraduate course

The academic induction period does not apply to:

  • direct entrants at Levels 5 and 6
  • any form of reassessment

The academic induction period covers first and concurrent occurrences of plagiarism and/or collusion. It does not apply to other forms of academic misconduct.

Academic Misconduct Procedure

The procedures for investigating suspected cases of academic misconduct are set out in Academic Regulations 6 Academic Integrity - Taught Courses 2022/23 and Academic Regulations 7 Academic Integrity - Research Degrees 2022/23 (the links to the regulations are available at the bottom of this webpage).

Penalties

The penalties for academic misconduct have been determined on the basis of the following principles:

  • No student should gain any advantage over another as a result of academic misconduct.
  • Where there is evidence of collusion, all students implicated in the case should normally receive the same penalty.
  • Where there is evidence of plagiarism or copying group work, all those involved will normally receive the same penalty.
  • Mitigating circumstances cannot excuse academic misconduct.

Summary of penalties applicable for Academic Misconduct - Taught Courses

Penalty A

Academic Induction Period

Penalty B

Module and element of assessment awarded a mark of zero (Z).

Reassessment by retake is permitted, if this is allowed by the standard assessment regulations.

If the reassessment is being undertaken in retake mode, the penalty only requires reassessment in the piece of work in which the academic misconduct took place. However, where other elements are failed, these too should be set as retake as per assessment regulations.

Where any subsequent reassessment is judged to be of the required pass standard, the overall module result will be capped at the minimum pass mark.

Additional learning support to be provided.

Penalty C

Module and element of assessment awarded a mark of zero (Z).

Reassessment by retake will not be permitted.

An opportunity to repeat/replace the module is permitted, if this is allowed by the standard assessment regulations.

Where any subsequent reassessment is judged to be of the required pass standard, the overall module result will be capped at the minimum pass mark.

Penalty D

Module and element of assessment awarded a mark of zero (Z).

A PAB will terminate the registration and award based on credit achieved at that point.

Penalties by Offence and Repeat Offence - Taught Courses

 

Plagiarism or Collusion

Other type of academic misconduct

Mixed offences*

Undergraduate Academic Induction Period

A

N/A

N/A

First offence

B

C

N/A

Second offence

C

D

D

Third offence

D

N/A

D

*Mixed offences are when a repeat offence is made in a different category to the first offence 

 

Summary of penalties applicable for Academic Misconduct - Research Degrees

ALLEGATION ARISING BEFORE SUBMISSION OF THE THESIS FOR FINAL EXAMINATION

 Module Level

Type of Academic Misconduct

1st offence

2nd, repeat or concurrent offence

7/8

Plagiarism or collusion

Opportunity to revise the work. Additional learning support will be provided. Progression delayed until improved work is developed and submitted.

Termination of registration

7/8

Other types of academic misconduct

Opportunity to revise the work. Additional learning support will be provided. Progression delayed until improved work is developed and submitted.

Termination of registration

ALLEGATION ARISING AFTER SUBMISSION OF THE THESIS FOR FINAL EXAMINATION

 Module Level

Type of Academic Misconduct

1st offence

2nd, repeat or concurrent offence

7/8

Plagiarism or collusion

Termination of registration. In cases of poor academic practice, this will be addressed as part of the examination process.

Termination of registration

7/8

Other types of academic misconduct

Termination of registration

Termination of registration

Appeals

If you are studying on a taught course you can use the procedures set out in Academic Regulations 8: Academic Appeals (Taught Courses) to request a review of an outcome in relation to Academic Misconduct either following the Academic Misconduct Panel or following the final decision of the Programme Assessment Board if there is evidence that the procedure was not followed.

If you are studying on a research degree you can use the procedures set out in Academic Regulations 9: Academic Appeals (Research Degrees) to request a review of an outcome in relation to Academic Misconduct either following the Academic Misconduct Panel or following the final decision of URDC if there is evidence that the procedure was not followed.

You cannot appeal against the penalty imposed by a Programme Assessment Board or the University Research Degrees Committee.

A Student Guide to Plagiarism

Introduction

This guidance has been prepared by the University to help you begin to understand what plagiarism is and why it is important to avoid it. The guide is principally aimed at undergraduates, however postgraduates should also familiarise themselves with the content. The guide is only a starting point to get you thinking about plagiarism and its related issues.

Studying at University involves learning and developing many new skills, most of which will be used for assessment but others may be transferrable skills that you will be able to make use of when you graduate. Because of this, there is an expectation that you will take an ‘academic' approach to your learning which means that as you progress through your course you will become increasingly more competent at finding information, reading it and making sense of it in order to use the ideas of others for your assessed work. The ability to undertake independent research aligns with the principles of higher education institutions (HEIs) in the UK and also demonstrates your personal development to your tutors. Making use of the ideas of others involves certain techniques and procedures including referencing and citing from source materials. Students entering HEIs are not always familiar with these procedures but if they are not correctly applied in assessments it can lead to accusations of plagiarism which is treated very seriously. It is important therefore that you develop good habits while studying at University and avoiding plagiarism is one way to demonstrate that you are conducting your studies with integrity and adopting the principles of good practice that are required in HEIs.

Further information about plagiarism will be provided by lecturers on your course, information is also available on course Canvas pages and your subject librarian can also provide advice about the specific referencing and citation systems that should be used on your course.

It is the University's responsibility to provide plagiarism education, however it is your responsibility to apply the correct methods and follow the rules for avoiding plagiarism once you have learnt the appropriate techniques. Therefore, you will be given many opportunities to develop the skills required to avoid plagiarism.

What is plagiarism?

Kingston University defines plagiarism as:

‘Presenting the work of another person (or people) as your own without proper acknowledgement' (AR6 & 7).

This definition applies to the use of written material including direct quotations, summaries and paraphrases. It also applies to the use of other forms of original work, for example, music, art and design works, images, drawings, diagrams, data, computer programmes, ideas and inventions There are many types of sources that can be used in your assessed work so if you are unsure about whether any material you wish to use needs to be acknowledged it is always best to check with a lecturer on your course.

One of the most common misunderstandings about plagiarism is that it only relates to copying without acknowledging the source of ideas. This is not the case and there are many different types of plagiarism that you need to be aware of.

What are the types of plagiarism?

Copying

This refers to the use of any source material without making proper acknowledgement to the author. Any source material includes information from published and unpublished sources such as books, journal articles, websites, other students, in addition to visual and graphic designs and a range of other types of material. If you do plan to directly copy from original sources you must acknowledge where it is from by including quotations markers and page numbers.

Plagiarism by copying also occurs when a student copies or reproduces another student's work, with or without their consent. This means that if you fail to keep your work secure and another student accesses and uses it by submitting it for credit, without your knowledge or consent you can both be accused of plagiarism. Because of this the University expects all students to take responsibility for the security of their own work by ensuring that other students cannot get access to it.

Duplication (or Self Plagiarism)

This refers to the act of presenting part or all of an assignment that has previously been submitted to meet the requirements of a different assessment, except where the nature of assessment makes this permissible for example in group work. Duplication involves re-use of work that has already received credit elsewhere.

Work that has previously been published in peer reviewed or other academically acceptable contexts can be used (unchanged) by its author in more than one assessment, however it must adhere to the appropriate conventions of citation and referencing. For example, if use of material is word for word it should follow the rules for quotations.

Unpublished work that is not substantially unchanged for second and subsequent usage cannot normally be used for credit unless it part of a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process.

Collusion

This concerns collaboration by two or more students presenting a piece of work they have jointly produced without acknowledging the collaboration. Students can be accused of plagiarism by collusion even if they are unaware that their work has been used which is why you should never share your written materials with other students.

Collusion also involves one student presenting work as their own by implying it was independently undertaken when it has been collaboratively produced by a group of students. When undertaking group work all members of the group should ensure the legitimacy of all parts of the work as every member is responsible for the total product. If part of a group assignment is found to contain evidence of plagiarism penalties may be imposed on all members of the group.

It is important to recognise that plagiarism relates to both published and unpublished work, including the work of other students and it is not only failure to indicate when direct quotations are used from books, journal articles and other sources, but also failure to acknowledge the source of summaries, paraphrases or adaptations of the work of others. Therefore, while it is an important part of your academic progress to use the ideas of others in your assignments it must be emphasised that it is failure to acknowledge that constitutes plagiarism.

Why is avoiding plagiarism so important?

The knowledge and ideas that you will encounter in your reading and research have been produced by people. This knowledge is sometimes referred to as intellectual property (IP), which means that the ideas belong to the person who created or conceived them. It is important that you understand what IP is in order to make sure that you use it in the correct way for your studies. This is particularly important for postgraduates taking research degrees. Incorrect use of Intellectual property, by not clearly stating that you did not produce it, is regarded as theft in the academic context. Therefore it can be viewed in the same way as taking material possessions without having permission from the person they belong to.

It is important then to think about knowledge and ideas as belonging to the author or producer. Kingston University recognises that many students entering higher education have not been exposed to this way of thinking about (and using) ideas. Indeed, it is common practice in some cultures and contexts to use the ideas of others without acknowledging where they came from. This is why students and staff may have different attitudes about how to incorporate ideas into assignments. Therefore, it is important that both students and staff have shared knowledge to ensure that there is consensus about plagiarism rules and regulations and it is important that you comply with them.

What actions can I take to avoid plagiarism?

Citations and References

Citing and referencing from source material is absolutely fundamental for avoiding plagiarism. However there are different methods for doing this so you will be taught the appropriate system for citing and referencing in your discipline. A common rule though is that citations are placed in the main body of the assignment and the references are listed at the end. This means that all citations should match one of the items on the reference list.

Different Resources

As you begin to work on your assignments you will be required to select and make use of many different types of resource, for example: books, journals, E-journals, government documents and online resources. For each type of resource the information you need to include differs. For example, a complete reference for a book includes the name of author, date of publication, title, place of publication and publishers. Whereas for online resources you should always include the URL or web address and the date you accessed the resource in addition to the information you use for books. So it is important that you learn exactly what information is required for different source types.

Using Online Resources

You will be encouraged to make use of the internet for accessing materials to include in your assignments. However, some sites are better than others for finding articles, books and so on. Therefore you should work closely with your tutors to identify the online resources that are acceptable and those that are not. It takes time to develop the skills needed to identify good quality materials on the web but your tutors can help you with this. So remember, if in doubt ask!

Using Quotations

When using direct quotations from source materials you must always include quotation markers and page numbers so that the reader can locate the quote should they wish to check it. While it is acceptable to use quotes to support your ideas and provide evidence that you have read about those ideas, try to use them sparingly because using too many quotes will impact on how your work is perceived. For this reason, it is better to learn how to paraphrase and summarise the ideas from the sources you use. If you find it difficult to paraphrase or summarise materials, speak to an academic skills advisor in your faculty who can help you to develop the appropriate techniques to improve the way you work with source materials.

Summaries and Paraphrases

If you summarise or paraphrase from source materials you do not need to include quotation marks but must always acknowledge where the ideas are from by including a citation.

Using Secondary Sources

It is important to recognise the distinction between primary and secondary sources. Primary ideas are those that belong to the person who created the ideas in a single author book for example. However, it is likely that the author of that book will use the ideas of others' to support the points they make, these are known as secondary ideas. It is very important that you learn how to cite secondary sources correctly so that the right person is acknowledged. Tutors, subject librarians and academic advisors can help with this.

Group Work

At times in your programme of study you may be asked to produce work as part of a group. While it is sometimes the case that an individual assignment is required for assessment, at other times you may need to produce the assignment as a group. If the assignment is to be individually produced you must make sure that the work is all your own and is not influenced by other members of the group as this can lead to accusations of collusion.

If the assignment is to be produced as a group, it is very important that you work together to ensure that all source materials that have been used by each member of the group are acknowledged. Remember it has your name on it, so if one member plagiarises all members may be considered to have plagiarised.

Using common sense knowledge:

At times you might use information or ideas that do not need to be acknowledged. This is because they are common sense ideas that anyone might know. For example it is common knowledge that the Eiffel Tower is in Paris. However, it is not always this easy to know what is or is not common knowledge.

How do I decide whether or not a piece of information requires acknowledgement?

Ask yourself the following questions:

Q: Did I know this information before I started my course of study?

A: If you did know about it, did you learn it as part of a previous course? If you learnt it as part of a previous course, you should cite the source.

Q: Did I learn it as part of my course?

A: If you learnt about it as part of the course you are taking then you should acknowledge the source.

One more thing to consider:

As you progress through your course of study you will become more familiar with general concepts, theories and ideas. This makes arriving at a decision about whether or not to include a citation even more difficult because you will begin to know the ideas and so it may become more difficult to evaluate whether they constitute common sense knowledge. If you are unsure about whether you need to acknowledge a source speak to a lecturer on your course as they can help you decide what to do.

Understanding what is required for assessment:

There are many stages to your academic development and the knowledge you acquire will be assessed at various points of a module or whole course. As you move through your course, whether it is a one year or five year course, your knowledge, understanding and ability to evaluate, synthesise and analyse ideas and knowledge will be tested in many ways.

Using Feedback:

Your tutors will help you to develop these skills and one way of doing this is by giving you constructive feedback about your progress. It is important that you use this feedback because it is intended to help you become more self-aware about your learning requirements and to help you become more autonomous in the learning process.

Citing sources is a good thing:

Being able to find and use knowledge and ideas, to describe them, summarise them, order them and argue around them is a very important part of your education. Your tutors will value the fact that you can find, use and cite knowledge and ideas generated by others.

Becoming an independent learner:

It is likely that the knowledge and ideas delivered on your programme of study will become increasingly more complex as you progress through a course. In order to understand and make use of complex ideas it is recommended that you read around a topic by drawing on a wider and wider range of sources as you progress through your course. It is also likely that you will be required to generate your own ideas by developing and writing extended projects or dissertations at the end of your programme of study. If this is the case you will be dealing with lots of material and it can then become difficult to know where the ideas you plan to use have come from.

Keeping good notes and records:

The best way to demonstrate that you have not plagiarised all or a part of an assignment is to keep your rough work, notes and copies of any sources you have used. This will help you to locate where ideas are from when you produce your work.

If you plan to use quotations, make sure you include the page numbers in your records as you will need to include them in your work. If you plan to paraphrase or summarise ideas, make sure you keep the complete reference for every source you use. You should also keep your notes on original sources and ideally keep copies of the actual sources.

Why is it important to keep good notes?

Apart from being able to find source materials and develop your ideas about them, it is your responsibility to be able to demonstrate that you have not plagiarised. Rough work and notes might include first versions of any work you have produced. For example, early drafts of written work, art and design work such as sketches, developmental aspects of computer programmes, and so on. These drafts can be used to demonstrate that you have developed the ideas you have used in your assignments and if you have a record of where the information you have used is from, you can demonstrate this if you are accused of plagiarism.

Detection of plagiarism

It is often easy for tutors to detect plagiarism because they create the reading lists used on your course and may provide additional information about those sources in lectures and tutorials. Therefore, it is likely that they will know about the ideas you use in your assignments and accordingly will be able to identify plagiarised material.

An additional detection tool is Turnitin which helps with text matching. Therefore, if a source you have used can be located anywhere on the internet, Turnitin will be able to identify whether your work matches any of those texts. So your work can be screened using text matching software and if you have not acknowledged the source of any of the material in your work it will be identified.

Where can I go for help?

If you have any concerns about plagiarism in your work you can take it to an Academic Skills Centre where the advisors can identify it and advise you about how to correct it before you submit the work. There is a centre located at every campus.

Seek Advice: If you are not sure how to cite the work of others you can get information from: lecturers; academic skills advisors and subject librarians.