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HDR - Avoiding Plagiarism and Academic Misconduct (Higher Degree Research) Guideline

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Section 1 - Guidelines

Giving the impression that the ideas, words or work of another person are one's ideas, words or work, even if this is done unintentionally, is plagiarising.

(1) Good scholarship requires building on and incorporating the work of others. This use must be appropriately acknowledged. Whenever the thoughts, words, drawings, designs, statistical data, computer programs, performances or creative works of others are employed, either by direct quotation, by paraphrasing or by the use of another's ideas, the author and the source must be clearly identified through the use of proper referencing. Acknowledgment of the contributions of others is not solely a matter of honesty. It also shows the extent to which appropriate references and source materials have been consulted during preparation of work for submission. It thus plays a very positive role in academic assessment, by demonstrating how well work already done in the relevant field has been taken into account by the student.

(2) Failure to acknowledge sources appropriately or to use paraphrasing or direct quotations appropriately constitutes plagiarism and may attract significant penalties such as failure in the unit or exclusion from the University.

(3) Plagiarism includes:

  1. copying any material from books, journals study notes or tapes, the web, CD-ROMs, the work of other students, or any other source without indicating this by quotation marks or by indentation, italics or spacing;
  2. directly quoting or rephrasing ideas from books, journals, study notes or tapes, the web, CD-ROMs, the work of other students, or any other source without acknowledging the source of those ideas by footnotes or citations; or
  3. unauthorised collaboration with other students in producing an assessment task.

(4) Plagiarism involves not only written works, but also material such as data, graphs, images, music, formulae, websites and computer programs.

(5) Aiding another student to plagiarise one's work is also a violation of the Higher Degree Student Responsible Research Conduct Policy and may invoke a penalty.

The Higher Degree Student Responsible Research Conduct Policy states that students have a responsibility to:

  1. engage in all aspects of their higher degree research program with honesty, integrity and a commitment to the responsible and ethical conduct of research
  2. read and understand the relevant national guidelines and the University's policies relating to responsible and ethical conduct of research, and those policies relating to plagiarism, academic and behavioural misconduct,
  3. seek and take advice and assistance from or through their supervisor, as necessary, to ensure that they meet the requirements of relevant national guidelines and the University's policies relating to responsible and ethical conduct of research, and those policies relating to plagiarism, academic and behavioural misconduct,
  4. co-operate in the investigation of any allegations of misconduct brought against them, arising from their action or omission during or after their enrolment in a UNE postgraduate research degree.

In addition, the Higher Degree Student Responsible Research Conduct Policy states that the University will:

(6) set in place, and ensure the consistent and procedurally fair implementation of rules, policies and procedures relating to responsible academic and research conduct, as well as those relating to plagiarism, academic and behavioural misconduct,

  1. make available to all Supervisors and Higher Degree Research Students of UNE access to the national guidelines and University policies relating to responsible and ethical conduct of research, and those policies relating to plagiarism, academic and behavioural misconduct,
  2. ensure that all Staff and Students of UNE understand their rights and responsibilities with respect to these guidelines, rules, policies and procedures, and those policies relating to plagiarism, academic and behavioural misconduct,
  3. ensure that procedural fairness and proper administrative processes, consistent with legislative requirements, are maintained throughout the investigation, resolution and appeal arising from an investigation, of an alleged breach of national guidelines and/or University policies relating to responsible and ethical conduct of research, and those policies relating to plagiarism, academic and behavioural misconduct,
  4. maintain appropriate central records management of allegations of misconduct, their investigation and outcomes, consistent with legislative and University requirements
  5. ensure that University staff comply with legislative and the University's requirements for the management of misconduct records, and procedural fairness particularly in relation to privacy and confidentiality.

Finally, students need to know their rights if they find an allegation of plagiarism or academic misconduct has been made against them:

(7) If an allegation of plagiarism or academic misconduct is made against a student, s/he will be:

  1. informed of the nature and details of the allegation, and provided with all relevant documentation as soon as possible after a determination has been that there are ground for an allegation,
  2. provided with an opportunity to respond to the allegations within a reasonable time,
  3. provided with an opportunity to put their case at any formal proceedings,
  4. advised promptly of the outcome of an investigation, the penalty imposed and the appeal process, and
  5. given a reasonable time to fulfil the requirements of the imposed penalty.

(8) To assist them in avoiding plagiarism, students should:

  1. be familiar with the style of acknowledgment that is recommended for use in the discipline, including the referencing techniques required for information sourced from the Internet;
  2. write the source on any notes or copies made from any document or electronic sources such as the Internet. The habit of copying or 'cutting-and-pasting' text directly from a source as one reads is very dangerous. It is easy to forget that the notes mad or excerpts 'cut-and-pasted' are not one'sown and to later write them into an essay or report as if they were one's own words. Students should keep details of the sources that have been relied upon as they work. Plagiarism is often the result of lack of care, poor study and/or poor referencing methods;
  3. acknowledge all sources containing the concepts, experiments, performances or results from which ideas have been extracted or developed, even if these ideas have been put into a student's own words;
  4. always use quotation marks or some other acceptable indicator of quotation when quoting directly from a work. It is not enough merely to acknowledge the source;
  5. avoid excessive paraphrasing and quoting, even where the source has been acknowledged. Instead, sources should be read and then put out of sight. Students should think about the meaning that is important and relevant to them and their task and then write this in their own words. This approach will help students improve their writing generally;
  6. be aware of the rules regarding collaboration. Collaboration (appropriately acknowledged) is permitted in the case of team or group research or projects. It is also permitted in the more general case when the collaboration is limited to the discussion of general strategies or help of a general nature. Students who have any doubt about what constitutes authorised (legitimate) and unauthorised collaboration for specific assessment tasks should seek advice from your supervisors.
  7. understand that the distinction between what needs to be acknowledged and what is common knowledge is not always clear. As students gain experience they will learn the acceptable practices for acknowledgment in the disciplines in which they study, but while learning, students should always play safe and acknowledge;
  8. keep a printed (hard) copy of all of submitted work to assist them in case they ever need to answer an allegation of plagiarism. This is important for students' own protection against possible misuse of submitted work by another person.

Referencing and Research Guidelines:

(9) Students should refer to the following websitesfor further advice and assistance regarding referencing styles and rules and as well as advice on avoiding plagiarism and misconduct:

  1. eSKILLS UNE Keeping Track
  2. The UNE Academic Skills Office

(10) In addition, individual Schools at UNE may have their own documentation regarding plagiarism and referencing issues and you should approach your Supervisor for information on these specific documents.

Advice on Use of Internet Sites:

(11) Cyberspace contains both useful information and traps for the unwary. Unfortunately, many websites do not name the author of the textual material included. This means that the text carries little authority. As with a book or journal article, we need to know "Who wrote this?" and "Where did they get that piece of information from?"

(12) Questions to ask about any site on the WWW:

  1. Is the author named?
  2. If so, does the site tell you about the author's credential and experience?
  3. Can you confirm the information from books, journals or other websites?
  4. Be aware that the website may be as biased as any other source. Who owns/runs the website and what are they promoting?
  5. Has the website been updated recently? Is it out of date?

(13) In general, research must be based on data that is the work of acknowledged authors, and on data with verifiable origins. The advantage of academic books and journals is that the material has been reviewed in manuscript form by experts in the field before publication, and has often been subjected to a further review in academic journals after publication. Sometimes, however, information is posted on websites before publication or instead of publication through regular channels. This means that it is not always clear as to whether or not it is appropriate to employ web-based resources in one's own research. If in doubt, students should always consult their supervisors before incorporating web-based references in their research.

(14) The Internet now has extensive and very powerful resources, which university teachers can use to detect electronic plagiarism. UNE staff have access to these resources and will use them, so although information can be downloaded from the web with ease and incorporated into students' own work - the risk of discovery is VERY high.

(15) The solution is simple and automatically safeguards integrity: when information is referenced in work that is submitted, information downloaded from the web should be treated with the web with the same caution, respect and proper acknowledgment as information from any printed source of other media (e.g., CD-ROM, radio, TV).

Referencing the WWW:

(16) Information from the WWW should be cited just like any other source. Students can find out how to reference information from the WWW using the referencing styles and rules for their discipline. Instructions and examples are available also from the Academic Skills Office website listed above.