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HDR - Preventing and Detecting Plagiarism (Higher Degree Research) Guideline

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Section 1 - Guidelines

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

  1. provide leadership by example, by complying with the relevant national guidelines and University policies relating to the responsible and ethical conduct of research,
  2. understand and comply with legislative and University requirements for procedural fairness and proper administrative process, particularly in relation to privacy and confidentiality,
  3. understand and comply with the requirements of the University with respect to preventing, detecting, reporting and investigating allegations of, and punishing, breaches of the University's rules and policies;
  4. ensure that the HDR students who are under their supervision have access to and understand requirements of the relevant national guidelines and University policies relating to the responsible and ethical conduct of research, and those policies relating to plagiarism, academic and behavioural misconduct,
  5. understand fully the requirements of the University and of good academic and research practice to avoid plagiarism and other academic and research misconduct and the consequences of not doing so,
  6. assist their HDR students to meet the requirements of responsible and ethical academic and research conduct, giving clear feedback about their work and conduct
  7. provide HDR students with fair warning if the supervisor believes any individual may be at risk of breaching the University's policies relating to responsible and ethical academic and research conduct
  8. ensure that there is no possibility that a perceived conflict of interest will arise, should an allegation of plagiarism, academic or research misconduct is brought against a Higher Degree Research Student under his/her supervision,
  9. co-operate with the investigation of any allegations of misconduct brought against an Higher Degree Research Student under their supervision.

Practices to minimise opportunities for plagiarism and other misconduct:

  1. draw students' attention to the concept of plagiarism and the policies relating to it in early discussions about research, and on printed and electronic literature about higher degree research;
  2. be available to give advice to students on the issue;
  3. advise students of the referencing style guide they should use, including the conventions of citing web-based material;
  4. advise students of help that is available for referencing technique - eg through the University's Academic Skills Office and its associated print and online resources, and encourage students to take advantage of these resources;

Resources for detecting plagiarism:

(1) Many libraries have good web pages containing information and links about plagiarism, how to detect it and how to prevent and avoid it. Some useful websites include:

  1. a major online resource for educators (subscription-based)
  2. The University og New South Wales Learning Centre site
  3. JISC Plagiarism Advisory Service

(2) Some basic tools are:

  1. be aware of the primary and secondary references for the subject;
  2. be aware of online sources of essays and papers;
  3. use software designed to detect plagiarism (e.g., visit the following website: teach-nology);
  4. look out for dramatic variation in style, vocabulary or expression; and
  5. look for inconsistencies in formatting that often occur when cutting and pasting from different sources, especially those available online.

Preventative steps for avoiding plagiarism and academic misconduct in units of study:

(3) The following preventative steps must be undertaken as avenues for discouraging plagiarism and other misconduct:

  1. All Faculty Handbooks will contain a section pertaining to the issue of plagiarism and will review the definitions of what constitutes plagiarism and other misconduct as well as the Higher Degree Research Student Responsible Research Conduct Policy including the potential range of actions and penalties. This section will also refer to the availability of computer software designed to detect electronic plagiarism and to the fact that plagiarism from the Internet is now easily detected: http://www.teach-nology.com/highered/plagiarism/detecting/software/
  2. Students will be advised, in their higher degree research materials, about issues associated with and the seriousness of plagiarism and other misconduct. Supervisors may find it useful to incorporate the document, Avoiding Plagiarism and Academic Misconduct: Higher Degree Research (www.une.edu.au/policies/) in the higher degree research materials provided to newly enrolled students. Students will also be advised that, for their own protection against possible misuse of their submitted work by another student and against possible suspicion of plagiarism, if they have to resubmit work claimed as having 'gone astray', they should retain a hard (paper) copy of each written task they submit, which they would be able to produce as needed, without undue delay, if the original has been lost, stolen or damaged. If the work is not in written form or is in some other form, the student will retain notes sufficient to show he or she has produced the work him or herself.
  3. The messages contained in the higher degree research information and other materials will be further reinforced, at an appropriate time and place, by the Supervisor through a discussion of the seriousness of the issue of plagiarism and academic misconduct, definitions, examples and a review of the Student Plagiarism and Academic Misconduct: Higher Degree Research Policy, including the potential range of penalties. This discussion will also refer to the availability of computer software designed to detect electronic plagiarism and to the fact that plagiarism from the Internet is now easily detected. Further, students will be advised of the availability of student support services designed to help acquaint them with appropriate academic conventions or to help them cope with assessment tasks should they begin to feel the need to shortcut work or reduce stress by contemplating plagiarism or other misconduct. Students may be referred to the following websites or academic units for further advice and assistance:
    1. eSKILLS UNE Keeping Track
    2. The UNE Academic Skills Office

Counselling a student who has been found to have plagiarised unintentionally.

(4) In the case of an allegation of plagiarism that has been deemed unintentional, you may be expected to give warning to the student and counsel him or her to prevent further This means that you will be expected to provide information to the student about why the allegation of plagiarism was made, and provide advice and guidance about how the student could avoid plagiarism in the future. The list of practices to minimise opportunities for plagiarism and other misconduct, the preventative steps for avoiding plagiarism and misconduct in units of study, above, as well as the suggestions provided in the document, Avoiding Plagiarism and Academic Misconduct: Higher Degree Research, could form a basis for any discussion you might hold with the student.