Our top tips for what to do when you receive an allegation of plagiarism or academic dishonesty.
Academic dishonesty can include:
At its most severe level, academic dishonesty can constitute academic misconduct. Academic misconduct investigations can lead to heavy penalties that include suspension or exclusion from your degree. If you receive an allegation of academic misconduct, you should contact us immediately, before you respond to the University.
The most common types of plagiarism are:
Sometimes a student may be careless or not understand correct referencing, but even if the plagiarism was unintended, that is not a good excuse. The University always takes plagiarism, or potential plagiarism, very seriously.
The University detects alleged plagiarism in two ways:
Turnitin is text-matching software that compares similarities between an assessment and millions of other assessments, academic journal articles, web pages and other texts. Turnitin generates ‘compatibility reports’ that can trigger an allegation or be used as evidence of plagiarism.
Markers and examiners are required to report suspected plagiarism to the faculty’s Educational Integrity Coordinator (EIC).
After suspected plagiarism is reported to the Educational Integrity Coordinator (EIC), the EIC (or a nominated academic) will look at why you were reported and make a preliminary assessment. The EIC will look at the allegation and decide whether what you have done:
More serious forms of plagiarism or academic dishonesty will be referred to the Registrar.
After the preliminary assessment, if the EIC does not refer your matter to the Registrar or Director of Research Integrity, then your allegation will continue to be handled within your faculty either by the EIC or a nominated academic.
You will be notified of the allegation through a notification letter. In the letter you will be invited to either attend an interview, or to submit a written response to the allegation.
Try to stay calm. The process is designed to be fair to you and you have the right to:
Based on your response and the evidence they have reviewed, the EIC will decide whether the conduct is plagiarism, academic dishonesty or potential academic misconduct. They may also find that there was ‘no impropriety’, meaning you have done nothing wrong.
If your faculty makes a decision of plagiarism or academic dishonesty, this will usually result in penalties. Penalties could include:
The actual penalty will depend on the nature and extent of the plagiarism or academic dishonesty, and on whether you have had a previous finding. If you have previously been found to have engaged in academic dishonesty, a second finding will usually mean a more severe penalty.
If the EIC decides that the actions might constitute academic misconduct, research misconduct, or a code of conduct breach, they will refer the matter to either the Registrar (coursework) or the Director (research). You will receive a notification asking you to participate in a misconduct investigation. A common form of academic misconduct is when another person writes or contributes to your assessment, otherwise known as contract cheating. Helping another student by writing their assessment for them, or giving your assignment for them to copy and submit as their own work, is another form of academic misconduct.
Academic misconduct investigations can lead to heavy penalties that include suspension or exclusion from your degree. If you receive an allegation of academic misconduct, you should contact us immediately, before you respond to the University.
When another person writes or contributes to your assessment, this is known as contract cheating. This form of academic misconduct is one that the University takes very seriously. Contract cheating has two main forms:
Never get someone else to do your university work for you.
Do not use commercial services or businesses that offer:
Avoid tutoring businesses that are:
It is likely that these businesses have copied or re-used the work of past students which will lead to a high similarity index in the Turnitin compatibility report when you submit your assignment. Tutoring firms which give students the answers to an assessment task do not actually provide an ethical learning experience.
These businesses can put you at risk. Contract cheating services can also have very poor data security, which means it can be easy to find out who is using them. Some of these businesses have used students’ personal details inappropriately, posing a security risk to you and your university. Be suspicious of services that are only promoted by other students or student societies. Avoid commercial services that are not approved by or affiliated with the University, and always check with your faculty.
Be careful of sharing documents such as unit of study outlines and lecture slides on platforms like Course Hero. These documents are the intellectual property of the University. Sharing these with external parties could lead to an allegation of academic dishonesty or academic misconduct.
Never ask a friend or family member to contribute to or complete your assessment for you. Never complete work for another student. Students who are friends might exchange ideas but if this results in similar wording and ideas in your submitted assessments, you will receive allegations of academic dishonesty. Changing words or phrases is not enough to disguise collaboration.
Contact the Learning Centre
Camperdown/Darlington Campus: (02) 9351 3853
Cumberland Campus: (02) 9351 9319
Check the University policy register, in particular:
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*MARNs 1911813, 1912229