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  3. Academic dishonesty and misconduct

Plagiarism, academic honesty and research misconduct for HDR students

HDR students are expected to perform to high academic honesty standards. When they don’t, they can face allegations of plagiarism, academic dishonesty, and research misconduct. The University has integrity checks throughout your candidature to identify any possible breaches of academic honesty. These include:

  • a first-year integrity check, which involves submitting written work to be reviewed by your supervisor
  • a similarity-detection check following thesis submission (but prior to examination). Thesis drafts may also be passed through similarity-detection software.

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is using someone else work without appropriate acknowledgment.

The most common types of plagiarism are:

  • copying another author’s work and presenting it as one’s own
  • failing to reference another author’s work properly (or at all)
  • paraphrasing another author’s work and failing to properly reference it.

It is very important to understand that the University refers to the above acts as plagiarism, regardless of the student’s intention, so forgetting to insert a reference is still plagiarism under the University’s definition. A serious form of plagiarism could be considered academic dishonesty or research misconduct.

If your thesis is found to contain significant referencing errors after you have submitted it for examination, you may be required to Show Good Cause to provide an explanation. You will only be asked to Show Good Cause if the level of plagiarism does not constitute grounds for an allegation of academic dishonesty or research misconduct. If you are required to Show Good Cause as a result of this process, contact us for advice and support.

What is academic dishonesty?

Academic dishonesty is gaining, or attempting to gain, academic advantage, for oneself or for others, through unfair or dishonest means. This can include:

  • recycling your own work (except with the approval of the examiner)
  • dishonest plagiarism
  • collusion (working with others to attain unfair advantage)
  • contract cheating (paying someone to do your work)
  • fabricating data, information or sources
  • submitting work for assessment with the intention to deceive the examiner
  • inappropriately using electronic devices to access information during an examination
  • bringing forbidden material, such as textbooks, notes, calculators or computers, into an examination
  • attempting to read another student’s work during an examination
  • inappropriate publication or upload of an assessment, part of an assessment, or University teaching or course material to a website, or to a filesharing or other online platform
  • assisting another student to obtain an academic advantage by dishonest or unfair means
  • communicating, by any means, with another candidate during an examination
  • writing an examination paper, or consulting with another person about the examination, outside the confines of the examination room without permission
  • copying from another student during an examination.

What is research misconduct?

Research misconduct is defined by the intentional nature of the breach, a person’s recklessness in breaching research guidelines and rules, and/or negligence in breaching research guidelines and rules.

Research misconduct can involve:

  • falsifying research reports, results or data
  • failure to declare serious conflicts of interest
  • misleading ascription to authorship
  • plagiarism or academic dishonesty
  • deliberately conducting research without the appropriate ethics approval

All allegations of research misconduct will be referred to the Director of Research Integrity. If you receive a notification of possible research misconduct, contact us immediately for assistance.

Read the University’s Research Code of Conduct 2019 for the responsibilities of all researchers, academic staff and students at the University. It defines research misconduct and breaches of the code related to plagiarism.

Need more assistance?

Contact us, our caseworkers can help you.

Contact the Learning Centre:
Camperdown/Darlington Campus: (02) 9351 3853
Cumberland Campus: (02) 9351 9319

Check the University policy register, in particular:
Academic Honesty in Coursework Policy 2015
Academic Honesty Procedures 2016
Research Code of Conduct 2019
University of Sydney (Student Discipline) Rule 2016
Educational Integrity Decision-making and Penalty Guidelines 2018

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