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Plagiarism, collusion and fabrication of data

What is plagiarism?

The University treats plagiarism as a matter for academic judgement.

Section 8.1 of the University's Code of Practice on Assessment provides the following definition of plagiarism:

Plagiarism occurs when a student misrepresents, as his/her own work, the work, written or otherwise, of any other person (including another student) or of any institution.  Examples of forms of plagiarism include: 
- the verbatim (word for word) copying of another’s work without appropriate and correctly presented acknowledgement;
- the close paraphrasing of another’s work by simply changing a few words or altering the order of presentation, without appropriate and correctly presented  acknowledgement;
- unacknowledged quotation of phrases from another’s work;
- the deliberate and detailed presentation of another’s concept as one’s own.

All types of work submitted by students are covered by this definition, including, for example, written work, diagrams, designs, charts, musical compositions and pictures.

What is collusion?

The University treats collusion as a matter for academic judgement.

Section 8.1 of the University's Code of Practice on Assessment provides the following definition of collusion:

Collusion occurs when, unless with official approval (e.g. in the case of group projects), two or more students consciously collaborate in the preparation and production of work which is ultimately submitted by each in an identical, or substantially similar, form and/or is represented by each to be the product of his or her individual efforts. Collusion also occurs where there is unauthorised co-operation between a student and another person in the preparation and production of work which is presented as the student’s own.

What constitutes fabricated data?

Section 8.1 of the Code of Practice on Assessment states the following:

Fabricated data is defined as any data presented as part of a formal assessment and which has not been obtained by legitimate means of experimentation or enquiry and/or there is insufficient evidence to support its validity. Fabricated data also includes any instance where existing data has been falsified.

The University regards fabricated data as an academic matter. 

How does the University deal with findings of plagiarism, collusion or fabrication of data?

Plagiarism and collusion or fabrication of data is always treated seriously, and action appropriate to the circumstances is always taken. 

The procedure followed by the University in all cases where plagiarism, collusion or fabrication is suspected is detailed in Appendix L of the Code of Practice on Assessment.

What penalties are applied?

Students should note that where minor plagiarism is found, the normal course of action is for the examiner to issue a written warning to the student.  Furthermore, where minor plagiarism is found and it is found that two previous warnings for minor plagiarism have been issued, or that the student has previously been found to have committed major plagiarism, collusion or fabrication, the incident of minor plagiarism will be treated as major plagiarism.

Where major plagiarism, collusion or fabrication is suspected, investigated and accepted by the Board of Examiners, the student(s) will be awarded a mark of zero for the assessment.

Where a student is found to have committed major plagiarism or collusion or fabrication of data on a third occasion, the Board of Examiners shall determine that the student has failed to satisfy the requirements of the programme.  It shall also determine in those circumstances whether or not any award is to be made to the student.

Declaration on Plagiarism and Collusion form should be completed and appended to any piece of work that is submitted for summative assessment.