Academic Integrity & Plagiarism Policy

Policy Owner
Office of Vice President Academic Affairs
Document Type
Policy
Document Approval Date
Version
4.0

 


Purpose

The reputation of Dublin City University and of its graduates depends on upholding the highest standards of learning and research.  Students have a right to be assessed on the quality of their own work, and have the corresponding duty to present only their own work for assessment.  In this context, ‘work’ means ideas and concepts as well as their specific expression in words, formula, code, designs, images, sounds and other forms.  Students are expected to have read the University-wide statement on academic integrity, plagiarism and referencing techniques for work that is submitted for assessment.  Students undertaking research should familiarise themselves with the DCU Code of Good Research Practice and the National Policy Statement on Ensuring Research Integrity in Ireland.  In order to avoid any suspicion of plagiarism, a student should:

  • in accordance with the University recommended practice, cite the sources of all quotations, paraphrases, summaries of information, tables, diagrams or other material, including software and other electronic media in which intellectual property rights may reside
  • when paraphrasing the work of others, use their own words and sentence structures
  • provide a complete bibliography of all works and sources used in the preparation of projects, essays or other assignments
  • ensure the originality, independence and integrity of their individual submission, even if it has emerged from the context of group study. 

This policy and the associated procedures apply to all individuals at Dublin City University engaged in academic work, including all registered students of DCU on both taught and research programmes, and academic staff engaged in assessment of academic work which contributes to an award or credits. 

  • Academic Integrity: In an academic context, we show respect for the work of others and demonstrate our professionalism by being honest and trustworthy and acting with fairness, respect and responsibility.  Practices that undermine or damage academic integrity are unacceptable, and individuals who are found to have engaged in such practices will have appropriate action taken against them. Practices that breach standards of academic integrity include:
    • Buying or commissioning work via professional agencies
    • Submitting the same or similar work for more than one assessment
    • Falsifying research results, data, interviews or other research material
    • Providing false information to obtain unjustified concessions. 
    • Submitting other people’s work as your own, irrespective of whether you commissioned or paid for the work
  • Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the act of taking and using another person’s work and presenting it as your own without adequate reference.  It includes:
    • Reproducing the work of another, even with small changes, without appropriate acknowledgement or referencing, whether the work reproduced is from books, journals, articles, TV programmes, the Internet, lecture notes, and so on, without use of quotation or citing the source
    • Collusion by a group of students to produce/present an assessment or a substantial part thereof, when the examiner required individual research and outcome. 

Academic staff delivering a module or supervising research must refer students to, and explain, the University’s academic integrity and plagiarism policy.  Programme documentation will recommend the DCU Library Guide to the Harvard Style of Citing and Referencing (available from the Library’s website) and/or the appropriate referencing system required by the discipline. 

  1. Assessments, submitted physically or on line, will not be accepted or graded unless accompanied by a completed Student Declaration of Academic Integrity [see Appendix I] or the statement from the Academic Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees by Research and Thesis in the case of work submitted for a research award.  Students who do not include such a declaration will be required to resubmit according to the School 1module assessment procedures with a completed University Declaration of Academic Integrity form.  The work of any student that does not include such a Declaration will not be marked.
  2. Submitted assessments and theses may be subjected to electronic review and analysed electronically for plagiarised passages, etc. 

(The text on the process for dealing with alleged breaches of academic integrity and plagiarism is outlined in the flowchart in Appendix IV)

If the academic staff member to whom the assessment is submitted is satisfied that there is a case to answer, he/she must complete a report in writing (see Appendix II) to the designated School staff member (for example Programme Chair, School Teaching and Learning  Convenor). 

The report must include:

  1. The relevant material (dissertations, essays, code, diagrams, video, audio, web pages, etc.), including a web link for Internet sources.
  2. Breaches of academic integrity: an explanation as to how the student’s submitted work constitutes a practice that breaches academic integrity and/or plagiarism.
  3. Plagiarism: a brief textual analysis – for example, identical work, or portions of work, from different students; presenting others’ work as the students’ own; absent or misleading references.  

Any alleged breaches of academic integrity or plagiarism offence may be referred directly to the University Disciplinary Committee  In a case that is considered to be a first offence, an interview may be arranged between the student and the School representative(s) to allow the student(s) concerned to respond to the allegation of a breach, or breaches, of academic integrity and/or plagiarism.  Normally this interview will be conducted face to face, but it may, in exceptional circumstances, be conducted electronically (by synchronous or asynchronous means). 

In the case of a second offence, i.e. where a student has already been sanctioned at School or University level, his/her case will immediately be referred to the University Disciplinary Committee.  Notification of such action must also be sent to the Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning/Education at Faculty level for noting at Faculty Teaching and Learning Committee (notification of final outcome must also be sent by the School representative).  All communication with the student will be recorded and copies retained by all relevant parties initially.  If the allegation of breaches of academic integrity or plagiarism is not upheld by the Disciplinary Committee all official records of the alleged offence must be destroyed/deleted.  If the allegation is upheld by the Disciplinary Committee the records will not be destroyed and will be retained. 

The student can waive the interview with the School panel and have the matter referred to the University Disciplinary Committee.  The matter must be referred to the University Disciplinary Committee if the student retains legal representation, for example a solicitor. 

Prior to an interview being arranged, the student’s record must be checked both at local and at central level to ensure there is no previous academic integrity or plagiarism offence.  Where a student’s record shows no previous breach of academic integrity or plagiarism, and an alleged breach is being dealt with at School level, an interview will be held with that student such that they may answer to the allegation. This interview may be conducted face to face or, in exceptional circumstances, electronically. 

The interview panel will involve, at a minimum, the School representative and another academic member of staff (for example, the staff member who identified the alleged breach).  As part of the interview process, the student will be asked if they have ever had any allegation of plagiarism or breach of academic integrity upheld before, either in DCU or elsewhere.  It will be explained to the student how they have allegedly breached the academic integrity and plagiarism policy.  Students are then afforded the opportunity to explain how they did not breach the policy or outline any extenuating or mitigating circumstances involved in their case.  Records of the interview must be kept; these records may be electronic or paper based. 

The student is entitled to bring an observer to the face-to-face interview, or involve an observer in the interview process taking place electronically.  In the case of a face-to-face interview or a synchronous electronic interview, the interview panel must be notified, at least 48 hours in advance, of such planned observer attendance, including the name of the observer and their relationship to the student.  In the case of an asynchronous interview being held electronically, the interview panel must be informed that an observer will be involved in the interview process, including the name of the observer and their relationship to the student.  This observer may not be a legal representative (see point below). 

Records of the interview and all communication with the student must be retained initially.  If the allegation of breach of academic integrity or plagiarism is not upheld, all records of the alleged instance must be destroyed/deleted.  If the allegation is upheld, the records will not be destroyed and will be retained.   

 

Local Penalties 

All penalties for breaching academic integrity and/or plagiarism will be greater than the penalty for submitting poor work or none.  If the allegation is upheld, local penalties may include:

  • A zero mark for an assessment component and a requirement to resit the assessment component. Additional work may be imposed.
  • A zero mark for the complete assessment and a requirement to resit the complete assessment.  Additional work may be imposed.
  • A zero mark for the module and the requirement to repeat the module in the following academic session.  Additional work may be imposed.

The full implication of the penalty must be made clear to the student, including potential impact for progression and/or award.  

Some further guidance on penalties is included in Appendix III

A record of sanction must be kept at Faculty level.  Notification of sanction must be sent to the Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning/Education for noting at Faculty Teaching and Learning Committee.  Where the allegation is upheld at local level, a flag will be added to the centrally-held student record to ensure that, should a second event occur of this nature, even if in a different School or Faculty, the first incident would be visible.  If, when this flag is being added, it is found that the student had not declared a previous finding, the matter will immediately be referred to the Disciplinary Committee for consideration of the plagiarism/breach of academic integrity issue and dishonesty in not declaring the previous offence.   

If the interviewing panel believes that the range of available local sanctions is not sufficient, the matter will be referred to the University Disciplinary Committee and record of action kept at Faculty level.  Notification of such action must also be sent to the Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning/Education at Faculty level for noting at Faculty Teaching and Learning Committee (notification of final outcome must also be sent by the School representative).  If the allegation is not upheld at Disciplinary Committee, all official records of the alleged instance must be destroyed/deleted. 

Students should be informed promptly in writing of the outcome of the School process and if they don’t accept this outcome they should be informed that they have the right to have the case heard ab initio by the University Disciplinary Committee. 

Allegations of unacceptable academic or research practices such as falsification of data are dealt with under DCU’s Policy for Responding to Allegations of Research Misconduct.

A judgement as to whether or not plagiarism has occurred is integral to the examination of research reports submitted for formal assessment (such as at confirmation of a research student on the PhD register, and at award stage).  The recommendations of the examiners, in line with Academic Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees by Research and Thesis, reflect the outcome of this evaluation. 

In cases where a breach of academic integrity and/or plagiarism is alleged subsequent to the awarding of credit, DCU will invoke this policy, or that on Responding to Allegations of Research Misconduct, and may, if the allegations are upheld and the offence serious, revoke the credits or award given. 

  1. Student Code of Conduct and Discipline
  2. Policy for the Revocation of University Awards and Credits 

Responsibility for maintenance of the policy is within the remit of the Office of the VicePresident Academic Affairs. 

This policy will be reviewed every 5 years by Academic Council. 

Document Name

DCU Academic Integri ty and Plagiarism Policy

 

Version Reference

4.0

 

Document Owner

Office of the Vice President Academic Affairs

 

Approved by

Academic Council

 

Date

3rd October 2018

 

Students may be required to submit work for assessment in a variety of means, for example physical submission or electronic submission as per the lecturer’s instructions.  In all cases students must make a declaration of academic integrity, either by physically completing such a declaration and submitting it with their assignment or engaging appropriately with the electronic version of the declaration.  Assignments submitted such that the form has not been included, or the electronic equivalent has been circumvented, will not be accepted. 

Where a case is being referred to the University Disciplinary Committee, the form below can be appended to the Disciplinary Committee Complaint Form.

The local penalty for breaching the DCU Academic Integrity and Plagiarism Policy will be proportionate to the nature and scale of the offence.  Offences committed in later years of an undergraduate programme will generally be regarded as more serious than similar offences in earlier years. 

Graduate students are generally expected to have a much greater understanding of academic integrity and plagiarism and the consequences of breaches than are undergraduates.

In egregious cases, the University Disciplinary Committee may impose higher sanctions, including suspension from the University for a year or permanent exclusion from the University. 

 
Sample Offences Possible Penalty
A first occasion of unattributed copying by a student A zero mark for an assessment component and a requirement to resit the assessment component.  Additional work may be imposed.
Minor plagiarism (for instance, on the scale of one or two short unattributed phrases or sentences within a larger body of work) or associated unacceptable practices A zero mark for an assessment component and a requirement to resit the assessment component.  Additional work may be imposed.
Significant plagiarism (for instance, on the scale of more than two unattributed phrases or sentences) or associated unacceptable practices, especially within an assignment with significant weighted contribution to the overall module mark A zero mark for the complete assessment and a requirement to resit the complete assessment.  Additional work may be imposed.

 

Flowchart outlining process for dealing with alleged breaches of academic integrity and plagiarism