Academic Integrity is a quality that demonstrates values such as honesty, fairness and respect for others and their work. Academic integrity is evident by the behaviours we exhibit.
In order to demonstrate academic integrity, you must be able to demonstrate for example originality (independent thinking) and criticality (critical thinking), which you will be supported to develop whilst you complete your studies.
You will demonstrate academic integrity by producing your own work, clearly acknowledging any material that has been included from other sources or through collaboration.
Students must also present their own findings, conclusions or data based on appropriate and ethical practice.
Throughout your studies you will be expected to use many different types of information to enhance your own knowledge and understanding of the subject you are studying. When you use an idea or information from another source, e.g. from a book, journal, film, image or sound recording, etc. you must acknowledge where you got this information. Acknowledging the work of other people in your own work is referencing. When used correctly referencing gets you better marks because it:
- Adds weight to your discussion and arguments
- Demonstrates you understand the key issues in your subject
- Shows your ability to evaluate and critically apply this understanding to your work
- Evidence that you have been reading around your subject
- Enables others to find your references easily.
Academic Misconduct is a breach of the values of academic integrity, and can occur when a student cheats in an assessment, or attempts to deliberately mislead an examiner that the work presented is their own when it is not. It includes, but is not limited to, plagiarism, self-plagiarism, commissioning or buying work from a third party or copying the work of others, breach of examination rules, collusion etc.
Academic misconduct is a corrosive force in the academic life of the University; it jeopardises the quality of education and devalues the degrees and qualifications of the University. Some types of academic misconduct are as follows:
Plagiarism means using the work of another person and claiming it as your own. It is a form of cheating, and you will hear the word a lot whilst you are at university because it is a serious academic offence that can result in disciplinary action. Copying other students work, or basing your assignments on materials where you do not acknowledge the source (i.e. the book, journal article or internet site), is treated as a severe academic misconduct.
Often it is an innocent mistake; a misunderstanding about what constitutes plagiarism or incorrect referencing. Sometimes, however, students are caught just plain cheating. Whether you deliberately cheated or accidently failed to properly acknowledge the work of another, the penalty is the same. The University has sophisticated technology that will catch plagiarised work, so by doing it you may seriously affect the outcome of your degree.
Some types of Plagiarism:
- Using someone else’s ideas without acknowledging that they aren’t your own.
- Composing a paragraph by joining together sentences from a number of sources and not acknowledging them in the text.
- Copying or re-wording someone else's work without using quotation marks or referencing them.
- Using other people's words, writing, diagrams or pictures as if they were your own.
- Copying work from another student – even with permission from that person.
- Using your own previous work in another assignment without acknowledging it.
- Failure to reference appropriately or to adequately identify the source of material used.
Self-plagiarism is when a student submits the same piece of work, or substantial part thereof, for assessment more than once for graded credit. It will be regarded as Self-plagiarism unless the original piece of work is appropriately referenced.
c) Purchasing or commissioning
Purchasing or commissioning is either attempting to purchase or purchasing work for an assessment including, for example from the internet, or attempting to commission, or commissioning someone else to complete an assessment. For courses at all levels, the commissioning of proof-reading where this substantially alters the content of the original work, whether this is from a commercial provider or a personal contact, falls under this definition and is considered academic misconduct.
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. Examinations and Online timed assessments that contain similar work will be referred as collusion. Collusion also occurs where there is unauthorised cooperation between a student and another person in the preparation and production of work which is presented as the student’s own.
Collusion can also be the act of one student presenting a piece of work as their own independent work when the work was undertaken by a group. With group work, where individual members submit parts of the total assignment, each member of a group must take responsibility for checking the legitimacy of the work submitted in his/her name. If even part of the work is found to contain academic misconduct, penalties will normally be imposed on all group members equally.
e) Dishonest Use of Data
Fabricating or falsifying data means to include presenting work that has not taken place. This includes laboratory reports or projects based on experimental or field work. It may also include falsifying attendance sheets for placements where this is part of the assessment requirements.
f) Cheating in examinations or tests
Breaching the Examination Room Rules for Candidates (Section K of University Regulations). This includes assessments that are taken ‘in-class’, on-line or any other form of summative examination.
g) Minor Errors
Minor errors arise when a student has attempted to adopt academically acceptable practices but has failed to do so accurately or fully. Examples include forgetting to insert quotation marks, minor mistakes in referencing or citation, gaps in the bibliography or reference list, non- compliance with some aspects of presentation guidelines.
h) Requirement for Ethical Approval
Failure to gain ethical approval may result in failure of the work. Refer to the programme and/or module handbook for details regarding requirements for ethical approval.
How to avoid academic misconduct
To avoid plagiarism, you must acknowledge the source of all words, research, theories, ideas and insights that inform your work by using quotation marks and accurate citations. Information on the correct way of referencing and acknowledging work from other sources is available on the Your Study pages on UniHub: http://unihub.mdx.ac.uk/. For help with referencing, please see the guidance material in the Library, consult your tutor or make an appointment with a member of the Centre for Academic Success (CAS) team.
You should always date, print out and keep drafts of your work to prove that it was created by you. If you do not keep a paper trail somebody could copy your work, submit it, and then claim that you stole it from them!
You should never resort to paying somebody to proof-read or correct your written work. This is cheating and you can get better help for free through CAS (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
If caught for plagiarism, it is likely that you will have to repeat the module with a maximum grade of 16. You might also be dismissed from your programme altogether.
Middlesex takes plagiarism very seriously and students may be expelled if found guilty of this form of academic misconduct.
Further details are available in your Programme Handbook and University Regulations.
If you find that there is an allegation of Academic Misconduct (Plagiarism) on coursework that you have submitted for assessment, you should refer to the ‘Student Notes for Guidance for allegations of Academic Misconduct’ which are provided under the ‘Rules and Regulations’ section. Refer to https://www.mdx.ac.ae/about-us/university-regulations.
Academic Integrity Awareness Course
The University has developed a new online Academic Integrity Awareness Course to help support you. It’s called Becoming a Successful Student. More information can be found on the following link: https://unihub.mdx.ac.uk/study/academic-integrity
You can find this resource logging into MyUniHub and then going to My Learning. You will find the course under ‘My courses’. The course is designed to:
- identify your strengths and areas of development
- be aware of positive behaviours and academic expectations
- recognise the challenges when you study and the consequences of not following University rules and regulations
- find the support you need for your own development
If you submit a piece of work that is unexplainably different in quality from your other coursework or one that has improved extraordinarily over a matter of weeks, then be aware that the Assessment Board is entitled to ask you to come in and sit an oral exam (viva voce) – see Section C6 of the University Regulations.
Using References and Citation
Citation means that whenever you have used someone else’s ideas, or quoted someone else, you point out where you found that information. At Middlesex University, students are expected to use ‘Cite Them Right Online’ as their referencing guide, see: https://www.mdx.ac.ae/cas/cite-them-right-grammarly
There are several different ways to reference and cite other people’s work.
Your Programme and Module Handbooks will provide you with further details of the referencing style your tutors want you to use.
A word of caution to all students about using online tools for referencing: there are many free (and paid) reference generating tools online that can be used to generate citations and bibliographies. Please be mindful of using these, however, as they may not comply fully with the University’s guidelines for referencing. If you use such a tool, it is your responsibility to ensure that it complies fully with the referencing conventions laid out by ‘Cite Them Right Online’.