Policy Redesign Project

All policies and procedures are being reviewed as part of this project. This document is pending review, but remains in effect until the review is carried out.

Academic Integrity

Establishment: Council, 8 December 2005 
Last Amended: Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), 8 May 2017
Nature of Amendment: Minor amendments to clause 4.3, New Clause 4.4
Date Last Reviewed: May 2017
Responsible Officer: Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)

1.  Preamble

All students and staff have an obligation to understand and respect the rules and practice of academic integrity. It is therefore expected that students and staff will adhere to high standards of academic integrity. The University will provide resources to assist students and staff to be aware of their responsibilities. It is expected that academic staff will provide appropriate guidance, support and feedback to assist students to become familiar with the normal academic conventions relevant to their discipline.

The University will provide text-matching software for use by staff and students.  Except where this policy provides for an exemption under special circumstances, all text-based student assignments will be subject to text-matching in conjunction with their submission for assessment.

This policy is consistent with the Policy on Research Practice and the Research Higher Degrees Policies.

 

2.  Academic Integrity

2.1  Academic integrity means that all work which is presented by a student as the work of that student is produced by the student alone, with all sources and collaboration fully acknowledged.

2.2  Any failure to meet the requirements of academic integrity in any form of academic work will be regarded as a breach of the requirements of academic integrity and, depending on the circumstances and the nature of the breach, consequences including penalties may be expected to follow. Breaches of academic integrity may include plagiarism, collusion, fabrication, falsification, double submission of work, misconduct in examinations and making or providing a false declaration or statement. 

2.2.1  Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the use of another person's words or ideas as if they were one's own. It may occur as a result of lack of understanding and/or inexperience about the correct way to acknowledge and reference sources. It may result from poor academic practice, which may include poor note taking, careless downloading of material or failure to take sufficient care in meeting the required standards. It may also occur as a deliberate misuse of the work of others with the intent to deceive. It may include, but is not restricted to:

  • presenting extracts, without quotation marks and/or without appropriate referencing, from books, articles, theses, other published or unpublished works, films, music, choreography, working papers, seminar or conference papers, internal reports, computer software codes, lecture notes or tapes, numerical calculations, data or work from another student. In such cases, it is not adequate merely to acknowledge the source. This applies to material accessed in hard copy, electronically or in any other medium;
  • close paraphrasing of sentences or whole paragraphs with or without acknowledgement by referencing of the original work;
  • adopting ideas or structures from a source without acknowledgment;
  • using source codes and data from other's work without acknowledgement;
  • acquiring or commissioning a piece of work from someone else or a commercial service, including internet sites, whether pre-written or specifically prepared, and presenting that work as one's own.
  • submitting another student's work whether or not it has been previously submitted by that student.

2.2.2  Collusion

Collusion occurs when a student submits work as if it has been done individually when it has been done jointly with one or more other person unless the topic coordinator has indicated that this is acceptable for the specific piece of work in question.

2.2.3  Other breaches of the requirements of academic integrity

Other breaches of the requirements of academic integrity may include:

  • fabrication or falsification of data or results of laboratory, field or other work;
  • submission of the same piece of work for more than one topic unless the topic coordinator(s) have indicated that this procedure is acceptable for the specific piece of work in question;
  • providing another student with the means of copying an essay or assignment, including posting on a website or through other electronic means;
  • making or providing a false declaration or statement (e.g. providing a forged medical certificate or making a false declaration in relation to the word count for an assignment). 

2.2.4  Breaches of the requirements of academic integrity in examinations

Breaches of the requirements of academic integrity may occur in the examination process and may include, but is not restricted to:

  • being in possession of any material or device which contains or conveys, or is capable of conveying, information concerning the subject matter under examination, other than where this is permitted under the University's Assessment Policy or by an examiner;
  • directly or indirectly giving assistance to any other student;
  • directly or indirectly accepting assistance from any other student;
  • permitting a student to copy from or otherwise use another student's papers;
  • obtaining or endeavouring to obtain, directly or indirectly, assistance during the examination or giving or endeavouring to give, directly or indirectly, assistance to any other student.

 

3.  Responsibilities

3.1  The University

The University is responsible for:

  • providing information about this policy to all students and staff, including those staff employed by partner institutions to deliver Flinders University topics;
  • taking steps to ensure consistent and equitable application of this policy;
  • providing mechanisms for text-matching for use by staff and students, including access by students to assist with the preparation and revision of draft work;
  • taking steps to ensure timely investigation of allegations of breaches of academic integrity;
  • providing access to an appeal process;
  • maintaining the Academic Integrity component of the University website.

3.2  Staff

Staff are responsible for:

  • being aware of the policies and procedures in relation to academic integrity; providing examples of good academic practice by appropriately acknowledging the work of others in their teaching and research;
  • familiarising themselves with the information provided on the Academic Integrity component of the University web site;
  • providing clear instructions to ensure students are aware of common conventions in relation to expectations of academic integrity, as well as the specific requirements of the disciplines;
  • familiarising themselves with the use of the University's text-matching software and how to interpret the results of text-matching in relation to academic integrity;
  • communicating to students via the Statement of Assessment Methods (SAM) form electronic text matching software will be used for all text-based assessment submissions.
  • directing students to University information on text-matching, including how to use the software and interpret the results;
  • except where authoritatively exempted under clause 3.3 due to special circumstances, ensuring that all text-based student assignments have undergone text-matching upon submission;
  • ensuring that appropriate action is taken in accordance with this policy if potential breaches of academic integrity are revealed;
  • providing students with appropriate guidance, learning activities and feedback on academic integrity;
  • communicating to students the assessment methods and expectations relating to academic integrity;
  • communicating to students the acceptable level of working together and how their work will be individually or jointly assessed;
  • designing assessment tasks that minimise the potential for breaches of academic integrity.

3.3  Executive Deans

Executive Deans are responsible for:

  • ensuring that School Deans or nominees understand their responsibilities under this policy;
  • taking steps to ensure that the policy is implemented;
  • considering, and where appropriate approving, cases for exemption from the requirement for the application of text-matching software to student assignments due to special circumstances such as the student work containing confidential material that should not be deposited in the text-matching database.

3.4  Students

Students are responsible for:

  • submitting original work for assessment which meets the requirements of academic integrity;
  • informing themselves about the expectations of the University and relevant discipline by utilising the information provided by the University and staff. The University has made available the Academic Integrity component of the University web site and electronic text matching software for this purpose;
  • taking advantage of the education opportunities provided for education on academic integrity, and seeking additional assistance if required;
  • adhering to any instructions given by staff about the acceptable level of working together and how their work will be individually or jointly assessed;
  • acknowledging that they are aware of, and have met the requirements of academic integrity, by signing an appropriate statement with all assessed work.

 

4.  Procedures to be followed when a breach of the requirements of academic integrity is alleged to have occurred 

4.1  Plagiarism, collusion and other breaches of the requirements of academic integrity

4.1.1  When an assessor believes that a student has breached the requirements of academic integrity, the assessor will ensure that a check is made of the confidential register (refer to clause 6) to determine if the student has been reported as having previously breached the requirements of academic integrity.

4.1.2  Where an assessor believes that the breach has resulted from a misunderstanding of academic conventions or poor academic practice, the assessor, taking into account any information in the confidential register, must:

  • counsel the student about appropriate academic practice;
    and, either:
  • mark the piece of work concerned, taking full account of deficiencies in achieving intended learning outcomes; or
  • require that the student resubmit the work, in whole or in part, with or without imposing a maximum mark achievable.

A record of the nature of the breach, the action taken and the fact that the student has been advised of appropriate academic practice will be made in the confidential register using the specified form

4.1.3  Where an assessor, after discussing the matter with the student, believes that there has been a breach, which is not the result of a misunderstanding of academic conventions or poor academic practice, or where the information in the confidential register makes it appropriate to refer the matter further, the assessor will supply the Dean of the School (or nominee) with the piece of work, a written statement of reasons for the belief that a breach has occurred, and where appropriate the relevant text-matching report.  If the Dean of the School (or nominee) is the assessor concerned, he or she will refer the matter to the Executive Dean of the Faculty (or nominee).

4.1.4  When receiving a report of an alleged breach, the Dean of the School (or nominee) will inform the student in writing of the allegation and will contact the student by the most appropriate means to conduct an interview. If the student is unable to attend an interview, an alternative process will be put in place. The student may be accompanied at the interview by a staff or student member of the University or an employee of the student associations. The Dean of the School (or nominee) will provide the student with evidence of the alleged breach in writing either before or at the interview.  Should the student refuse to attend the interview or participate in an alternative process, the Dean of the School (or nominee) will determine, on the evidence available, what action to take in accordance with sub-clause 4.1.5 below.

4.1.5  If the Dean of the School (or nominee) determines that the student has breached the requirements of academic integrity, one of the following courses of action will be chosen, taking into account the extent of the breach, any information in the confidential register and whether or not there are significant extenuating circumstances:

  • direct the assessor to mark the piece of work concerned, taking full account of deficiencies in achieving intended learning outcomes; or
  • following consultation with the assessor, provide the student with the opportunity to resubmit the work, in whole or in part, with or without imposing a maximum mark achievable; or
  • award zero marks for the piece of work in which the breach has occurred; or
  • award a Fail grade for the whole topic of which the piece of work concerned is a part, and, recommend to the Examinations Board if special/supplementary assessment is to be awarded; or
  • refer the matter to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students) to be dealt with under Statute 6.4 Student Conduct (refer to Clause 4 Lodgement of a Complaint in the Policy and Procedures for handling a matter under Statute 6.4:  Student Conduct). 

A record of the nature of the breach and the action taken will be made in the confidential register using the specified form.

4.1.6  The Dean of the School (or nominee) will provide in writing to the student:

  • a summary of the interview or alternative process;
  • the decision;
  • the reasons for the decision;
  • advice that the student's name has been included in the confidential register;
  • a copy of any information placed in the confidential register; and
  • advice of the right to lodge an appeal if the student believes there are grounds for appeal, including information on the procedures, specified in Clause 5 below, to be followed in lodging an appeal to the Student Appeals Committee.

4.2  Breaches of the requirements of academic integrity with respect to a thesis - allegations made by a supervisor or other member of the University.

(For the purposes of this policy a thesis includes the research component of a postgraduate coursework award or Honours program and a research higher degree thesis.)

4.2.1  When a supervisor believes that a student has breached the requirements of academic integrity, the supervisor will ensure that a check is made of the confidential register to determine if the student has been reported as having previously breached the requirements of academic integrity.

4.2.2  Where a supervisor believes that the breach has resulted from a misunderstanding of academic conventions or accepted research practices or from poor academic practice, the supervisor, taking into account any information in the confidential register, will: counsel the student about appropriate academic and research practices. A record of the nature of the breach and the fact that the student has been advised of appropriate academic and research practices will be made in the confidential register using the specified form.

4.2.3  Where a supervisor, after discussing the matter with a student, believes that there is a breach, which is not the result of a misunderstanding of academic conventions or research practices, or from poor academic practice, or where the information in the confidential register makes it appropriate to refer the matter further, the supervisor will supply the Dean of the School (or nominee) with a written statement of reasons for the belief that a breach has occurred. If the Dean of the School (or nominee) is the supervisor concerned, the matter will be referred to the Executive Dean of the Faculty (or nominee).

4.2.4  When receiving a report of an alleged breach the Dean of the School (or nominee) will inform the student in writing of the allegation, provide the student with evidence of the alleged breach in writing and seek written comments on the allegation from the student within 21 days. The Dean of the School (or nominee) will contact the student by the most appropriate means to conduct an interview. If the student is unable to attend an interview, an alternative process will be put in place. The student may be accompanied at the interview by a staff or student member of the University or an employee of the student associations. If the student refuses to attend the interview or participate in an alternative process, the Dean of the School (or nominee) will determine, on the evidence available, what action to take in accordance with sub-clause 4.2.5 below.

4.2.5  The Dean of the School (or nominee) will determine whether the student has breached the requirements of academic integrity, and the extent of the breach. The Dean of the School (or nominee) will determine either:

  • that the student has not breached the requirements of academic integrity; or
  • that the student has breached the requirements of academic integrity, but that it is not in respect of a substantial component of the thesis; or
  • that the student has breached the requirements of academic integrity, and that it is in respect of a substantial component of the thesis.

4.2.6  The relevant Faculty committee will consider the determination of the Dean of the School (or nominee), any information in the confidential register, any written comments on the allegation from the student and whether or not there are significant extenuating circumstances, in selecting one of the following courses of action:

  • that the student's candidature be permitted to continue unconditionally;
  • that the student's candidature be permitted to continue subject to such conditions as the committee may impose;
  • that the student's candidature be transferred to another appropriate degree (for example, a PhD or MD student be transferred to a masters degree);
  • that the student's candidature be terminated, with a recommendation as to whether the student should be permitted to reapply within a specified period of time;
  • refer the matter to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students) to be dealt with under Statute 6.4 Student Conduct (refer to Clause 4 Lodgement of a Complaint in the Policy and Procedures for handling a matter under Statute 6.4:  Student Conduct). 

A record of the nature of any breach and the action taken will be made in the confidential register using the specified form

4.2.7  The Secretary of the relevant Faculty committee will provide in writing to the student:

  • a summary of the interview or alternative process;
  • the decision;
  • the reasons for the decision;
  • advice that the student's name has been included in the confidential register;
  • a copy of any information placed in the confidential register; and
  • advice of the right to lodge an appeal if the student believes there are grounds for appeal, including information on the procedures, specified in Clause 5 below, to be followed in lodging an appeal to the Student Appeals Committee.

4.3  Breaches of the requirements of academic integrity with respect to a postgraduate coursework award or Honours program - allegations by examiners of theses.

The following procedures will apply when one or both examiners of a thesis allege that a student has breached the requirements of academic integrity. 
 
4.3.1  After receiving a report of an alleged breach of the requirements of academic integrity, the relevant Faculty committee will inform the student in writing of the allegation and provide the supervisor and student with copies of the examiners' report(s) and any other evidence of the alleged breach in writing. In this process the examiners' identities shall not be revealed to the student.

4.3.2  The Chair of the relevant Faculty committee will ensure that a check is made of the confidential register to determine if the student has been reported as having previously breached the requirements of academic integrity. The relevant Faculty committee will seek written comments from the student and the supervisor on the examiners' report(s) and will contact the student by the most appropriate means to conduct an interview. If the student is unable to attend an interview, an alternative process will be put in place. The relevant Faculty committee may choose to delegate the responsibility to interview the student to a sub-committee. The student may be accompanied at the interview by a student or staff member of the University or an employee of the student associations. Should the student refuse to attend the interview or participate in an alternative process, the relevant Faculty committee will determine, on the evidence available, what recommendation to make in accordance with sub-clause 4.3.3 below. The relevant Faculty committee may seek from the examiners clarification of the examiners' comments.

4.3.3  The relevant Faculty committee will determine whether the student has breached the requirements of academic integrity, and the extent of the breach. The relevant Faculty committee will determine either: (a) that the student has not breached the requirements of academic integrity; or (b) that the student has breached the requirements of academic integrity, but that it is not in respect of a substantial component of the thesis; or (c) that the student has breached the requirements of academic integrity, and that it is in respect of a substantial component of the thesis.

4.3.4  If the relevant Faculty committee determines that the student has breached the requirements of academic integrity but not in respect of a substantial component of the thesis ((b) above), the relevant Faculty committee will determine the outcome of examination in accordance with the procedures of the relevant policies. However, the relevant Faculty committee may not recommend that the degree be awarded without requiring that thesis amendments be made. A record of the nature of the breach and the action taken will be made in the confidential register using the specified form.

4.3.5  If the relevant Faculty committee determines that the student has breached the requirements of academic integrity, and that it is in respect to a substantial component of the thesis ((c) above):

  • the examination of the thesis will not proceed;
  • the student's candidature will be terminated; and
  • the student will not be allowed to present for the degree again.

The matter may also be referred to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students) to be dealt with under Statute 6.4 Student Conduct. A record of the nature of the breach and the action taken will be made in the confidential register using the specified form

4.3.6  The Secretary of the relevant Faculty committee will provide in writing to the student:

  • a summary of the interview or alternative process;
  • the decision;
  • the reasons for the decision;
  • advice that the student's name has been included in the confidential register;
  • a copy of any information placed in the confidential register; and
  • advice of the right to lodge an appeal if the student believes there are grounds for appeal, including information on the procedures, specified in Clause 5 below, to be followed in lodging an appeal to the Student Appeals Committee.

4.3.7  The Secretary of the relevant Faculty committee will advise the examiners of the outcome.

4.4  Breaches of the requirements of academic integrity with respect to a research higher degree  - allegations by examiners of theses.

The following procedures will apply when one or both examiners of a thesis allege that a student has breached the requirements of academic integrity.
 
4.4.1  After receiving a report of an alleged breach of the requirements of academic integrity, the University Research Higher Degrees Committee will inform the student in writing of the allegation and provide the supervisor and student with copies of the examiners' report(s) and any other evidence of the alleged breach in writing. In this process the examiners' identities shall not be revealed to the student.


4.4.2  The Chair of the University Research Higher Degrees Committee will ensure that a check is made of the confidential register to determine if the student has been reported as having previously breached the requirements of academic integrity. The committee will seek written comments from the student and the supervisor on the examiners' report(s) and will contact the student by the most appropriate means to conduct an interview. If the student is unable to attend an interview, an alternative process will be put in place. The committee may choose to delegate the responsibility to interview the student to a sub-committee. The student may be accompanied at the interview by a student or staff member of the University or an employee of the Flinders University Student Association. Should the student refuse to attend the interview or participate in an alternative process, the committee will determine, on the evidence available, what recommendation to make in accordance with sub-clause 4.4.3 below. The committee may seek from the examiners clarification of the examiners' comments.

4.4.3  The University Research Higher Degrees Committee will determine whether the student has breached the requirements of academic integrity, and the extent of the breach. The committee will determine either: (a) that the student has not breached the requirements of academic integrity; or (b) that the student has breached the requirements of academic integrity, but that it is not in respect of a substantial component of the thesis; or (c) that the student has breached the requirements of academic integrity, and that it is in respect of a substantial component of the thesis.

4.4.4  If the University Research Higher Degree Committee determines that the student has breached the requirements of academic integrity but not in respect of a substantial component of the thesis ((b) above), the committee will determine the outcome of examination in accordance with the procedures of the relevant policies. However, the committee may not recommend that the degree be awarded without requiring that thesis amendments be made. A record of the nature of the breach and the action taken will be made in the confidential register using the specified form.

4.4.5  If the University Research Higher Degrees Committee determines that the student has breached the requirements of academic integrity, and that it is in respect to a substantial component of the thesis ((c) above):

  •   the examination of the thesis will not proceed;
  •   the student's candidature will be terminated; and
  •   the student will not be allowed to present for the degree again.

The matter may also be referred to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students) to be dealt with under Statute 6.4 Student Conduct. A record of the nature of the breach and the action taken will be made in the confidential register using the specified form.

4.4.6  The University Research Higher Degrees committee will provide in writing to the student:

  •   a summary of the interview or alternative process;
  •   the decision;
  •   the reasons for the decision;
  •   advice that the student's name has been included in the confidential register;
  •   a copy of any information placed in the confidential register; and
  •   advice of the right to lodge an appeal if the student believes there are grounds for  appeal, including information on the procedures, specified in Clause 5 below, to be  followed in lodging an appeal to the Student Appeals Committee.

4.4.7  The University Research Higher Degrees Committee will advise the examiners of the outcome.

4.5  Breaches of the requirements of academic integrity in examinations

When a student is alleged to have breached the requirements of academic integrity in an examination, the procedures to be followed will be:

4.4.1  At the discretion of the Chief Examination Supervisor, the student will be dismissed from the examination room.

4.4.2  A written report of the incident will be provided to the Dean of the relevant School by the Chief Examination Supervisor. The student will be provided with a copy of the report and any other evidence of the alleged breach in writing and advised of the possible action that may follow.

4.4.3  After receiving a report of an alleged breach of academic integrity in an examination, the Dean of the School (or nominee) will ensure that a check is made of the confidential register to determine if the student has been reported as having previously breached the requirements of academic integrity. The Dean of the School (or nominee) will contact the student by the most appropriate means to conduct an interview. If the student is unable to attend an interview, an alternative process will be put in place. The student may be accompanied at the interview by a staff or student member of the University or an employee of the student associations. Where the student is unable to attend the interview, an alternative means of support may be put in place. If the student refuses to attend the interview or participate in an alternative process, the Dean of the School (or nominee) will proceed to determine, on the evidence available, what action to take in accordance with sub-clause 4.4.4 below.

4.4.4  If the Dean of the School (or nominee) determines that the student has breached the requirements of academic integrity, one of the following courses of action may be selected, taking into account the extent of the breach, information in the confidential register and whether or not there are significant extenuating circumstances:

  • award zero marks for the examination; or
  • award a Fail grade for the whole topic of which the examination is a part, and, recommend to the Examinations Board if special/supplementary assessment is to be awarded; or
  • refer the matter to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students) to be dealt with under Statute 6.4 Student Conduct (refer to Clause 4 Lodgement of a Complaint in the Policy and Procedures for handling a matter under Statute 6.4:  Student Conduct). 

A record of the nature of the breach and the action taken will be made in the confidential register using the specified form

4.4.5  The Dean of the School (or nominee) will provide in writing to the student:

  • a summary of the interview or alternative process;
  • the decision;
  • the reasons for the decision;
  • advice that the student's name has been included in the confidential register;
  • a copy of any information placed in the confidential register; and
  • advice of the right to lodge an appeal if the student believes there are grounds for appeal, including information on the procedures, specified in Clause 5 below, to be followed in lodging an appeal to the Student Appeals Committee.

 

5.  Appeals

5.1  A student who wishes to appeal against the action taken against them by a School Dean (or nominee) or a relevant Faculty committee, as the result of an allegation of a breach of the requirements of academic integrity, may appeal to the Student Appeals Committee unless the matter has been referred to the Vice-Chancellor under the terms of Statute 6.4 Student Conduct in which case the provisions of that statute apply.

5.2  An appeal to the Student Appeals Committee must be lodged with the  Manager, Student Policy and Projects within 20 working days of the date of the notification of the decision. Such an appeal may only be made on one or more of the following grounds: the appropriate policy was not adhered to or correct procedures were not followed in considering the matter; the decision was made without due regard to facts, evidence or circumstances; the action taken was too harsh.

The Manager, Student Policy and Projects will acknowledge receipt of the appeal within 5 working days.

5.3  The appeal must: be accompanied by a copy of the letter which the student has received from the Dean of the School (or nominee) or relevant Faculty committee about the decision made as a result of the allegation of a breach of the requirements of academic integrity; indicate the grounds for the appeal and provide evidence in support of the case for the appeal; and specify what outcome is being sought.

5.4  All other matters relevant to an appeal and its conduct will be governed by the provisions of the Students Appeals and Complaints Policy and Procedures.

 

6.  Recording of breaches of this policy

6.1  A confidential register will be maintained by the Director, Student Administration.

6.2  Assessors, School Deans (or nominees), or relevant Faculty committees, must inform the Manager, Student Policy and Projects, using the specified form, of all breaches of the requirements of academic integrity which are reported to them under the provisions of Clauses 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 and 4.4 above and which have been substantiated.

6.3  The Manager, Student Policy and Projects will ensure that the information detailed in the form is recorded in the confidential register.
 
6.4  The secretary to the Student Appeals Committee or of any committee or board set up under the provisions of Statute 6.4 Student Conduct must ensure that the record in the confidential register of breaches of the requirements of academic integrity reflects the outcome of an appeal.

6.5  Where an allegation of a breach of the requirements of academic integrity is found to be substantiated this information will not be printed on student academic transcripts.

6.6  Requests from staff for information contained in the confidential register will be made in writing to the Manager, Student Policy and Projects.

6.7  Students will be entitled to have access to any entries relating to them in the confidential register.