Academic Integrity

As a student, academic integrity essentially means doing your work in an honest way and submitting your own work for assessment.

The University has a policy covering academic integrity and all students are required to follow these standards: http://www.flinders.edu.au/ppmanual/student/academic-integrity.cfm

Breaching academic integrity means that one has stepped outside these standards. This might be accidental and result from inexperience or a lack of understanding of the conventions, or it might be deliberate, in which case the consequences may more severe – the policy covers both.

What’s the difference between academic integrity and plagiarism?

Plagiarism means taking all or part of someone else’s work, or even their ideas, and presenting it in your assignment or thesis as if it was your own work.

Plagiarism is one kind of breach of academic integrity, but the University’s policy on academic integrity also deals with other issues, including:

  • Collusion: working with someone on an assignment when you were meant to work independently, and then both submitting a slightly dissimilar piece of work;
  • Falsification or fabrication: for example, making up data for an assignment, falsifying documents such as a medical certificate to get an extension, or getting someone else to write an assignment for you;
  • Not following exam rules.

Help! I’ve been accused of breaching academic integrity. What happens now?

This depends on the circumstances.

For an accidental breach, you might receive counselling from the member of staff who assessed your work. They will help you to understand how to avoid the same problem in future. You might also be required to do the piece of work again (best case scenario).

If the breach is serious, or if you have been accused of breaching academic integrity before, the Dean of the School is informed and you will be called in for a meeting. Consequences could include:

  • being asked to resubmit the piece of work
  • receiving a zero for the assignment
  • receiving a zero for the topic
  • having the issue referred to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) to be dealt with under the Student Conduct

Another consequence of any breach is that your name, along with the circumstances and outcome, will be placed on a confidential register that is accessible only to academic staff. This does not go on your transcript, but a member of staff will check the register as soon as they suspect you have breached academic integrity.

Naturally, students have opportunities to explain their case in this process. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome, you can dispute it by lodging an appeal with the Student Appeals Committee within 20 days of the decision.

Student Assist is able to guide you through the process; clarify policy and procedures; help you build a case; and sometimes attend meetings with the Dean’s nominee along with you. Please, note that we cannot guarantee we will always be available to attend these meetings with you. We encourage you to contact us as soon as you hear from the academics involved and to give us at least a 5-working day notice to maximise your chances of having a Student Assist staff at the meeting. You can always take a friend, relative or academic staff to the meeting as your support person in any case, as per University policies.