UNSW has an ongoing commitment to fostering a culture of learning informed by academic integrity. All UNSW staff and students have a responsibility to adhere to this principle of academic integrity. Plagiarism undermines academic integrity and isn’t tolerated at UNSW.
Depending on the level of seriousness, plagiarism can be viewed at UNSW as a form of academic misconduct and is treated seriously. The following describes what plagiarism is and where you can obtain additional information about it. It’s part of your responsibility as a student of UNSW to ensure that you understand what plagiarism is, so you can avoid it in your assignments and other academic work.
Plagiarism is defined as “using the words or ideas of others and passing them off as your own”. Plagiarism is a type of intellectual theft. It can take many forms, from deliberate cheating to accidentally copying from a source without proper acknowledgement. UNSW groups plagiarism into the following categories:
Further information can be found in the UNSW Plagiarism Policy.
UNSW categorises plagiarism into the following categories: ‘Poor Scholarship’, ‘Minor Plagiarism’, ‘Moderate Plagiarism’, ‘Significant’ Plagiarism’ and ‘Serious Plagiarism’. In many cases, ‘Poor Scholarship’ and ‘Minor Plagiarism’ are the result of inexperience or poor academic skills, rather than the deliberate intention to deceive. However, the same penalties may apply for plagiarism related to inexperience in scholarly writing and referencing requirements. As postgraduate students, it’s your responsibility to ensure all work submitted complies with the rules of student conduct and academic integrity. The university has adopted an educative approach to plagiarism and developed a range of resources to support students, which are outlined below.
Procedures are in place that are categorised as 'Poor Scholarship’, ‘Minor Plagiarism’, ‘Moderate Plagiarism’ and ‘Significant Plagiarism’, based on the extent and seriousness of the case. Allegations at these levels are addressed at the school level by your Program Directors, who are nominated School Student Integrity Advisers. If the allegation is substantiated, the student is placed on the UNSW Plagiarism Register and penalties may apply. Any Serious Plagiarism case is considered serious student misconduct and is referred to the UNSW Conduct and Integrity Office for investigation and determination.
All cases of plagiarism require educative action and referral to the Student Academic and Career Success. Penalties may also apply, based on the level of plagiarism and previous history of the student. These range from a reduction in marks through to failing a course, or for more serious matters, suspension or exclusion from the University. Multiple instances of substantiated poor scholarship and plagiarism are managed by the UNSW Conduct and Integrity Office and may be a breach of the UNSW Student Code of Conduct. For more information on plagiarism and academic misconduct, refer to UNSW Student Misconduct Procedures and UNSW Plagiarism Management Procedure.
At the School of Population Health, we have developed guidelines for students to inform you of the procedures considered appropriate for our postgraduate coursework students. The following outline the responsibilities for you as a student at the SPH as well as the responsibilities of the course convenors and Program Directors when managing plagiarism.
Submitting assignments: When you submit your assignments on Moodle, you submit through Turnitin. Turnitin is a similarity detection software that enables assignments to be checked for plagiarism including improper citation or misappropriated content. Each assignment submitted to Turnitin is checked against the submitted assignments of other students as well as the internet and key resources selected by the course convenor.
The Turnitin originality report is an indication similarity of your assignment to other students work as well as online sources and peer-reviewed literature. The percentage similarity isn’t a reliable indicator of plagiarism (i.e. there’s no cut off), but assists the marker in identifying passages of text that are similar to other published works. The Turnitin originality report is just one tool course convenors use to determine if the assessment you submitted is your own work and whether you have appropriately acknowledged your sources. It’s important for you to understand how you can use Turnitin as a tool to self-manage plagiarism.
The role of the course convenor: It’s the course covenor’s responsibility to review all submitted assignments for evidence of plagiarism prior to commencing marking. All suspected assignments are notified to the relevant Program Director. The suspected assignments are not graded until the investigation is finalised.
The role of Program Directors: It’s the responsibility of Program Directors to investigate and make decisions on all allegations of plagiarism for students undertaking coursework within the school. All students for which allegations arise are required to meet with a Program Director to discuss their case. Program Directors will then determine the appropriate plagiarism level, penalties and requirements for resubmission of the assessment. Program Directors are also responsible for registering all substantiated cases of plagiarism with the UNSW Conduct and Integrity Office.
What can I expect if my assessment is suspected of plagiarism?
Confidentiality: All cases of suspected and substantiated plagiarism are confidential. The UNSW Student Plagiarism Register is a confidential database managed by the UNSW Conduct and Integrity Officer.
This site aims to address three issues that often result in plagiarism: unfamiliarity with the concept of plagiarism, knowing how it occurs and developing the necessary academic skills to avoid plagiarism. As a student, you’ll be able to use this collection of resources (worked examples, activities and links) to improve your all-round academic literacy and, consequently, reduce the possibilities for plagiarism. More information is available on the UNSW Academic & Plagiarism Integrity site.
The Student Academic and Career Success academic skills support hub provides a range of programs and resources for students including website materials, workshops, individual tuition and online tutorials to aid students in:
ELISE (Enabling Library & Information Skills for Everyone) is an online tutorial to help you understand how to find and use information for your assignments or research. It will also help you understand plagiarism and how to avoid it. The ELISE Study Skills tutorials are highly recommended to postgraduate students in their first term of study.
The UNSW Student Code provides a framework for the standard of conduct expected of UNSW students with respect to their academic integrity and behaviour. It outlines the primary obligations of students, and directs staff and students to the Code and related procedures.