'Joining an academic community is like joining a conversation that started before you got there – and will carry on after you have left.'
(Burns & Sinfield 2012, p. 29)
All Deakin students must act in an honest and fair way when submitting assignments, which includes acknowledging all sources appropriately. This is often referred to as academic integrity, and is one of your responsibilities as a Deakin student.
The development of academic knowledge relies on building on the work of others and acknowledging your sources. Through referencing, you as a student writer are able to demonstrate the depth and breadth of the research you have undertaken within your subject. Your argument is strengthened when you can demonstrate that you have convincingly drawn on and acknowledged the work of experts in your discipline. Using material without proper acknowledgement is considered intellectual theft.
Plagiarism and collusion
Academic misconduct includes plagiarism and collusion – that is, any act where the honesty, reliability or integrity of a work has been compromised.
- Plagiarism is the use of other authors' words, ideas, materials or research findings without proper acknowledgement of the source. Plagiarism can be intentional (deliberate cheating) or unintentional (happen accidentally).
- Collusion is deliberately acting with someone to cheat by submitting their work, or part of it, as your own. You cannot help another student with their work, unless it is an approved group assignment. It also is unacceptable to submit the work, or part of a work, of someone who studied the subject previously, even with their permission.
Submitting any work that has been written by another person without acknowledgement, including work that has been purchased, is a serious offence at Deakin and may incur penalties by the University.
Plagiarism can also occur when sources are not adequately or appropriately referenced. It is necessary to correctly reference all sources – this includes words and ideas, facts, materials, images, graphs, videos, websites, statistics, experiment results and data. It is also very important to understand how to incorporate direct quotes, paraphrases and summaries into your assignment.
How can plagiarism occur?
While some plagiarism is intentional, it can also be unintentional – this can arise from an incomplete understanding by student writers of the academic requirements of referencing. Poor note-taking skills and carelessness can also contribute to unintentional plagiarism. It is important to understand that even unintentional plagiarism can have very serious consequences.
- Learn more about note-taking strategies in UniStart.
- Complete the Academic Integrity self assessment in UniStart.
How is plagiarism detected at Deakin?
The ease with which material can be accessed online and the increased marketing of assignment materials to students has resulted in an increased concern about students plagiarising the work of others for assignments. However, at the same time, plagiarism is becoming easier to detect and software programs are available that can effectively help to identify plagiarised material.
Deakin University uses Turnitin, a software program that can assist in identifying where plagiarism may have occurred. Turnitin detects similarities in wording between assignments submitted and the program's database of published material.
What are the consequences of plagiarism?
Current consequences of plagiarism and/or collusion can include:
- a reprimand
- a fine
- an allocation of a zero mark for the task/unit or another such mark, as appropriate
- a suspension from studies.
You need to be aware of Deakin University's policy on plagiarism and collusion as well as the disciplinary consequences. For further details, see the Deakin student guide on academic misconduct.
Can I re-use my own work?
Deakin students are not permitted to re-use their assessment work, or parts of assessment work, without the approval of the unit chair of their current unit. This includes work submitted for assessment at another academic institution. If students wish to re-use or extend parts of previously submitted work, then they should discuss this with the unit chair prior to the submission date. Depending on the nature of the task, the unit chair may permit or decline the request.
Can someone else edit my assignment?
Students are advised to self-edit their assignments. This is an important skill in academic writing, for writing at work, and for all types of writing. Students can get assistance on specific questions about language and editing techniques from Language and Learning Advisers, and Writing Mentors.
Coursework students are advised not to hire an editor for any purpose, and under no circumstances should any Deakin student hire an editor to do a significant edit of their work. This would be an example of collusion, which carries significant penalties at Deakin.
Sometimes an HDR student may hire an editor to proofread their thesis, which would involve only corrections to spelling and grammar. HDR students should consult their Faculty for further information.
My academic integrity checklist
Student guide to copyright
You should always cite material that is not your own. If you intend to share your assessment online with others, publish or make it publicly available, then you may also need permission from the creators of the material that you don't own.
For example, if you make your Deakin portfolio publicly available, did you know that you may need to first seek permission for any substantial quotes (substantial can refer to quality or quantity) or copies of online images?
This student guide to Using content in your assessments and portfolios (PDF 716 KB) provides information on:
- what is 'substantial'
- what is a 'fair and reasonable' amount to reproduce
- how to seek permission
- what students can use without permission, including work with Creative Commons licences
- creating your own content and copyright.
For further information on copyright and blogging see:
- Copyright and blogging - quick guide (PDF 285 KB)
- Copyright and blogging - comprehensive guide (PDF 1.5 MB)
- Copyright and your thesis - quick guide (PDF 287 KB)
- Copyright and your thesis - comprehensive guide (PDF 1.8 MB)
If you have further questions after reading these guides, contact the Deakin University Copyright Office: firstname.lastname@example.org
Burns, T & Sinfield, S 2012, Essential study skills: the complete guide to success at university, Sage, London.