plagiarism and collusion

what is plagiarism?

The university policy defines plagiarism as:

(a) The reproduction without acknowledgement, of work (including the work of fellow students), published or un-published, either verbatim or in close paraphrase. In this context, the work of others includes material downloaded from computer files and the internet, discussions in seminars, ideas, text and diagrams from lecture hand-outs.

(b) Poor academic practice which is unintentional.

(c) The reproduction, without acknowledgement, of a student’s own previously submitted work.

Plagiarism can happen in ‘open-book’ examinations and/or coursework assessments including essays, reports, presentations, dissertations and projects.

what is collusion?

Collusion is a form of plagiarism involving unauthorised co-operation between at least two people. It does not include assessments which are designed to be collaborative that are undertaken in line with published requirements. The university policy says that collusion can take the following forms:

(a) The conspiring by two or more students to produce a piece of work together with the intention that at least one passes it off as his or her own work.

(b) The submission by a student of the work of another student, in circumstances where the latter has willingly lent the former the work and where it should be evident that the recipient of the work is likely to submit it as their own. In this case both students are guilty of collusion.

(c) Unauthorised co-operation between a student and another person in the preparation and production of work which is presented as the student’s own.

(d) The commissioning and submission of work as the student’s own where the student has purchased or solicited another individual to produce work on the student’s behalf. This would include submitting an essay downloaded from an ‘essay mill’ or commissioning someone to write your essay for you.

The university uses plagiarism detection software called ‘Turnitin’ to investigate suspected cases of plagiarism/collusion.

what happens if you are accused of plagiarism and/or collusion?

If a marker suspects Plagiarism or Collusion they will continue to mark the work as if it is not plagiarised. They will keep a separate copy of the annotated work as evidence and collect evidence for the school Plagiarism officer (“PO”) to review. Evidence could include the original material which has been used or copied and/or a report from ‘Turnitin’.

The PO may look at other work you have completed on your course.

The PO then reviews the evidence and decides whether the plagiarism is of a low, medium or high level.

In low-level cases the PO may decide not to call a meeting and will instead suggest an appropriate learning package. You can still request a meeting if you would prefer.

If the level is classified as medium or high level, you will receive a letter inviting you to a plagiarism meeting to consider your case. With this letter you will usually receive a copy of the ‘Turnitin’ report and an annotated copy of the work in question so that you can see the areas of concern.

how can advice(su) help me?

Our advice team have are experienced and have a wealth of knowledge in supporting students who have been called to a plagiarism/collusion meeting. 

In your appointment, your advice worker will discuss with you all of the options open to you and provide you with their advice on what course of action you should take. They can support you in during any meetings and help you find the right language to respond to concerns raised . You do not have to face this alone - we are here for you.

You can find our full guide to plagiarism and collusion here.

The full university policy can be found here.

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