Plagiarism policy for non-matriculated students

Plagiarism is defined as submitting as one’s own work, irrespective of intent to deceive, that which derives in part or in its entirety from the work of others without due acknowledgement. It is both poor scholarship and a breach of academic integrity.

Examples of plagiarism include copying (using another person’s language and/or ideas as if they are your own), by:

  • quoting verbatim another person’s work without due acknowledgement of the source;
  • paraphrasing another person’s work by changing some of the words, or the order of the words, without due acknowledgement of the source;
  • using ideas taken from someone else without reference to the originator;
  • cutting and pasting from the Internet to make a pastiche of online sources;
  • submitting someone else’s work as part of your own without identifying clearly who did the work. For example, buying or commissioning the work via professional agencies such as ‘essay banks’ or ‘paper mills’, or not attributing research contributed by others to a joint project.

Plagiarism might also arise from colluding with another person, including another student, other than as permitted for joint project work (i.e. where collaboration is concealed or has been forbidden). You should include a general acknowledgement where you have received substantial help, for example with the language and style of a piece of written work.

Plagiarism can occur in respect to all types of sources and media:

  • text, illustrations, musical quotations, mathematical derivations, computer code, etc.;
  • material downloaded from websites or drawn from manuscripts or other media;
  • published and unpublished material, including lecture handouts and other students’ work.

All sources must be fully referenced.

If other people’s ideas are used, they must be acknowledged. Quotation marks must be used to cite the words of others, whether written or spoken, and a footnote or reference (see below) should be added, in the assignment text, to accompany the quotation and indicate from where it is taken. If an idea generated by someone else is cited, it should be referenced in the same way. Similarly, if an illustration is included from another source, or someone else’s data is included in a graph or table, the source must be acknowledged. If information is obtained and used from a web source on the internet, the source must be referenced.

Students must reference their own pre-existing work in the same way as you would if it were sourced from another author.

Guidance relating to the avoidance of plagiarism is available from: www.admin.cam.ac.uk/univ/plagiarism/students/

References and bibliographies

Acceptable means of acknowledging the work of others (by referencing, in footnotes, or otherwise) vary according to the subject matter and mode of assessment, so you should refer to the guidance materials available on the ICE VLE that relate to the relevant scholarly conventions for the particular subject area of study. You should ask their tutor if a paper copy of this guidance is required. You are required to familiarise yourself with the guidance on referencing and good academic practice, to follow it in all works submitted for assessment and will be required to submit a declaration to that effect.

Undergraduate Advanced Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma and Master of Studies students are asked to follow the more comprehensive guidance in their programme handbooks. Some professional programmes have specific professional presentation requirements.

Turnitin UK text-matching software: ICE terms of use

1. Introduction

The University subscribes to Turnitin UK software which is widely used in UK universities and matches text in work submitted to that in a large database of online sources. This section explains how Turnitin UK will be used by the Institute of Continuing Education and explains the implications of submitting your work to the software.

When submitting assignments students will be asked to confirm that they have read and understand this information and that they consent to their work being submitted to Turnitin UK as described in this section. Without a student's confirmation ICE cannot submit their work to the software.

Students are reminded that Turnitin is only one method of checking the originality of their work. Examiners may initiate the standard investigative procedures if they have unresolved queries about the originality of a student's work, regardless of whether Turnitin has been used or whether it has substantiated any concerns.

ICE may decide to pursue a case where a student is suspected of plagiarism even where that student has not consented to the use of Turnitin. In such circumstances the student may be specifically asked again by ICE to consent to submission to Turnitin and a failure to consent will be provided as part of the evidence against him or her.

2. Plagiarism and good academic practice: student responsibilities

You should ensure that you are familiar with the guidance about referencing and good academic practice which is issued by the Institute and can be found in the Student Handbook and within the VLE in the Help and Guidance section. If, after reading the guidance, you have any outstanding queries you should seek clarification at the earliest opportunity from the Course Director. You should also familiarise yourself with the Institute’s statement on plagiarism (see above).

The following website features links to useful resources and guidance: www.admin.cam.ac.uk/univ/plagiarism/students/

3. About Turnitin UK soft-matching software

Turnitin UK is part of the JISC Plagiarism Advisory Service (JISCPAS). The University of Cambridge is the recognised Data Controller for the data held and processed by, or on behalf of, the service. An American company, iParadigms, is the Data Processor.

Turnitin UK may detect direct plagiarism, paraphrasing and collusion as submitted work is compared with a vast database of online material and with a ‘private’ database of previous submissions. Therefore, submitting work to the database helps to protect it from future attempts to plagiarise it, and helps to maintain the integrity of the University’s qualifications.

The software makes no judgement about whether a student has plagiarised; it simply shows the percentage of the submission that matches other sources and produces an originality report which highlights the text matches and, where possible, displays the matching text and its immediate context.

In many cases the software highlights correctly cited references or ‘innocent’ matches. Therefore, all originality reports will be carefully reviewed to determine whether the work does contain plagiarism.

4. How will Turnitin be used by ICE?

Work submitted for assessment will be subjected to blanket screening. The originality report issued by Turnitin UK is then scrutinized by the appropriate Academic Programme Manager. ICE has chosen blanket screening as the fairest process. The resulting originality report will only be referred to the Marker responsible for academic assessment of the work if there is prima facie evidence of plagiarism or faulty scholarship.

5. Will Turnitin UK affect a student's intellectual property rights or copyright?

The copyright and intellectual property rights of the submitted material remain wholly with the original owner (normally the student, with the exception of some collaborative or sponsored research projects). However, by signing the assignment declaration students are permitting Turnitin UK to:

  • reproduce a student's work to assess it for originality;
  • retain a copy of the student's work for comparison at a later date with future submissions.

6. Will a student's personal data be retained by Turnitin UK?

Materials submitted to Turnitin UK will be identified by a Turnitin reference number, course details and institution. Personal data will not be used.

7. What will happen if the text submitted by another student matches a student's work?

If a report generated by another institution identifies matches with a student's work the report will only show the extent of the match and the contact details of the University’s Turnitin UK Administrator. If approached, the Turnitin UK Administrator will attempt to contact the student about the matter. The contents of the student's work will not be revealed to a third party outside Cambridge without the student's permission.

If a match is found to material submitted from within the University, the moderators can obtain the full text without a student's permission.

8. How do students apply for their work to be removed from Turnitin UK?

Work submitted to Turnitin UK will be stored indefinitely on the Turnitin UK database unless a student specifically requests that it be removed. To maximise the effectiveness of the software it is hoped that such requests will be kept to a minimum. However, once examinations have been concluded, students may at any time contact the Assessment Standards Manager, asm@ice.cam.ac.uk, to request their work be removed.

Procedure for dealing with assignments found to contain unacknowledged materials

1. Assignments that have been flagged by Turnitin as having unacknowledged materials are returned to the Marker to re-mark. The Markers will assess the work according to the relevant marking scheme disregarding the suspect material so that the mark reflects the extent and academic merit of the material that they believe to be the student’s own work.

2. Once a mark for the original content has been assigned, the assignment and supporting documentation will be submitted to the ICE Assessment Standards Panel (consisting of the relevant Academic Director as Chair, the Assessment Standards Manager, the Marker, the Course Director, and the relevant Academic Programme Manager). The ICE Assessment Standards Panel will be tasked with making a decision as to whether the evidence available suggests that the unacknowledged materials are the result of poor/faulty scholarship, or whether a possible academic offence has been committed (i.e. a suspicion that the student intended to gain an unfair advantage).

3. If the decision of the ICE Assessment Standards Panel is that the unacknowledged work is the result of poor/faulty scholarship, the panel will then decide a mark reduction proportionate to the level of poor/faulty scholarship.

4. If the ICE Assessment Standards Panel believes that the unacknowledged material is not the result of faulty scholarship and that the student has possibly committed an academic offence (i.e. intended to gain an unfair advantage), the student will be contacted and invited to provide to the Panel, in person or in writing, a defence/explanation of the use of unacknowledged material. The ICE Assessment Standards Panel will then consider the case and come to one of the following conclusions:

i) No case to answer: the suspicions are unfounded

The Chair of the ICE Assessment Standards Panel will convey the outcome and the final mark to the student in writing.

ii) No intention to gain unfair advantage but evidence of poor scholarship

The Assessment Standards panel may modify the mark in light of the decision, by adjusting the mark downward proportionate to the level of poor/faulty scholarship.

iii) Unfair means suspected

Where it is evident that there was a deliberate attempt to gain an unfair advantage, or that the facts are unclear or disputed, or the offence is extensive, the Chair will refer the case and all supporting evidence to the Director of Teaching and Learning who will come to one of the following decisions:

1. Not to pursue the case

This may be because the student has failed, in which case the assessment process can be concluded. If the Director of Teaching and Learning decides not to pursue the case the decision is final. The Examiners must not substitute any suspicions of their own and are not empowered subsequently to impose any form of penalty.

2. To interview the student before determining whether the case should be pursued

3. To pursue the matter before the ICE Academic Operations Sub Committee for matters relating to examination and assignment submission

i) If the case is proved

The ICE Academic Operations Sub Committee will determine an appropriate penalty, which may include:

  • withdrawal from the course;
  • lowering the mark;
  • failure of the examination or assignment.

In the event that the student is withdrawn from the course, there will generally be no need for the academic assessment process to play any further part at this stage. However, a student who fails to be awarded the qualification as a result of these disciplinary proceedings may appeal in the normal way but going directly to the Director of Continuing Education (rather than first to the Director of Teaching and Learning).

ii) If the case is not proved

The academic assessment process can conclude on the basis that there is no question of the student intending to use unfair means. Those involved in the process must take care to avoid substituting suspicions of their own or of the examiners in place of the decision of the Director of Teaching and Learning or the ICE Academic Operations Sub Committee.