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Institute of Continuing Education

Plagiarism means submitting someone else's work as your own without due acknowledgement. If you are a student on an award-bearing course, you must read and abide by the University's plagiarism policy.

What is plagiarism?

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; or, in the case of self-plagarism, unless explicitly permitted by regulation, submitting one's own work that has already been submitted for assessment to satisfy the requirements of any other academic qualification, or submitted for publication without due acknowledgment. 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 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  • published and unpublished material, including lecture handouts and other students’ work. 

Acceptable means of acknowledging the work of others (by referencing, in footnotes, or otherwise) is an essential component of any work submitted for assessment, whether written examination, dissertation, essay, registration exercise or group course work. The most appropriate method for attribution of others’ work may vary according to the subject matter and mode of assessment.  The Course Director will provide guidance on the relevant scholarly convention for submitted work at the start of your course.

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 should be added in the assignment text to accompany the quotation and indicate from where it is taken (see below). 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.

Self-plagiarism

You may only submit an assignment for formal assessment once. Assignments that have previously been submitted to ICE or to another higher education institution for formal assessment should not be submitted. Self-plagiarism occurs when the same piece of work (or a significant part thereof) is submitted for formal assessment twice.

If you do cite small sections of your own pre-existing work, you must reference it in the same way as if it were sourced from another author.

You are responsible for ensuring that you have read and understood the Institute’s plagiarism guidance above and follow it in all work submitted for assessment.

If, after reading the guidance, you have any outstanding queries you should seek clarification at the earliest opportunity from the Course Director.

All assignments submitted for assessment are screened using the text-matching software Turnitin.

Failure to conform to the expected standards of scholarship (e.g. by not referencing sources) in work submitted for assessment will be investigated by the ICE Assessment Standards Panel and may affect the mark given to your work. In addition, suspected cases of the use of unfair means (of which plagiarism is one form) may be subject to further disciplinary action.

This guidance is also given in the ICE virtual learning environment (VLE), in your course space.

References and bibliographies

You must familiarise yourself with the guidance on referencing and good academic practice in your programme, and follow it in all work submitted for assessment.

Acceptable means of acknowledging the work of others (by referencing, in footnotes, or otherwise) may 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 submitting work in a particular subject area of study. If a paper copy of this guidance is required, you should ask your Course Director. 

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

All assignments submitted are screened by the text matching/plagiarism detection software Turnitin.

Introduction

The University of Cambridge subscribes to Turnitin UK text-matching software, which is widely used in UK universities and matches text of submitted work to sources in its database, which is made up of internet content, selected journals, and previous student submissions.

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 matches may indicate wider concerns around poor scholarly technique or an attempt to gain unfair advantage, and whether any further action should be taken.

How will Turnitin be used by ICE?

Work submitted to ICE for assessment will be subjected to blanket screening. The originality report issued by Turnitin UK is then scrutinised by the Head of Academic Centre Administration for your course, to determine whether further action may be necessary. We have chosen blanket screening as the fairest process. The resulting originality report will normally only be referred to ICE's Assessment Standards Panel if there is evidence of suspected plagiarism or faulty scholarship.

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

Use of Turnitin UK complies with UK Copyright and Data Protection Laws. Submission to Turnitin does not affect your ownership of the work; the copyright and intellectual property of all work remains with the original owner (normally the student, with the exception of some sponsored research projects). No personal or sensitive data will be transmitted.

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. Therefore, personal data, such your name, will not be used.

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 of Cambridge's Turnitin UK Administrator. If approached, the Turnitin UK Administrator may attempt to contact you about the matter. The content of your work will not normally be revealed to a third party outside the University of Cambridge without your express permission.

If a match is found with material submitted from within the University, the reviewers can obtain the full text without your permission.

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. Retaining your work on the database will help to ensure that your work remains protected from future attempts to plagiarise it; will help maintain the integrity of the University of Cambridge’s qualifications; and will maximise the effectiveness of the software, therefore it is hoped that such requests will be kept to a minimum. However, once moderation has been concluded, students may at any time contact the Head of Academic Centre Administration for their course, to request that their work be removed.

Queries about ICE's use of Turnitin UK should be addressed in the first instance to the Course Director or Academic Director.

You are reminded that Turnitin is only one method of checking the originality of your work. Examiners may initiate the standard investigative procedures if they have unresolved queries about the originality of your work.

Students are responsible for ensuring they have read and understood our policy on plagiarism and the information above on Turnitin.

Sources of further information and support:

The University's plagiarism website: www.cam.ac.uk/plagiarism

Turnitin UK's website: www.turnitinuk.com

Procedure for dealing with assignments found to contain unacknowledged materials

Assignments that have been identified in Turnitin as having unacknowledged materials will be submitted to the ICE Assessment Standards Panel (consisting of a member of academic staff as Chair, the relevant Academic Director, the Marker, the Course Director, and the relevant Head of Academic Centre Administration). The 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. In making their decision the Panel may invite you to an interview.

If the decision of the Assessment Standards Panel is that the unacknowledged work is the result of poor/faulty scholarship, the Panel will then decide on a mark reduction proportionate to the level of poor/faulty scholarship scholarship (that does not introduce a punitive element). The Panel may decide to refer the work back to the tutor to be remarked, based on original content only. The Head of Academic Centre Administration will communicate the final mark to you.

If the Assessment Standards Panel believes that the unacknowledged material is not the result of faulty scholarship and that you possibly committed an academic offence, you will be contacted and invited to provide to the Panel, in person or in writing, a defence/explanation of the use of unacknowledged material. You may also be invited to attend an interview. The 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 Assessment Standards Panel (or delegate) will convey the outcome and the final mark to you in writing.

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

The Panel may modify the mark in light of the decision.

The Chair of the Panel (or delegate) will convey the outcome and the final mark to you in writing.

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, the Chair will refer the case and all supporting evidence to the Director of Academic Centres (or delegate) who will come to one of the following decisions:

  1. Not to pursue the case
  2. To apply an appropriate penalty, which may include:
    • withdrawal from the course;
    • lowering the mark;
    • failure of the examination or assignment.
  3. If the case is not proved, to conclude the academic assessment process on the basis that there is no question of you intending to use unfair means.

The Director of Academic Centres (or delegate) will convey the outcome to you in writing.

Review stage

Following the Assessment Standard Panel’s decision, if you remain dissatisfied with the outcome, you may request a review by contacting the Quality Governance Manager at qa@ice.cam.ac.uk within 14 working days of receiving the decision. The Quality Governance Manager will allocate an independent ICE Reviewer to consider the case.

The review will not usually consider issues afresh or involve a further investigation. The procedure allows for a decision to be reviewed on the following grounds:

  1. Procedural irregularities that occurred during the decision-making process, which were material or potentially material to the decision reached; and/or

  2. The decision is unreasonable, in that no reasonable person could have reached the same decision on the available evidence; and/or

  3. The availability of new evidence, which materially impacts the outcome and which, for valid reasons, could not have been submitted at an earlier stage.

The Reviewer will convey the outcome to you in writing within 14 working days of receiving the request, unless stated otherwise.

Course type: 
Part-time Master's Degree
Postgraduate Certificate/Diploma
Undergraduate Certificate/Diploma
Topic: 
Assessment
Plagiarism
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