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Academic Integrity: Unit 1. Academic Integrity - An Overview

Defining Academic Integrity

Defining Integrity: Merriam-Webster defines integrity as “the quality of being honest and fair.” The student handbook at M.I.T. states that “honesty is the foundation of good academic work.”

Defining Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty subverts both the purpose of the College and the experience students derive from being at Iona. It includes offenses which harm the offender and the students who do not cheat. The Iona community, therefore, pledges itself to do all in its power to prevent academic dishonesty, and to impose impartial sanctions upon those who harm themselves, their fellow students, and the entire Iona community by academic dishonesty. (Source: Iona College Student Handbook)

Cartoon strip that says that copying without permission is stealing.

Paley [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Examples of Academic Dishonesty

The Iona College Handbook recognizes the following activities as examples of academic dishonesty:

  • Cheating
  • Plagiarism
  • Fabricating or falsifying information
  • Collusion

In addition, the following activities also comprise academic dishonesty:

  • Sabotage
  • Theft of Intellectual Property
  • Computer Misuse

Cheating

Cheating: UC Berkeley defines cheating as
“fraud, deceit, or dishonesty in an academic assignment, or using or attempting to use materials, or assisting others in using materials that are prohibited or inappropriate in the context of the academic assignment in question.”

Examples of cheating include:

  • Using a study aid when all types of additional aids are prohibited during an exam.
  • Attempting to look at another student’s paper during the exam process.
  • Using a cell phone calculator when prohibited during the exam by the instructor.

This cartoon strip features a cat who wants to use a ten page research paper he wrote last year for another class. This is dishonest.

What the cat in the storyboard above planned to do is not only a form of cheating, but also a form of plagiarism called "self-plagiarism" also known as text-recycling. "The concept of ethical writing entails an implicit contract between reader and writer whereby the reader assumes, unless otherwise noted, that the material was written by the author, is new, is original and is accurate to the best of the author’s abilities." (Source: "Self Plagiarism: Avoiding Plagiarism, Self-plagiarism, and Other Questionable Writing Practices: A Guide to Ethical Writing." Ori.hhs.gov/. US Department of Health & Human Services Office of Research Integrity, 06 June 2011. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.)

Plagiarism

Plagiarism: The act of plagiarism involving taking ideas, passages of work and direct quotations and not crediting the source. Therefore, the words and ideas are passed off as one’s own. These acts can be done either intentionally or carelessly.

Examples of plagiarism include:

  • Copying whole passages from journal articles, books and other sources without citing the original author.
  • Representing an original idea as one’s own.
  • Purchasing a term paper online and submitting as one’s own.
  • Failing to attribute research that is not common knowledge (e.g.; Christmas is December 25 of each year is common knowledge).
  • Taking a direct quote and failing to put quotations around the sentence(s).

 

Fabrication or Falsification of Information

Fabrication or falsification of information: Fabrication is the invention of research and related sources for an academic assignment or exam. Falsification of information involves altering research or a source.

Examples of fabrication include:

  • Inventing facts or sources to include in an academic paper.

Examples of falsification include:

  • Forging a letter of recommendation from a professor.
  • Altering a grade in any way.

Sabotage

Sabotage: Deliberately destroying or subverting another’s work so that he or she is unable to complete an assignment, paper, or exam successfully.

Examples of sabotage include:

  • Destroying pages from library sources such as books and periodicals.
  • Failing to contribute to a collaborative group project.
  • Contaminating laboratory samples and experiments.

 

Collusion

Collusion is widely described as the collaboration of two or more students to commit academic misconduct. Below are two examples of collusion:

  • Three students are assigned to work together on a group project and together decide to copy an entire paragraph from an Internet resource without citing the original source because they plan to claim the idea as their own. 
  • Two students discuss the answer to a take-home exam question when any outside discussion with regard to exam content is strictly prohibited by the instructor.

Theft of Intellectual Property

Theft of Intellectual Property:  The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reminds us that intellectual property, which is protected by copyrights, trademarks, and patents, can be stolen easily with the rise of digital technology. All one has to do is file-share, copy-and-paste from copyrighted material without quotations or attribution, or crack software-code, and he or she has violated the intellectual property rights of another.

Acknowledgements

The section on Definitions of Academic Dishonesty is excerpted from Western Michigan University’s web page entitled Definitions of Academic Dishonesty Violations, Northern Illinois University’s web page on academic integrity, McGill University's Information on ´╗┐Student Rights & Responsibilities and The University of California at Berkeley’s web page entitled Definitions & Examples of Academic Misconduct.