Determining a potential breach

Important Note: The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 will come into force on the 1 December 2021, and will apply to students enrolled in courses from Summer 2022.

The following are breaches of the University's Academic Misconduct Rule:

  • Cheating;
  • Plagiarism;
  • Colluding with another person;
  • Acting or helping someone else act dishonestly or unfairly in relation to an examination;
  • Taking prohibited documentation into an exam;
  • Not following examination or assessment rules or direction;
  • Engaging in conduct related to an assessment with intention of gaining an unfair advantage;
  • Submitting work that is not original.

Some of the most common breaches are detailed below.


Cheating means the breach of rules regarding formal examinations, or dishonest practice in informal examinations, tests or other assessments. Examples include the use of prohibited material or equipment for unfair advantage, and copying someone else's answers in an exam, or allowing someone to copy off them. Cheating also covers anything that does not fit elsewhere under the rule, however a student has attempted to gain an unfair advantage or otherwise decieve the university.


Plagiarism is copying, paraphrasing or summarising, without appropriate acknowledgement, the words, ideas, scholarship and intellectual property of another person. This remains plagiarism whether or not it is with the knowledge or consent of that other person. Plagiarism has also taken place when direct use of others' words is not indicated, for example by inverted commas or indentation, in addition to appropriate citation of the source.


Collusion is the involvement of more than one individual in an instance of academic dishonesty. All parties involved in such collusion are in breach of the principle of academic integrity (unless there is good evidence of innocent involvement). 'Collusion' needs to be distinguished from 'collaboration', defined for the purposes of this document as work jointly undertaken and produced.

Contract cheating

Contract cheating is a process where a student engages third parties (paid or unpaid) to complete all or part of their assessment item, and then the student submits all or part of this work as their own. This includes having a friend, family member or another student complete and assignment on the students behalf, or where a student pays for an assignment to be completed from a paid essay mill, and online essay mill or other online task bidder websites such as Airtasker. Contract cheating can fall under collusion, plagiarism and cheating under the Academic Misconduct Rule and is a most serious breach. Submitting work that is not the students own means that the student has not undertaken the learning experience or met the learning outcomes of the course.


Fabrication is the representation of data, observation or other research activity as genuine, comprehensive and/or original when it is not. This includes inventing the data, using data gathered by other researchers without acknowledgement, or wilfully omitting data to obtain desired results. Fabrication can be very serious, particularly when used in research.

Recycling (submitting work that is not original)

Recycling is the submission for assessment of work which, wholly or in large part, has been previously presented by the same student for another assessment, either at The Australian National University or elsewhere. Some courses allow this practice. For example, an honours year may involve the submission of a chapter as an early assessment item, and then that chapter is submitted again in the final thesis. If no specific provision is made however, submission of work for assessment a second or subsequent time constitutes a breach.