Academic Integrity: Best Practice Principles for Learners

On 1 December 2021, the ANU introduced the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, Academic Integrity Policy, and Academic Integrity Procedure, together with a suite of supporting documents, to replace the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015. This signals a change of approach from detecting and punishing misconduct, to supporting a culture of academic integrity. This involves educating members of our community about academic integrity while maintaining rigorous processes for detecting and punishing misconduct.

These Best Practice Principles lie outside the formal regulatory structure of Rule/Policy/Procedure, but provide ways of thinking about academic integrity and give guidance on and support the development of best practice. They also give guidance on ways to think about the interpretation of formal documents.

Scope

This set of best practice principles, focused on learning, gives guidance on issues related to Academic Integrity during the preparation of an assessment item. They do not cover any issues that may arise after an assessment item has been submitted, for example where concerns about potential breaches of academic integrity are raised in relation to a submitted assessment item.

Definitions

For key definitions, see the Academic Integrity Rule 2021.

1. Introduction

1.1 Academic Integrity

Each community has its own set of values: its own moral code. The core moral code of our academic community, our community of scholars, is Academic Integrity. It is also foundational to our community’s standing in society. Academic Integrity is binding on all members of our community, regardless of whether that member is staff or student, and regardless of discipline. There is not “student academic integrity”, “staff academic integrity”, “FoR 13: Education academic integrity”, and so on. Although we expect to see differences of what constitutes good academic practice across demographics and disciplines, we should not see differences in what constitutes Academic Integrity.

Our community is committed to the creation, development, and dissemination of knowledge and new skills, including through the training of our student members. Each member of the community is expected to do this honestly and to the best of their ability, and to avoid deceptive and misleading conduct (including cheating). We each make our contribution both individually and collectively. A characteristic of our community is the clear and unambiguous attribution of knowledge and ideas, including another’s insights and ways of knowing, which may be in written, oral and other forms of expression, to those that create them. This requires the full and unambiguous acknowledgment of the contribution of others towards, and in each of our academic outputs.

Both as a community and as an educational institution, we need to induct new members into our community by teaching our values, including Academic Integrity. This is consistent with the Vision for Teaching and Learning at the ANU: “Our students are future ready, capable of solving problems not yet imagined to improve their lives, the lives of others and their communities.” It is also consistent with the education practice of ANU being research led: we teach students to think like researchers and to learn scholarly best practice.

Academic Integrity is a foundational principle of our community of scholars. It requires each of us to do our very best to build on the knowledge, ideas, and scholarly output of others to contribute to the creation and dissemination of new knowledge and ideas. It requires us to fully and transparently acknowledge the contribution of others to our own scholarly endeavours, and to ensure as far as possible the highest quality and accuracy of our scholarly output. It also requires us to support others to uphold academic integrity, and to hold each other accountable for maintaining academic integrity. This means that we cannot ignore situations in which we have any evidence that someone has breached academic integrity, and must deal with the situation in an appropriate way, as discussed in section 6 below.

All of this is encapsulated in the Academic Integrity Principle in the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, paragraph 7:

The academic integrity principle is the principle that every student of the University:

(a) is committed to engaging in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity; and

(b) upholds this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

1.2 If you feel under pressure, maintain integrity and make use of these resources

Almost all people who breach academic integrity don’t want to, but do so because they feel under pressure (such as running out of time, lack of confidence, not knowing where to start) and see cheating or otherwise breaching academic integrity as their only way out. It isn’t. It never is. The university has many resources to assist you to deal with this pressure and to help you to always act how you want to act: with integrity.

The following people and organisations are among those who are not only available but who want to help you. You are a member of our community and we support each other.

  • Your course convenor and course teaching staff
  • Academic Skills staff
  • Access and Inclusion staff
    • Check if your circumstances make you eligible for an Education Access Plan (EAP)
  • ANU Counselling staff
  • Dean of Students
  • Associate and Sub-Deans in your College
  • ANUSA
  • PARSA
  • If you live in a Hall or College at ANU, relevant staff

1.3 Your Obligation to Understand Academic Integrity

All members of our community have an obligation to be informed of and to understand the requirements of academic integrity and the academic integrity principle. The university provides education about academic integrity, as outlined in section 5 below. All students are expected to undertake the online Epigeum Academic Integrity modules before submitting their first piece of assessment. If a student has further questions after completing the modules, staff including course teaching staff and the Academic Skills staff are among those available for consultation.

Being uninformed of or misunderstanding the requirements of academic integrity as expressed in the Rule, Policy (paragraphs 1-4 and 11), Procedure, these Principles, or Epigeum Academic modules will never be an excuse for a breach of academic integrity.

1.4 Intentionality

The ‘Golden Rule’: Always act in good faith.

Rules, Policies and Procedures need to be framed in a way where conduct can be analysed on the basis of evidence. However, we can think about academic integrity in other ways that cannot be formally codified and so are not included in the Rules or other procedural documents, but help us to better understand the issues. An example is intentionality: what was the individual intending to do by engaging in the conduct. This can rarely be proven, as intentionality is an individual's state of mind to which others do not have access. However, the individual knows what they intended. Intentionality is an important concept to help you to understand academic misconduct: misconduct is the outcome of an intention to commit misconduct, or an intention not to take care to adhere to principles of academic integrity (gross negligence), or a decision not to make yourself familiar with the requirements of academic integrity, regardless of whether or not this can be proven. As intention can rarely be proven, investigations into potential breaches of academic integrity are not based primarily on intention but on evidence of a breach.

The concept of intentionality is nevertheless relevant because mistakes do happen, and we need to be able to understand the difference between genuine, unintended mistakes and misconduct.

Mistakes can be thought of as isolated, one-off errors. They are unintentional and are not the result of significant negligence (that is, a lack of taking appropriate care). Note, however, that if a mistake is made and is pointed out to you by a staff member, then you are expected to pay particular attention to not repeating that mistake, and so repeating a mistake in a subsequent assessment item may be regarded as being the result of significant negligence. A mistake can, however, have major flow-on effects on a piece of scholarly output, such as an incorrect number in a date which can alter the sequence of historical events and so lead to a factually incorrect conclusion, or an incorrectly copied number used in a statistical calculation. Although this may have a significant impact on a mark, mistakes are not considered breaches of academic integrity.

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1.5 Academic Misconduct

A student’s obligations with respect to academic integrity are set out in detail in the Academic Integrity Rule 2021. Types of Academic Integrity breaches are specified in paragraph 12(2); the list is quite long and should be read carefully.  A student who may be engaging in any of these types of breaches may be investigated for potential Academic Misconduct. If the University is satisfied that a student has engaged in any of the above behaviours, then the University may make a formal finding of Academic Misconduct against the student, unless there are mitigating factors involved which might justify a lesser finding, such as Poor Academic Practice (see the Rule, paragraph 13).

Exactly how the University responds to a particular student’s conduct will depend upon the circumstances, including the severity of the breach. But students should be aware that any breach of their obligations with respect to academic integrity is potentially extremely serious. In particular, a finding of Academic Misconduct can have very significant flow-on effects, including negatively impacting a student’s employability (see section 1.6 below).

Academic Misconduct can, in general, be thought of as intentionally or through negligence deceiving or intending to deceive others (including markers and examiners):

  1. about your own contribution to an academic output by not fully and unambiguously acknowledging the contribution of others to the output;
  2. about the veracity of data and sources used as the basis for the analysis in your academic output by not ensuring, as far as reasonable, its accuracy; and/or
  3. by engaging in any other deceptive or misleading conduct (including cheating).

1.6 Academic Integrity and your post-university life

Integrity is a moral issue. Breaching integrity, including academic integrity, is a moral failing. Serious or repeated moral failures reflect on who an individual is and the judgements that others will form of them. Some cases of breaches of academic integrity will prevent a person from entering their chosen profession, for example, it may prevent you from being admitted to practice as a solicitor or barrister. , Some successful professionals have lost their jobs and had it reported in the media that this was because of past breaches of academic integrity.

Ben Knight, ‘Why do German politicians so often stumble over Ph.D. plagiarism allegations?’ (25 May 2021; https://www.dw.com/en/why-do-german-politicians-so-often-stumble-over-phd-plagiarism-allegations/a-57651910 accessed 23 June 2021) wrote that “At least 20 respected German politicians have had aspersions cast on their academic integrity over the last ten years, including former Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg (who lost his Ph.D. and resigned in 2011), former Education Minister Annette Schavan (who lost her Ph.D. and resigned in 2013), and former Vice President of the European Parliament Silvana Koch-Mehrin (who lost her Ph.D. and resigned in 2011).” 

Although there are downsides to breaching academic integrity, there are upsides to adhering to it. Demonstrating integrity is always a good thing: it shows that you can be trusted. Your integrity will be a positive influence on others, and will contribute to making our community an honest community.

Best Practice Principle: Acting with integrity is a moral principle; an immoral act will remain with you for the rest of your life.

2. Attribution of Authorship: Acknowledgement and Collaboration

The ‘Golden Rule’: Never misrepresent someone else’s knowledge, ideas, or outputs as your own.

As scholars, we build on the academic output of ourselves and others, place our academic output within the context of the academic output of others, benefit from discussions with others, and react to or incorporate the comments and feedback of others. In turn, others may benefit from our scholarly input.  Each person’s scholarship therefore depends on a series of inputs from others, and this interaction is not only standard practice but strongly encouraged and, in the case of written scholarly output, required. Collaboration and acknowledgement are critical to our community: it cannot survive without them. In all instances of collaboration, academic integrity requires acknowledgement.

How and where should this acknowledgement take place? Here we can draw on standard scholarly practice: acknowledgement of broad contributions of others appears in an acknowledgements section at the beginning of the academic output, and acknowledgement of specific contributions of others appears in references in the text and/or in footnotes or endnotes. With regard to assessment, examples of the former may include thanking and naming members of a study group who discussed the literature and ideas around a project before each going off to write, or discussions with a tutor; examples of the latter may include acknowledging a classmate with a specific idea that you used, or citing published literature. The key here is to enable the reader to unambiguously distinguish the author’s/authors’ contribution to the output from the contributions of others, and to name (an exception is anonymous peer reviewers in the blind reviewing process, but here the author plays no role) those others. An important part of the judgement and scholarly practice of authors is the judicious selection of who and what to draw on and hence acknowledge in their writing. To assist student with managing word count, the broad acknowledgement section may be excluded from the word count; the individual assessment item should make this clear.

As part of honest research practice, if you cite a source then you should have actually seen the source and cited from it directly. If you quote from a source that you have only seen in cited someone else’s scholarly output, then you have not seen the source that you are citing and so must acknowledge the intermediary source (reference A, as quoted in reference B).

Best Practice Principle: Where others have made a broad contribution to an academic output that is not captured by specific references and acknowledgements then, with the exception of invigilated final examinations but including take-home examinations, the output should include a separate section for broad acknowledgements that are in addition to the specific acknowledgements/citations/references that appear throughout the academic output.  For assessment items, this should be excluded from the word count. It may be in any appropriate form, such as a footnote or in a separate section with the heading ‘Acknowledgements’.

2.1 Academic Integrity requirements for citation

Academic integrity requires identification of cited materials in written academic output clearly and unambiguously, not only out of respect for those responsible for the creation of those materials, but also so that readers or listeners can verify and follow up should they so wish. Always be transparent about your sources.

So long as the authorship and location of the quotation or paraphrase is clearly and unambiguously stated, not following particular styles of attribution does not constitute misconduct or poor academic practice. If a citation system other than that requested is used, or if the citation system is used incorrectly but the cited material is unambiguously identified, it is not an academic integrity issue but an academic convention issue, which may be discipline or context specific. Always check your class summary for information about this. For poor citation mechanics, penalties may be imposed through a marking rubric or may generally lower your mark/grade.

2.2 Collaboration vs Collusion

A complex issue within this framework is the line between collaboration and collusion, as both involve two or more people working together. Drawing on the discussion above, we can define collaboration as the co-creation of an academic output where the nature and extent of the interaction is fully and unambiguously acknowledged in the academic output; and collusion as being where the nature and extent of the interaction is not fully and unambiguously acknowledged and so the reader or listener is deceived or intended to be deceived into misattributing authorship in part or in full.

It is essential that each student understands that for each academic output that they submit for assessment, the mark will reflect the extent of their contribution and the extent to which they demonstrate that they have met the learning outcomes. If the student’s role is simply to create a patchwork of other peoples’ academic output that is fully and appropriately referenced, but which does not demonstrate that the student understands and has met learning outcomes, then this is not a breach of academic integrity; it would, however, impact on the mark.

Best Practice Principle: Collaboration in scholarly endeavour is permitted except in the specific instances, such as some invigilated or take-home examinations, where it is expressly prohibited. The nature and extent of interaction (collaboration) must be formally acknowledged in the acknowledgements section and elsewhere in the output as appropriate such that the specific contribution of the author (or authors for a group project) can be differentiated from the contribution of non-authors. Unacknowledged collaboration may be collusion, which is a breach of academic integrity. Where collaboration is prohibited in an assessment item, the prohibition and, except for examinations, the reasons for it must be stated in the class summary; interaction in those instances is collusion.

2.3 Working on your assessment

The difference between collaboration and collusion is a key issue in the preparation of assessment, and the line between the two can be difficult to draw in practice.

When discussing assessment, ask yourself: ‘Would I be comfortable having this discussion in front of the lecturer or on a class forum’. If the answer is "No", then this raises questions about academic integrity.

Always check your class summary to see if instructions are given about what collaboration is permitted in your course. Within any constraints in the class summary, the following best practice principles have been developed to assist clarifying the line between collaboration and collusion:

Best Practice Principle: Discussing your assignment orally (that is, not in writing). Unless the class summary specifically prohibits discussing your assignment with others (excluding people in your group for group assessment), you may discuss your assessment orally with others. You can ask and respond to questions, give advice, and suggest readings. This discussion must be attributed. For example, ‘I would like to thank Helen Jones for suggesting to me that…’ or ‘I would like to thank John Smith for bringing Baker’s article to my attention’.

Best Practice Principle: Discussing your assignment in writing on social media. Unless the class summary or a statement on the class Wattle site explicitly states otherwise, you should only discuss your assignment on social media with other students in your class. This discussion should follow the principles for oral discussion (above) and for sharing written drafts (below). The discussion should be a written form of an oral discussion.

Best Practice Principle: Sharing written drafts. Unless the class summary or a statement on the class Wattle site explicitly allows the sharing of written drafts with others, written drafts may not be shared other than in the instances (i) of group work where drafts should be shared among group members or (ii) as outlined in section 2.5 below, such as sharing with staff in Academic Skills.

2.4 Reuse of your own academic output that has been submitted for assessment

All submitted scholarly outputs are expected to be original and this includes scholarly outputs submitted for assessment. While it is true that scholarly outputs may be republished, the republication always states that it is a republication and the scholar gets no scholarly credit for the republication. Similarly, an assessment item resubmitted (“republished”) should acknowledge this and may receive a mark of zero. Publishing the same academic output in two different places without making it clear that one is a republication of the other is generally regarded a breach of academic integrity. Similarly, if a scholarly output resubmitted for assessment does not acknowledge this, it would additionally be a breach of academic integrity.

Many scholars build on their earlier published academic output in subsequent academic output, for example by comparing their own later academic output with their own earlier academic output. However, the new (subsequent) academic output must make an original contribution and its findings and conclusions must be original. When a scholar draws on earlier published academic output, that earlier academic output must be clearly differentiated from the new contribution by being cited just as any material drawn on must be cited. Technically, the method of self-citation is no different to citing the knowledge and ideas of others.

Importantly, from the point of view of quality, citations are typically of knowledge and ideas regarded as authoritative (which may be indicated by publication in a reputable source), and those citing their own scholarly output should consider the extent to which their output is or would be viewed by others as authoritative.

Reuse must be differentiated from a course or sequence of courses that use ‘scaffolded’ or ‘progressive’ assessment, that is, where multiple assessments (which may be summatively assessed) are designed to be built up into or towards a final assessment. Here, the earlier assessments effectively function as drafts of sections, and good practice is to revise each when incorporating them into the final piece of assessment. Where this type of assessment structure is used, to remove any possible ambiguity it should be clearly specified in the class summary.

Reuse must also be differentiated for Higher Degree by Research candidates, where it is common for sections of the thesis to be published during candidature. These instances must be clearly acknowledged as publications, clearly acknowledging the extent of the candidate’s contribution to the process and attributing the knowledge and ideas of any co-authors explicitly.

Best Practice Principle: Unless an assessment item is designed to explicitly build on an earlier assessment item, reuse of material from a student’s own earlier academic output in their own later academic output should normally only occur if it is from a passed thesis or a published output. If used, it must be cited as for any other source, and will not form part of the new intellectual contribution of the new assessment item.

Best Practice Principle: Where an assessment item is designed to explicitly build on an earlier assessment item, this should be clearly stated in the class summary and should be acknowledged in the later assessment item(s); this reuse is permissible as the earlier item was specifically designed to be reused by functioning as supporting the development of a later assessment item. Any other reuse of material from unpublished assignments is likely to be poor academic practice. Any other reuse is academic misconduct where the reused material is not formally acknowledged/cited.

2.4.1 Re-submitting your own assessment originally prepared for a course that is being repeated

If assessment is submitted for a course and the course is not passed or the student withdraws from the course and receives a grade of WD or WN, then material submitted towards that course has not been counted towards the completion of a course or a degree. As such, it is not being ‘recycled’, that is reused towards the completion of a course or towards completion of a program, even though it has been previously submitted for assessment. This is analogous to a paper submitted to a journal that is rejected by that journal: it can then be resubmitted elsewhere as it has not been accepted for publication. As noted above, however, once academic output is published it cannot be reused without acknowledgement, and where it is reused there is no original intellectual contribution. The same approach can be taken to assessment items: if they do not contribute to the passing of a course or completion of a program, then they can be resubmitted in an attempt for them to be counted towards such.

However, previously submitted assessment will have received academic feedback, sometimes detailed academic feedback, from the marker. While it may be appropriate for any feedback to be taken into consideration and for the paper to be revised before resubmission, this raises significant issues of equity. As assignments are graded, this may give a student resubmitting assessment an unfair advantage over other students. As such, a constraint needs to be put on resubmission to ensure equity. This constraint is that, in order to resubmit this assessment, a student needs written permission from the course convenor.

To avoid complications with text matching software, if material from a course that has been failed or withdrawn from is reused, this should be clearly stated on the submission.

Best Practice Principle: Academic assessment that was submitted for a course that was failed or for which a grade of WD or WL is given may be resubmitted in another course with the written permission of the convenor of that course. Once it is submitted towards one other course, it cannot be resubmitted towards any other course unless that course is also failed. If the course was failed, consideration should be given to revising the academic output before resubmission.

2.5 Receiving feedback on drafts of written assessment

Although as discussed above written drafts should not be shared with classmates, it is appropriate to share them with certain other categories of people in order to get feedback to develop your skills as a scholar. These categories of people include the course teaching staff, staff of the ANU Academic Skills team based in the ANU Library, and others who are not in your course. In order to maintain academic integrity, what these people can contribute must be clarified.

This feedback must never be in the form of corrections on a written draft. What is appropriate is that issues can be commented on, either as comments on a written draft or comments given orally. For example, a statement that ‘this conclusion does not follow from your argument because…’ is fine, but an alternative conclusion should not be proposed. The aim here is for the learner to understand what this issue is, and then themselves work out a solution. If there is a grammatical error, a comment such as ‘there is no verb in this sentence’ is fine as it identifies an issue, but a verb should not be proposed: that is for the student to identify. The person reading the draft may guide the student, but the final product must the student’s. As such, the person providing the feedback should not write any text or do any editorial work or layout changes that appear in the final submitted version. If comments are provided using the ‘track changes’ function, they must be provided in a way that prevents the student from simply clicking on ‘accept change’ to amend the text and is written in a way that requires students to delete the feedback and write the revised text themselves.

The key here is that a student receiving feedback on a draft and making amendments themselves is a learning experience, but having someone else directly editing a student's written academic output with the student not making the decisions is not a learning experience, but is indeed someone else’s academic output.

Best Practice Principle. A student can receive feedback on general academic skills and writing style in order to improve drafts of their assessment, but not specific changes intended for direct incorporation into the written assessment.

HDR students may have their thesis copy-edited by someone else, as per the ANU Guideline: Higher Degree by Research: Editing of Theses. This is because a thesis is regarded as a publication and so is deposited in the university library and is normally accessible to other scholars. Theses are often cited in scholarly output. Publications are normally copy-edited before publication to facilitate reading. This is not the case for assignments.

Another difference between a thesis and a written assignment is that a marking rubric may award marks for grammar and style and formatting, and the relative contribution between the student and the copy-editor can be impossible to determine unless a tracked changes document is submitted.

2.6 Contract Cheating

A Ghost Writer is a person who prepares or drafts an academic output in part or in full for another person where the writer knows or could reasonably be expected to know that the person for whom it was prepared would claim authorship and submit the output for assessment or publication.

Contract Cheating is submission of an academic output that is prepared or drafted in part or in full by a person who is not acknowledged in the output as an author or co-author of the output; both the person writing the output and the person submitting the output are guilty of Contract Cheating.

Contract cheating is so serious that it may result in criminal prosecution under Australian Commonwealth Government legislation.

The most serious breach of attribution of authorship is when someone who has no intellectual input into an academic output cheats by claiming to be the author of an academic output that is made available to others (including through submission as an item of assessment), as the reader or listener is deceived about the authorship. In these instances the academic output is prepared by someone typically known as a “ghost writer” and the process by which the ghost writer is engaged is called contract cheating. The person paid under the contract to cheat may be paid in money (e.g. cash, via credit card, via bank transfer), paid in kind (bartering), or may be a family member or friend who does it as a personal favour to “help” the person who claims authorship. If the person contracted to cheat knows, or could reasonably infer, that the person for whom they were writing would use the output to breach academic integrity then the writer is also guilty of a breach of academic integrity.

Best Practice Principle: Contract cheating is always serious academic misconduct and may result in criminal prosecution. No matter how much pressure you are under, engaging in this is far worse than failure to submit an assignment.

2.7 Confirmation of authorship

The university reinforces the critical nature of the attribution of authorship by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy requiring that:

  1. All assessment task submissions, regardless of mode of submission, require agreement to the following declaration by the student:

“I declare that this assessment item:

  • upholds the principles of academic integrity, as defined in the University Academic Misconduct Rule Academic Integrity Rule
  • is original, except where collaboration (for example group work) has been authorised in writing by the course convener in the course outline class summary and/or Wattle site;
  • is produced for the purposes of this assessment task and has not been submitted for assessment in any other context, except where authorised in writing by the course convener;
  • gives appropriate acknowledgement of the ideas, scholarship and intellectual property of others insofar as these have been used;
  • in no part involves copying, cheating, collusion, fabrication, plagiarism or recycling.

I acknowledge that I am expected to have undertaken Academic Integrity training through the Epigeum Academic Integrity modules prior to submitting an assessment, and so acknowledge that ignorance of the rules around academic integrity cannot be an excuse for any breach.

Appropriate efforts by university staff to confirm authorship of a submitted academic output may include the university purchasing copies of academic outputs uploaded to file-sharing and other websites and using methods to look for text matches between those purchased outputs and academic outputs submitted for assessment, as well as the use of text matching software, doing word searches on sections of the assessment item, and various other techniques.

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3. Attribution of Veracity

Because of the interdependence of academic outputs within our community, it is critically important that each one of us is honest and open about our own contribution to the tradition. What we contribute may influence others and their thinking, regardless of whether they agree or disagree with it, and to deliberately introduce an error into this system undermines the system itself. It is therefore critically important that when we use data or other sources as the basis for our academic output and its conclusions, that we use them honestly and select them impartially to ensure the robustness of our conclusions. Fabricating data or quotations—making them up—while claiming or implying that they are real, or omitting data that does not support a desired conclusion, is an extremely serious breach of academic integrity as it will introduce, through deception, errors into the record.

To support academic integrity, we need to ensure that when assessing academic output that a piece of research that finds that something doesn’t work or that there is no evidence of correlation or causation is not regarded as in any way inferior to academic output that finds that something does work or that there is evidence of correlation or causation.

Errors of veracity may occur as the result of honest mistakes, but where care has been taken to ensure that the academic output is free of error, then these mistakes are just that and are not breaches of academic integrity. The attribution of veracity, however, does place an onus on all scholars to do their very best to ensure the accuracy of their scholarly output. If significant errors are the result of gross negligence, then this amounts to academic misconduct as it breaches our duty to ensure the accuracy of our scholarly output. Ghost writing is not only a breach of attribution of authorship but shows gross negligence in attribution of veracity: the person who submits it cannot attest to its veracity. This is further evidence that “ghost writing” is one of the most serious of all breaches of academic integrity.

Best Practice Principle: Deceiving or intending to deceive others (including markers and examiners), either intentionally or through gross negligence, about the veracity of data and sources used as the basis for the scholarly output is academic misconduct.

For more detail on research integrity, see https://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/program-management/ethics-and-integrity and the Guideline: Conduct of Research

4. Accessing and Sharing the knowledge, ideas, and outputs of others.

4.1 What materials may be accessed in preparing an assignment?

The accessing of publicly available academic output requires consideration. Clearly there are periods during which it is appropriate to prohibit access to materials including academic outputs, such as during a closed-book examination. The accessing of legally-distributed academic output other than during an examination should not be prohibited: a ban on accessing particular academic outputs where doing so is not illegal is a dangerous precedent and is inconsistent with academic freedom (see our Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech Policy). Restrictions should not be put on accessing legally-distributed material, but any use of this material must be fully acknowledged including the attribution of authorship.

Examples of material that is not legally distributed includes teaching notes issued by publishers where the publisher does not make them publicly available but restricts access to approved academic staff; as such, these notes are not in fact published. If they have been made publicly available by others, it has not been done legally. Accessing copies of past invigilated examination papers where ongoing access is prohibited and copies were not to be taken from an examination room is accessing material that is not legally distributed.

 

Best Practice Principle: Simply accessing material legally distributed by others, other than material prohibited during an examination, is acceptable.

Best Practice Principle: Ensure that you always note the source for any material that you access so that you can appropriately cite it if it is used.

4.2 What materials may be accessed in preparing an exam?

While it is appropriate for students to discuss exam papers from previous offerings of a course, unless explicitly permitted in the class summary it is not acceptable and a breach of academic integrity for students to talk about examination papers they are sitting in a class they are currently enrolled in between the initial release of the examination paper and the conclusion of the examination for all students. This is particularly the case when different cohorts are sitting the same paper but at different times as it would give an unfair advantage to students who get advance knowledge of the paper before they commence it. Both parties would be breaching academic integrity. Oral examinations are subject to the same principle: they are often done one at a time so a student who had done their exam has time to talk to someone who has not yet undertaken their oral exam. It is a breach of academic integrity for students undertaking oral exams to discuss these exams with each other until after the conclusion of oral exams for all students in the course.

Even with open-book exams, students should be wary of accessing online ‘study’ sites that contain compilations of summaries or other material that may be relevant to an exam in a particular course.  If such material is accessed, it must be acknowledged as a source if used in an exam answer.

4.3 Sharing of your completed assignments

The sharing of unpublished conference papers after their initial presentation, or the sharing of academic output in progress between colleagues, is common scholarly practice. Students normally hold copyright in the academic output that they create (see the ANU Intellectual Property Policy paras 4-8). There would therefore seem to be no reason why students should not be able to share their own completed academic output after submission as they see fit. Where others use that academic output, academic integrity requires that it must be cited; for sources published only online, this always requires inclusion of the URL and date of access/download. However, always consider why completed assignments are shared, and in particular if there is any reason to believe that the person with whom you are sharing them may be intending to use them to breach academic integrity. If you think that they may, then you should not share the assessment with them, as this would make you complicit in any breach. Think about the intention: is the assessment being shared with a good intention? Are those receiving it going to deal with it ethically? If you upload a file to a website approved by your course convenor or a member of university staff to share academic output in a safe place at a particular point in time, such as the development of an e-Portfolio, this can be assumed. If you upload to a website that has not been approved by your course convenor or a university staff member, you cannot know what others will do with it, and so be aware of the ethical dangers of unapproved file-sharing websites.

Best Practice Principle: Sharing one’s own completed academic output with others, other than during an examination or where it is expressly prohibited in the class summary, is acceptable unless you have reason to believe that it may be used to breach academic integrity, in which case it would be collusion.

4.4 Sharing the knowledge, ideas, and outputs of others

Academic Integrity means that you must deal with the knowledge, ideas, scholarly outputs, and other creations of others ethically.

You should only share the publicly available (published) knowledge, ideas, scholarly outputs and other creations of others when copyright is not breached.

You may only share the not publicly available (unpublished) knowledge, ideas, scholarly outputs and other creations of others with their written permission.

A lecture, lecture notes, lecture slides, and handouts prepared by teaching staff, unless issued through a publisher or uploaded by the course teaching staff to a public non-ANU website, are unpublished materials. Any recordings and lecturer’s notes are unpublished materials. The notes that you take in class are a summary of these unpublished materials and may not be shared with others without the lecturer’s written permission.

Best Practice Principle: Sharing the unpublished academic output of others, including markers’ comments on assessment items, without their written permission should be regarded as academic misconduct and in some instances may be an offence under the Copyright Act in which case it may lead to Civil litigation.

Best Practice Principle: Notes based on unpublished materials may not be shared without the written permission of the author of those unpublished materials.

5: Education about Academic Integrity and Scholarly Practice

As members of our academic community, students must ensure that they develop the knowledge and skills needed to comply with their academic integrity obligations.

5.1 Epigeum Academic Integrity Modules

Academic Board has agreed to adopt the Epigeum Academic Integrity Modules developed by Epigeum (Oxford University Press) as an online component of academic integrity education at ANU. Additional online or in-person materials may be prepared by or within Colleges.

Although the modules form a basis for education about academic integrity and scholarly practice, they do not replace either the education and training necessary to embed and contextualise them within individual disciplines or the ongoing embedding of academic integrity. What they do is ensure a common grounding for students regardless of their degree or discipline, which is important given the number of cross-disciplinary and cross-College students at ANU; they also emphasise that the core of academic integrity is not discipline bound.

Best Practice Principle: All students are expected to complete the online Epigeum Academic Integrity Modules before the end of week 1 of your first semester of enrolment.

5.2 Research Integrity Modules

Research Integrity modules, which are compulsory for Higher Degree by Research students, are accessed online; see https://services.anu.edu.au/training/research-integrity-training.

5.3 Other Academic Integrity education

Education and training in academic integrity needs to be supported by a range of education and training that supports academic integrity, such as time management skills and writing skills. Here, the Academic Skills team in the University Library plays a key role in supporting students to manage particular issues impacting on their scholarly practice including use of scholarly information services and reviewing literature, note taking, how to construct an essay, and time management skills.

Best Practice Principle: Make use of the Academic Skills team and the Academic Integrity resources on the ANU Library website.

To help support particular issues around academic integrity for students for whom English is not their first language, including the time pressure that may result from writing in a language other than your mother tongue, the University makes available free of charge to all first and second year students for whom English is not their first language the English and Wellbeing Enhancement Series (EWES). Undertaking the EWES also creates the opportunity for special assessment arrangements for certain timed assessments; see the Student Assessment (coursework) Policy, paragraphs 31-35, and Student Assessment (Coursework) Procedure, paragraphs 26-35.

Best Practice Principle: Attend the classes available in the English and Wellbeing Enhancement Series.

6: Embedding Academic Integrity in University Culture

Training, while critical, is not sufficient on its own. Simply having knowledge and skills does not ensure that they are put to good use.

Academic Integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. As such, we must ensure that it is fully embedded in our culture and that we ensure that all members of our community, and especially new members, understand this part of our culture and know how to engage in academic endeavour in ways that are not only consistent with, but actively support it.

Peer mentoring can be very powerful, and so student ambassadors will help drive the embedding of these values.

Best Practice Principle: Student Ambassadors, including in residential and non-residential Colleges and Halls, are encouraged to undertake appropriate training and support to act as mentors for embedding academic integrity principles and practices into university culture.

6.1 What do I do if I become aware of a breach of academic integrity?

In your own academic output

If you become aware of a breach of academic integrity by yourself (other than through a notification of that breach by your teacher or by the university), then you should immediately notify your lecturer in writing. This demonstrates good faith on your part and will always be taken into consideration when considering what action needs to be taken.

 

By others

Becoming aware of a potential breach by others is always a difficult situation, and it is normal to feel uncomfortable or even anxious about what to do. However, the Academic Integrity Principle makes it clear that we are all responsible for upholding academic integrity in our community, which means that we cannot just ignore situations where we have evidence of a potential breach. A breach is also not a ‘victimless’ activity: it may give a perpetrator an unfair grading advantage over other students in the course and, more seriously, may mean that a perpetrator does not have the knowledge and skills needed for their professional life which may have a significant negative impact on their clients or the public. If you become aware of evidence, report it using a mechanism that you feel comfortable with, for example by contacting your tutor, lecturer, or the Dean of Students, or by emailing integrity@anu.edu.au. Information about a potential breach will always be treated confidentially.

Best Practice Principle: Always report potential breaches of academic integrity as soon as you become aware of them. If it relates to your own academic output, report it to your lecturer. If it relates to someone else’s academic output, report it using a mechanism that you feel comfortable with, such as by contacting your tutor, lecturer, or the Dean of Students, or emailing integrity@anu.edu.au.

7.0 These Principles

Effective date: 1 December 2021

Responsible Officer: Dean, Academic Quality