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Academic integrity

Academic integrity is built on honesty, respect and fairness. Students, faculty and staff at UVic are members of an intellectual community. As such, it’s expected that we’ll adhere to ethical values in all our learning, teaching and research.

We have lots of resources on academic integrity. One of the best ways to get information is to talk to your course instructors and TAs. They can help you understand and follow the complex rules of academic integrity.

The Centre for Academic Communication (CAC) and the UVic library (citation help) can also help you understand academic expectations at UVic.

Why does this matter?

You need to know that your work is being fairly evaluated. This includes knowing that other students do not have an unfair advantage through cheating.

You are responsible for academic work that you submit or work on with others. You are expected to adhere to the ethical values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility. This means not cheating, plagiarizing, falsifying materials, using an unauthorized editor or acting in other academically dishonest ways. 

The core values of academic integrity are also useful beyond university. The skills you learn will be integral to your success in your community and workplace.

What is academic dishonesty?

Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to:

  • Using an editor, whether paid or unpaid, unless the instructor grants explicit written permission.
  • Fraudulently manipulating laboratory processes, electronic data or research data in order to achieve desired results.
  • Using work prepared in whole or in part by someone else (e.g., commercially prepared essays) and submitting it as your own.
  • Citing a source from which material was not obtained.
  • Using a quoted reference from a non-original source while implying reference to the original source.
  • Submitting false records, information or data in writing or orally.
  • Copying the answers or other work of another person.
  • Sharing information or answers when doing take-home assignments, tests or examinations except where the instructor has authorized collaborative work.
  • Having any materials or equipment in an exam or test other than those authorized by the examiners.
  • Accessing unauthorized information when doing take-home assignments, tests or examinations.
  • Impersonating a student on an exam or test, or being assigned the results of such an impersonation.
  • Accessing or attempting to access examinations or tests before it is permitted to do so.
  • Helping or attempting to help others to engage in any of the conduct described above.

Read UVic’s policy on academic integrity for full details. 

Policies & consequences

UVic has a policy on academic integrity.  The policy includes definitions and academic integrity violation examples. It details the process followed when there are allegations of violations of academic integrity and describes possible penalties. The policy applies in all academic environments, including face-to-face and online learning.

Your rights and responsibilities

You are responsible for the entire content and form of your work. You are also responsible to adhere to the academic integrity policy in all academic activities. If you are unsure, talk to your instructor.

It is important that you read the entire academic integrity policy yourself so that you are aware of your rights, responsibilities and regulations for how violations are handled. The policy in the academic calendar will be used as the basis for implementing the academic integrity policy.

You have a right to be heard and the right to a fair process. The university takes allegations of violations of academic integrity seriously. If an instructor is concerned that you have violated the policy, they must document it and inform their chair.

If you are alleged to have violated the policy, the academic department must notify you in writing. If you refuse to participate in the process, the chair may proceed to make a determination on whether a violation occurred.

For more information on your rights and responsibilities, see the ombudsperson's tips on plagiarism and academic integrity.

Dealing with an allegation of violating the policy

If you are contacted about a concern that you may have violated the academic integrity policy by committing plagiarism or other forms of violations, visit the ombudsperson’s website for advice. You can also contact them directly at 250-721-8357 or ombuddy@uvic.ca.

Consequences

If you are found guilty of violating the academic integrity policy, the penalties may be:

  • a grade of zero for the assignment
  • a failing grade for the whole course
  • a notation on your transcript
  • disciplinary probation
  • suspension
  • rejection of parts or all of your thesis

The penalty assigned varies by circumstance, but is particularly serious when a student has already committed one violation. Along with these penalties, you will also receive a letter of reprimand. This letter will stay on your file for five years.

Plagiarism FAQs

The library has lots of useful information on plagiarism and citation help

When you’re doing group work, check with your instructor or TA on what work you must do individually and what can be done together.

Paraphrasing is a good way to convey an author’s point without distracting from yours. If their writing is complex, you can paraphrase and simplify it to make your work easier to read. You must make sure you represent the information accurately.

Make sure you’re presenting the author’s opinion accurately. Be very clear about what information belongs to the author and what is your own opinion. You have to cite your source, even when paraphrasing.

Summarizing an author’s argument is a way to create context for an argument. In general, summaries are useful as an introduction to an author’s thinking. If their article is important to your argument, you can use a summary to show why it is important.

When you’re actually talking about the article in detail, it’s usually best to quote or paraphrase.

When you summarize, you are trying to convey the most important point in an article. A good way to do this is to read the entire article and try to put its main point in a single sentence of your own words. Double-check that the author’s thesis statement agrees with what you have written.

If you are talking about a specific point that an author has made, it’s usually best to use a quotation.

In general, it is a good idea to put a quotation in the middle of a paragraph. Have one sentence leading into it (providing context for the quotation) and another leading out (clarifying why the quotation is relevant to the argument that you are making).

For specific details on how to format quotations, see the library’s style guides.

First, talk to your instructor so that you’re clear about their expectations. For further clarifications, you can consult the library style guides or ask a reference librarian.

The most important thing is to keep well-organized notes. If you copy something from an article or book (whether it’s an idea or a quotation), always write the source next to it in your notes. Most accidental plagiarism happens because students forget where they got something from.

Resources

The UVic library has citation help, a variety of style guides online and tips about plagiarism.

Watch a short video on academic integrity.

Visit Learn Anywhere for learning strategies in an online environment.

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