Skip to main contentCambridge University Reporter

No 6231

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Vol cxli No 35

pp. 977–1044

Notices by the General Board

University-wide statement on plagiarism: Notice

6 July 2011

The General Board has amended its statement on plagiarism (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 199) to clarify that plagiarism may occur irrespective of intent to deceive, and that sanctions include deprivation of a degree. The revised statement is set out below.

University-wide statement on plagiarism

The General Board, with the agreement of the Board of Examinations and the Board of Graduate Studies, has issued this guidance for the information of candidates, Examiners, and Supervisors. It may be supplemented by course-specific guidance from Faculties and Departments.

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. 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 a candidate’s 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 a candidate’s 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 candidate, other than as permitted for joint project work (i.e. where collaboration is concealed or has been forbidden). A candidate should include a general acknowledgement where he or she has 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published and unpublished material, including lecture handouts and other students’ work.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) vary according to the subject matter and mode of assessment. Faculties or Departments should issue written guidance on the relevant scholarly conventions for submitted work, and also make it clear to candidates what level of acknowledgement might be expected in written examinations. Candidates are required to familiarize themselves with this guidance, to follow it in all work submitted for assessment, and may be required to sign a declaration to that effect. If a candidate has any outstanding queries, clarification should be sought from her or his Director of Studies, Course Director or Supervisor as appropriate.

Failure to conform to the expected standards of scholarship (e.g. by not referencing sources) in examinations may affect the mark given to the candidate’s work. In addition, suspected cases of the use of unfair means (of which plagiarism is one form) will be investigated and may be brought to one of the University’s Courts. The Courts have wide powers to discipline those found guilty of using unfair means in an examination, including depriving such persons of membership of the University, and deprivation of a degree.