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Academic Conduct: Definitions and: Specific
Violations of Academic Honesty

Specific violations of academic honesty include plagiarism, computer assistant plagiarism, misrepresentation of sources, distortion of information, use of written work prepared by others ("ghost writers"), and multiple submission of papers without the permission of instructors.  To give students practical guidance in adhering to these requirements, below are noted the following specific violations of academic honesty and the ways in which they can be avoided.

Plagiarism (which comes from the Latin word, plagiare, to kidnap) is using the distinctive words or ideas of another as if they were your own. This includes all categories of expression: literary, artistic, scientific, mechanical, etc. All forms of plagiarism are violations of academic honesty.

In scholarship, another person’s distinctive words and/or ideas are regarded as his/her intellectual “property”. Respect for this “property” is as essential as respect for any property, and this respect is ensured when a student properly acknowledges the contributions of others to his/her work.

Awareness of debt to another person’s work is essential in avoiding plagiarism, but it is not enough. Students must also be careful scholars. Therefore, to avoid plagiarism, students should:

  • Take accurate notes when reading. Quote accurately and paraphrase correctly. Carefully write down the author, book or periodical title, and page numbers of quotes and paraphrases.
  • When using quotes or paraphrases in a paper, acknowledge specific sources by internal references or footnotes.
  • Carefully cite author, title, publication data, and page numbers (where appropriate) of all sources consulted.

In all subjects, some facts and ideas are considered general knowledge and need not be cited. Instructors can answer questions about whether or not information falls into this category.

Remember: when doubt exists, cite the source. Note: Careful scholarship applies to oral as well as written reports. In giving an oral report, students should also be aware of debts to sources.  They should write down references in notes, acknowledge these references where appropriate throughout the report, and cite all sources upon request at the end of the presentation.

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Computer Assisted Plagiarism
Students are reminded that computer-assisted plagiarism—i.e., representing another person’s work as their own—is still plagiarism. Student abuse of computer-assisted plagiarism is subject to the penalties stated in the Academic Honesty policy. The following are examples of computer assisted plagiarism:

  • If a student copies a computer file that contains another student’s assignment and submits it as his/her own work.
  • If a student copies a computer file that contains another student’s assignment and uses it as a model for his/her own assignment.
  • If students work together on an assignment, sharing the computer files or programs involved, and then submit individual copies of the assignment as their own individual work.
  • If a student knowingly allows another student to copy or use one of his/her computer files and then to submit that file, or a modification thereof, as his/her individual work. (Policy for Responsible Computing, CSU, Monterey Bay University).

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Misrepresentation of Sources and Distortion of Information
All misrepresentations of sources and distortion of facts and/or ideas constitute a violation of academic honesty. This includes:
  • All misleading or inaccurate references to authors, titles, publishing data, or page numbers in footnotes, internal references, and bibliographies; and
  • Any alteration of facts or ideas which misrepresents the meaning or intent of the original source (i.e., taking words out of context or misrepresentations of data in graphs, statistics, lab reports, etc.).

In order to avoid unintentional misrepresentations of information, students should take careful notes and transfer them accurately to their papers or reports. Before submitting work, students must proofread to verify the accuracy of statements and citations.

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Use of Written Work Prepared by “Ghost Writers” or Others
Submission of written essays, research papers, science reports, laboratory results, computer programs, or homework assignments, etc. prepared by a person other than the student submitting the assignment as his/her own work constitutes a misrepresentation of academic work and is a violation of academic honesty.

Discussion of essay topics, problems, or lab projects with teachers or friends helps to generate and clarify ideas and is not only permitted but also encouraged (unless the faculty member states that the work is to be done independently). However, the written assignment or report that is the product of these discussions must be the work of the student, a written expression of his/her final reflections on the subject.

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Multiple Submission
The same paper or report may not be submitted to two different classes in the same term, nor be resubmitted to another class in another term without the explicit permission of the instructors involved. To do so is a violation of academic honesty.

If, rather than write two separate papers, a student wishes to write a longer, more comprehensive paper or report that would incorporate the work being done in two related courses, the student must explain his/her academic goals for the project and secure the permission of the instructor in each class before starting work on the paper.

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Specific Comments on Test-taking

Any assistance on in-class tests and quizzes is considered a violation of academic honesty. This includes verbal assistance from another student, sharing notes, sharing pre-coded computers, and the use of any books or notes not explicitly permitted by the instructor. (These rules also apply to take-home tests, unless the instructor gives explicit directions to the contrary.)

In order to avoid any possible misunderstanding:

  • Students should not bring books and notes into the classroom on a testing day unless otherwise advised by the instructor.
  • Students should avoid any interaction with other students during a test unless they have the explicit permission of the instructor.

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