The University’s code of conduct concerning academic integrity is set out on the website at http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/personnel/cops/researchintegrity, and, while the code’s principles relate specifically to the conduct of research, all graduate students are advised to make themselves aware of the document’s contents.
The code of conduct mentions plagiarism, and in this context it is important for all taught course and research students within the division’s subject areas, to be aware of, and to follow, good practice in the use of sources and making appropriate reference. You will need to exercise judgement in determining when reference is required, and when material may be taken to be so much a part of the ‘general knowledge’ of your subject that formal citation would not be expected. The basis on which such judgements are made is likely to vary slightly between subject areas, as may also the style and format of making references, and your supervisor, or course organiser where appropriate, will be in the best position to advise you on such matters; in addition, these may be covered, along with other aspects of academic writing, in your induction training. By following the citation principles and practices in place in your subject area, you will develop a rigorous approach to academic referencing, and avoid inadvertent plagiarism.
Cases of apparently deliberate plagiarism, while happily infrequent in the University, are taken extremely seriously, and where examiners suspect that this has occurred, they bring the matter to the attention of the Proctors. Your attention is drawn to the Proctors’ and Assessor’s Memorandum, Section 9.5, ‘Conduct in Examinations’, and in particular to sections 4 and 5 and the concluding paragraph of the section:
“4 No candidate shall present for an examination as his or her own work any part or the substance of any part of another person’s work.
5 In any written work (whether thesis, dissertation, essay, coursework, or written examinations) passages quoted or closely paraphrased from another person’s work must be identified as quotations or paraphrases, and the source of the quoted or paraphrased material must be clearly acknowledged.
The University employs a series of sophisticated software applications to detect plagiarism in submitted examination work, both in terms of copying and collusion. It regularly monitors on-line essay banks, essay-writing services, and other potential sources of material. It reserves the right to check samples of submitted essays for plagiarism. Although the University strongly encourages the use of electronic resources by students in their academic work, any attempt to draw on third-party material without proper attribution may well attract severe disciplinary sanctions.”
Please refer also to Education Committee’s guidance on good practice in citation, and the avoidance of plagiarism, which can be found at http://www.ox.ac.uk/students/academic/goodpractice/.
This also provides a link to the University’s online training course about avoiding plagiarism. Access to this course is available via the SkillsPortal website (www.skillsportal.ox.ac.uk). You will need to create a user account before taking an online course.