PLAGIARISM & ASSESSMENT IRREGULARITIES POLICY
1 of 62 LSHTM Teaching Policies PLAGIARISM & ASSESSMENT IRREGULARITIES POLICY This document is available electronically, along with copies of relevant forms, at www.lshtm.ac.uk/edu/taughtcourses/exams_assmt_staff/assessmentirregularityr esources INTRODUCTION Scope of this policy This document sets out School policy, procedures and guidance for detecting and dealing with plagiarism, cheating and other forms of irregularity in assessed student work. This is intended to be applicable across all LSHTM provision, including taught courses in faceto-face (F2F) and distance learning (DL) modes, as well as for research degrees (RD).
Audience for this policy This document is aimed primarily at staff, and all staff should be aware of the „plagiarism detection guidance‟ given in Annex 1. Comprehensive further guidance and documentation is included in further Annexes, as listed below.
Formal definitions, procedures and penalties for dealing with assessment irregularities are set out in Procedures at Annex 4 (for taught courses) and Annex 5 (for research degrees). Staff such as Faculty Taught Course Directors and Research Degrees Directors should be closely familiar with these. Any students against whom a case is raised should also be referred to Annex 4 or Annex 5 as appropriate. Contents Annex 1: Detecting student plagiarism – guidance for staff ___ 2
Annex 2: Plagiarism declaration form for students ___ 13
Annex 3: Procedures for the use of Turnitin at LSHTM ___ 15
Annex 4: Formal Assessment Irregularities procedure for taught courses 19 Annex 5: Formal Assessment Irregularities procedure for research degrees 40 Annex 6: Standard notification to students about suspected assessment irregularities 60 Annex 7: Assessment Irregularity record form ___ 61
Related documentation Students are provided with guidance in this area via course handbooks, which give definitions of plagiarism and other assessment irregularities and provide outline guidance on good referencing practice.
Before first submitting any coursework for assessment, all students are required to sign and submit a form, as at Annex 2, to declare they have read, understood and will follow the School‟s definitions and guidance.
The School‟s Academic Writing handbook provides a further key resource for students. Staff should also be aware of other relevant LSHTM Codes of Practice, policies and procedures – particularly as included in the Assessment handbook and the Re-sits policy. © London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, 2013 Approved by the Associate Dean of Studies – minor revisions to ensure currency made Feb 2013.
2 of 62 Annex 1: Detecting student plagiarism – guidance for staff Executive Summary This guidance is aimed at all staff involved in marking student work.
It describes how to look out for plagiarism or related assessment irregularities, and what to do if you identify something suspicious. The key principle is that staff should not take unilateral action (e.g. marking down) if you encounter or suspect such issues. Rather, you should refer them on for investigation. Identifying plagiarism Careful scrutiny by markers is the School‟s primary method of detecting plagiarism or any other irregularities in assessed student work. Markers are expected to use their own professional expertise and experience to evaluate whether a piece of work appears bona fide or not.
Section 4 of this guidance gives a bullet-point list of items to look out for which may raise suspicion or warrant further investigation. The School also makes use of the Turnitin plagiarism detection tool. MSc projects and Research Degree upgrading/review documents are all checked in Turnitin as standard. Certain MSc modules are also piloting use of Turnitin for their assessments. However, Turnitin should not be relied on as the only check for plagiarism. Following up suspicions Markers should always report any suspicions about student work (e.g. if you suspect plagiarism, collusion, exam misconduct or other assessment irregularities) to the Module Organiser, Course Director or Research Degrees Coordinator with responsibility for the assessment.
It can be helpful to investigate slightly further yourself before reporting a suspicion, e.g. checking suspicious phrases in a search engine or a likely source textbook. However, even if this turns up no further evidence, if your suspicion remains then you should report it. The relevant Taught Course Director or Research Degrees Director will then investigate whether there is a case to answer. Students will be presumed innocent until such time as proceedings establish otherwise. You should provisionally grade the work under suspicion, acting on the assumption that it is genuine. However, marks will be withheld from the involved students until investigations have concluded.
If you have any queries on any of these matters, then please speak in the first instance to your Taught Course Director or Research Degrees Director. Contents of this Annex Executive Summary ___ 1
Identifying plagiarism ___ 2
Following up suspicions ___ 2
1. Scope of this guidance ___ 3
2. Context – „prevention is better than cure ___ 3
3. The School‟s definition of plagiarism, and related procedures ___ 4
4. Looking out for plagiarism in student work ___ 5
5. Use of the Turnitin tool ___ 6
6. Current procedures for different types of work ___ 7
6.1 For taught modules (both face-to-face and distance learning ___ 7
6.2 For MSc projects (both face-to-face and distance learning ___ 8
6.3 For formal exams (both face-to-face and distance learning ___ 8
6.4 For short courses .
3 of 62 6.5 For research degrees ___ 8
7. Following up suspected plagiarism ___ 9
7.1 Notification of suspicions ___ 9
7.2 Communication with students ___ 9
7.3 Formal procedures for face-to-face programmes ___ 9
7.4 Formal procedures for distance learning programmes ___ 10
7.5 Legal implications ___ 10
8. Distinguishing plagiarism from poor academic practice ___ 10
9. Feeding back to students about their work ___ 11
10. Further guidance on this topic ___ 11
1. Scope of this guidance This guidance is aimed at all staff involved in reviewing student work, particularly markers, Course Directors, Module Organisers, tutors and supervisors – across both face-to-face and distance learning modes, and all forms of provision (including modules, MScs, Diplomas, short courses and research degrees).
It sets out the School‟s policy on: how you are expected to look out for plagiarism (or related assessment irregularities) in student work; how you should follow up when you suspect plagiarism in a piece of student work; the more formal first steps to be taken when you believe you have identified plagiarism; and distinguishing plagiarism from poor academic practice. The guidance should apply for all types of work done by students or prospective students and reviewed by staff – particularly assessed work, but potentially anything else, e.g. formative essays that do not count towards a degree, research proposals from Research Degree application forms.
While focused on written work, it may be applied for work of all kinds, e.g. multimedia submissions, posters, computer code.
2. Context – „prevention is better than cure‟ Before getting into the detail of how to spot and follow up on plagiarism in student work, it should be emphasised that the School‟s policy is to encourage preventative measures against plagiarism, rather than to take a punitively-focused approach. Two key approaches are encouraged: (i) Guidance for students should make very clear what is expected of them in their assessed work. The School provides extensive standard information in documents such as Course Handbooks or the Academic Writing handbook – including descriptions of what plagiarism is, how to avoid it, how to cite and reference correctly, etc.
At course level, this should be supplemented by clear guidance on the conventions that apply for the relevant subject, field or discipline. The key points should be included in Course Handbooks, although more detailed information may be given through other means such as face-to-face sessions. At module level, relevant information should be integrated into teaching wherever possible – e.g. when introducing the assessment, to give examples of what is expected or what is not acceptable for the specific task at hand. Such guidance may be given either in writing or through other means. Where specific conventions apply for the particular subject, field or discipline the module is part of, this should be made clear.
(ii) Good assessment design should minimise opportunities for plagiarism, and encourage appropriate use of sources and citations. Any staff who are developing assessments for new modules or overhauling old ones may benefit from investigating the following: Some excellent ideas and good practice for assessment design are given in Carroll (2002), chapters 2 and 3 (full reference given in Section 10).
4 of 62 A number of useful online resources and academic papers about „designing out plagiarism‟ and encouraging originality in student work are hosted by the JISC Internet Plagiarism Advisory Service, at: http://archive.plagiarismadvice.org/designing-out-plagiarism (resources/papers) http://archive.plagiarismadvice.org/briefing-papers (good practice guide) Finally, feedback to students about issues like referencing and use of sources in their assessed work can also play an important role in improving their future standard of work.
More guidance on this is also given later in this document.
3. The School‟s definition of plagiarism, and related procedures All staff involved in assessing student work should be aware of the School‟s definitions of plagiarism and assessment irregularities, and the related procedures and documents which apply. On registering, all students must sign a statement to say they will comply with the School‟s regulations, including the Assessment Irregularities procedure – as shown at Annex 1, or available via the LSHTM web site at www.lshtm.ac.uk/edu/taughtcourses/plagiarismdecform.doc The School‟s definitions of assessment irregularities are given in this procedure.
The key ones to be aware of are on plagiarism and cheating, as follow. Related definitions of collusion, personation and fraud are also given.
Plagiarism is the copying or use of the work of others, whether intentionally or unintentionally, as if it were your own. Such work may come from any source whether published or unpublished, in print or online – including words, images, audio recordings, diagrams, formulae, computer code, performances, ideas, judgements, discoveries and results. To avoid plagiarism: Where any use or mention is made of the work of others, it should be acknowledged. A recognised citation system should be used. Quotations must accurately refer to and acknowledge the originator(s) of the work. Direct quotations, whether extended or short, must always be clearly identified.
Paraphrasing – using other words to express the ideas or judgements of others – must be clearly acknowledged.
Work done in collaboration with others must appropriately refer to their involvement and input. Use of your own past work should be referenced as clearly as the work of others. Cheating is a deliberate attempt to deceive in order to gain advantage in an assessed piece of work, including coursework, in-module assessments and examinations. This covers a range of offences, from significant instances of plagiarism to exam misconduct. Students are given guidance on all these topics as part of course handbooks – with slightly different tailored guidance being given in face-to-face MSc handbooks, Distance Learning course handbooks, and the research degrees handbook.
The most comprehensive guidance, including how to avoid committing an offence, is drawn together in a generic Academic Writing handbook which serves as a resource for all students – including those on individual modules or short courses who may not otherwise be given detailed guidance.
Note that students are also required to submit a „plagiarism declaration form‟ prior to submitting their first piece of assessed work (the form only needs to be filled in once). Students must declare on this form that they have read and understood the School‟s definitions of plagiarism and cheating, and that all material they submit for assessment during their LSHTM studies will be their own work, and appropriately acknowledge any use of the work of others. The form should be lodged with
5 of 62 either the Teaching Support Office, the DL Office or the relevant Research Degrees Administrator; it is the responsibility of these offices to check that all students have submitted a form.
4. Looking out for plagiarism in student work When marking work, you have a responsibility to consider whether it fits the marking criteria you have been given, the assessment guidance the students were given, and the School‟s expectations on academic standards. This does not mean you are expected to go through everything with a „fine tooth-comb‟; but that you should mark as normal while being alert to any discrepancies that suggest an irregularity. If you encounter anything that raises your suspicions, do not hesitate to follow up – either investigating further or referring the issue on, as described later.
The School‟s position is that to protect academic standards, any suspected plagiarism should be investigated and resolved.
The School uses the Turnitin „originality checking and plagiarism prevention‟ service as one means of checking for and evidencing plagiarism in student work. This is described in more detail later. However, it is important to note that Turnitin should not be the only method of checking for plagiarism – markers are expected to use their own professional expertise and experience to evaluate whether a piece of work appears bona fide or may be suspect. Factors which might typically arouse suspicion or warrant further investigation include: Any extended pieces of writing which clearly draw on established ideas or literature but do not contain quotations or citations.
Work that closely resembles that submitted by other students. Sections or passages with a markedly different writing style to the rest of the text – e.g. in an extreme case, introductions and conclusions written in grammatically incorrect English and not addressing the body of the paper that is written in flawless, complex English. Unusual use of terminology – e.g. highly specific professional jargon from a student just starting out in the discipline. Work that addresses the topic only obliquely, or addresses just one aspect. Discrepancies in the flow of argument, or between standard of language and the meaning conveyed – e.g.
a complex sentence that is well-written in itself, but does not fit with the sentences around it.
Strange or abrupt changes in grammar – e.g. tense, use of active/passive, use of first/third person. Strange or abrupt changes in font and/or layout. Variant use of sentence structure – e.g. if sentences are unusually long; or if most sections of a paper have short (average 15 word) sentences, but some have much longer (average 30+ word) sentences. Signs of datedness – e.g. lack of recent or topical references, use of very old or out-of-date papers/sources where more recent material is easily available, bibliographies where all sources are several years old.
Use of a mixture of referencing styles, both in the paper itself or in the bibliography.
Bibliographies that do not reflect the topic of the assignment, or only cite material not available locally. URLs or other identifications of external sources left in headers or footers. Inconsistent use of American versus British spelling. Work that is out of character for this particular student, especially if it exceeds their previously observed level of performance or language. [The above list has been drawn from, and for some points quotes verbatim, Carroll (2002:63-64) – full reference given in Section 10] Of course, none of these are definitive signs of plagiarism, and it is important not to jump to conclusions.
Students whose first language is not English may be capable of producing work that is original and of a good intellectual standard, despite making some of the kind of errors of presentation described above. Things like sentence length and complexity can vary in many people‟s writing; and inconsistencies of style may be relatively commonplace. However, these kind
6 of 62 of points are generally good indicators that the work should be investigated further. Once suspicion has been raised, it is usually relatively easy to determine whether or not plagiarism has taken place. 5. Use of the Turnitin tool Background: LSHTM subscribes to the Turnitin UK online plagiarism detection service, recommended by HEFCE and JISC. The software is provided by a US company, iParadigms, but delivered online via the Turnitin UK website (www.submit.ac.uk) run by the Northumbria Learning group, an offshoot of Northumbria University, who also run the JISC Plagiarism Advisory Service.
It has been used successfully at LSHTM since 2004-05.
How it works: Turnitin compares students' work against a very extensive pool of journals, periodicals, books, databases, current and archived internet pages, and other published or grey literature, as well as previously submitted student work from subscribing institutions around the world (including from current and past LSHTM students). It then generates an “originality report” highlighting text from the submitted work which has been found at other sources. This includes a facility for instant side-by-side comparisons between submitted work and any individual sources.
Turnitin screenshot: comparison against an individual text source Coverage: At the last count, in 2012, Turnitin covered 20+ billion pages of web content, 110,000+ professional, academic and commercial journals and publications, 220 million student papers, and was continuing to add content at a rate of 150,000 papers per day.
However, please also remember that the comparison database is finite, and can never guarantee to be a 100% comprehensive resource of published literature/text – particularly in more specialised fields. Just because something is not picked up by Turnitin as matching to another source does not mean it is original work.
7 of 62 Copyright and Data Protection: There should be no copyright, data protection or confidentiality implications from use of the Turnitin service – it is simply a tool to make plagiarism procedures easier to implement, and is consistent with the School‟s Assessment Irregularity procedures. Moreover, all students are required to sign a declaration when registering for their course, to state: “I understand that when submitting work to the School for assessment it may be necessary for the School to make copies, or authorise third parties to make copies, for purposes of identifying and preventing plagiarism.
I consent to the transfer of my assignments and any other submitted material, plus any necessary personal data, to accomplish this. I understand that the School uses the TurnitinUK service, and that TurnitinUK and its parent or associated companies will at all times abide by the applicable EU rules regarding the use and protection of my personal data.” Purpose: Turnitin should have two main benefits for markers at LSHTM. First, it will identify where there is a large proportion of copied text, legitimate or otherwise. Second, it pulls together and presents all source texts which it identifies as relating to the document under scrutiny, so as to allow easier comparison.
This should be a more comprehensive approach to checking quotes, citations or potential plagiarism than hit-and-miss use of internet search engines or similar. Usage: Turnitin will be used in all cases where suspicions have been raised about a piece of work and are being formally followed up. This should be prompted by the responsible Taught Course Director or Research Degrees Director at the „initial investigation‟ stage. Additionally, MSc projects and Research Degree upgrading/review documents are checked in Turnitin as standard, and certain MSc modules are piloting use of Turnitin for checking assessments.
Access: Staff in the Teaching Support Office and Distance Learning Office, as well as Research Degrees Administrators, have standard access to Turnitin and will normally be expected to upload any work for scrutiny. Additional logins may be requested via the Teaching Support Office. Note that Turnitin is designed as an interactive online system, and although Originality Reports can be printed out this does not provide the same ease of use for looking through and evaluating matches. More detailed procedures for the use of Turnitin are given at Annex 3. Informing decisions: It is vital to note that Turnitin does not make decisions about a piece of work or its author.
Rather, it provides information from which members of staff can make a judgement about whether any copied text is an accurate and legitimate citation/quote/reference, or has been plagiarised. It is anticipated that Turnitin may be used at two distinct stages within the process of investigating potential plagiarism – First, to inform an initial investigation (by Taught Course Director or Research Degrees Director) of whether there is a case to answer.
Second, to provide more formal evidence for a Panel or Committee looking to make decisions about a case. 6. Current procedures for different types of work The following notes describe current standard practice and expectations about how different types of assessment should be checked for plagiarism. 6.1 For taught modules (both face-to-face and distance learning) Scrutiny by markers is the main method for detecting plagiarism in module assignments, as these are not run through Turnitin as standard. If a marker becomes suspicious when reading a particular piece of work, they should immediately contact the Module Organiser, who will refer this on to the Taught Course Director for investigation.
At the discretion of the Module Organiser and Taught Course Director, it may be decided that all student work for a particular module or module task should be run through Turnitin as standard. If so, then for reasons of consistency and fairness, all submitted work should be uploaded and checked, rather than just uploading a random sample for spot-checking.
8 of 62 Note that Turnitin scrutiny requires an electronic version of material, so will be more difficult for modules which require submissions in hardcopy only. If Turnitin is to be used as standard for a module, the assessment criteria should require work to be submitted electronically.
Otherwise, since most hardcopy student work is likely to have been done on a computer and printed off, it will generally be possible to scan it in and submit the scanned file to Turnitin. Most modern scanners will have a character-recognition mode which picks up the actual text rather than scanning the full page as a picture, and will then be capable of saving this as a PDF file suitable for Turnitin. As a worst-case scenario, even if a student has submitted a handwritten assignment, key paragraphs for scrutiny may be electronically transcribed – although the TSO or DL Office will not necessarily have the resources to do this for a large amount of work.
6.2 For MSc projects (both face-to-face and distance learning) Projects are significant extended pieces of academic writing which, where taken, form a major component of an MSc degree at the School. Project markers are therefore expected to be particularly alert for plagiarism. All projects are also run through Turnitin on a standard basis (students are required to submit their reports in both hardcopy and electronic format, the latter being used); with the full set of projects for a course or even an entire Faculty being scrutinised by a designated „project moderator‟ – normally the Taught Course Director.
Such horizontal scrutiny provides a consistent means of detecting substantially plagiarised work. However, it should be noted that this is necessarily toplevel; „project moderators‟ will focus on projects which show larger proportional matches to other sources.
6.3 For formal exams (both face-to-face and distance learning) Rigorous exam hall procedures are the School‟s main approach to preventing irregularities in examinations. When reading through scripts, the main thing markers may wish to look out for is evidence of collusion (such as very similar answers from different students) or even cheating (such as correct answers without any evidence of workings or calculations). Plagiarism is not normally an issue for exams, and students are not generally expected to provide references or citations in work under exam conditions to the same standard as work done in private study time.
However, one other thing to look out for is rote learning, where a student memorises someone else‟s text and regurgitates it without attribution – this may be classed as either plagiarism or poor academic practice, subject to judgement on the case in question. 6.4 For short courses Short course assessments should normally follow the procedures outlined above for module assignments or exams, as appropriate and at the discretion of involved staff. 6.5 For research degrees Research degree students are expected to display the highest standards of academic good practice in all work related to their degree.
Supervisors should ensure they are confident that from an early stage of study, their students understand how to cite and reference correctly and avoid any risks of plagiarism or other irregularities. For the main elements of student work: Upgrading reports or DrPH review reports should be run through Turnitin by the Faculty Research Degrees Administrator prior to the meeting. The version submitted may be a penultimate draft, and does not have to be the final document. In addition to top-level scrutiny by the RDA, the Chair of the relevant Panel should also review the Originality Report.
As good practice, penultimate versions of research degree theses should be run through Turnitin prior to formal submission. Scrutiny of the Originality Report may be undertaken by the supervisor or another appropriate Faculty nominee. While it is hoped that any instances of plagiarism at this stage would be very rare, such a review is likely to be useful in checking the quality of citations and references and prompting any last corrections or improvements. DrPH Organisational & Policy Analysis reports should also be run through Turnitin as standard, by Research Degrees Administrators, and scrutinised by the DrPH Course Director or their nominee.
9 of 62 DrPH module assignments may be scrutinised in line with the procedures outlined above for other taught modules. Research degree poster presentations, or any other work done during the course of a degree, may be referred for further scrutiny at the instigation of any concerned member of staff. Staff should also note that prospective research degree applicants are required to confirm on their application form "I declare that this application is my own work, and that any elements which make use of the work of others have been clearly indicated through a citation or acknowledgement.
I consent to information from this application being transferred to the plagiarism detection service TurnitinUK to check originality.” Project proposals or other information from application forms will be run through Turnitin on a standard basis by either Research Degrees Administrators or the Registry. Where an issue is identified, it should be referred to the relevant Research Degrees Director to follow up and take action as appropriate.
7. Following up suspected plagiarism 7.1 Notification of suspicions Where a marker or another member of staff suspects plagiarism (or any other forms of assessment irregularity, like collusion or exam misconduct), they should normally investigate slightly further themselves – e.g. by checking suspicious phrases in an internet search engine, a likely source textbook, other scripts seen, etc. However, even if this turns up no further evidence, if suspicions remain then the matter should be reported.
In the first instance, such suspicions or allegations should be notified – without undue delay – to the member of staff with management responsibility for the relevant assessment, e.g.
the Module Organiser (for a module assignment), Course Director (for an MSc project), or Research Degrees Coordinator (for research degree work). This member of staff should then inform the relevant Taught Course Director or Research Degrees Director, who will carry out an initial investigation to establish whether there is a case to answer.
7.2 Communication with students Staff who have reported suspected plagiarism are not necessarily expected to be identified as part of formal proceedings. All subsequent follow-up with the student should be handled via the Taught Course Director or Research Degrees Director and other staff with management responsibility for the assessment, i.e. Module Organiser or Course Director. Where the initial investigation suggests there is a case to answer, the Taught Course Director or Research Degrees Director will notify students. A template for doing so is provided at Annex 6.
Note that where an irregularity is alleged, results should not be confirmed for the assessment in question until a verdict is reached.
Where this involves work which is expected to form the basis for a separate subsequent assessment (e.g. a module assignment which will be further developed in a later advanced module), then initiation or submission/examination/marking of the subsequent assessment should be deferred until a verdict has been reached. 7.3 Formal procedures for face-to-face programmes For students registered on face-to-face LSHTM courses, any allegations should be followed up under the Assessment Irregularities procedure (see links given earlier in this document). This has two main „levels‟ after an initial investigation by the Taught Course Director or Research Degrees Director has determined that there is a case to answer.
In general, most cases will be dealt with by a less formal Irregularity Investigation Panel (IIP) consisting of the Taught Course Director plus the relevant Course Director or Module Organiser, or Research Degrees Director plus the relevant Research Degrees Coordinator. If
10 of 62 the Panel decides that an irregularity has occurred, the student will be given the opportunity to accept a decision and penalty set by the IIP. In certain cases, a more formal Assessment Irregularities Committee (AIC) may be required. Cases should proceed directly to an AIC if warranted by severity of the allegation, if the allegation would constitute a repeat offence, or if specifically requested by student.
Otherwise, an AIC will be required if the IIP believe that the case warrants more severe penalties, or if the student is unwilling to accept the decision or penalty of the IIP.
This process will apply for all LSHTM-registered students, whether on award-bearing courses or individual modules. The procedures also make reference to what to do for cases where students are registered for a primary award with other institutions (e.g. intercollegiate students), or for cases involving LSHTM students taking modules at other institutions 7.4 Formal procedures for distance learning programmes Students on the School‟s distance learning courses are registered with the University of London International Programmes, whose Regulation 1 Annex 6 „Procedures for the Consideration of Allegations of Examination Offence‟ apply.
This defines plagiarism in almost identically the same way as the School‟s internal procedure, and staff should not need to treat distance learning work in any way „differently‟ when marking. Any suspicions or allegations should be identified as described above, and notified to the relevant member of staff (normally the Course Director or Module Organiser) to take forward with the Taught Course Director.
As per LSHTM procedures, Taught Course Directors should then conduct an initial investigation, and may convene an Irregularities Investigation Panel to help clarify matters further. Where there appears to be a substantive case to answer, the matter will need to be referred to the International Programmes to take forward under their procedures. However, cases of poor academic practice or poor scholarship should not be referred; and IIPs (or Taught Course Directors liaising direct with markers) may make recommendations as appropriate where matters are not being referred on to the International Programmes.
7.5 Legal implications Staff who become involved in a case of (potential) student plagiarism or other irregularities may sometimes worry about the possibility of legal implications. Please be reassured that this remains rare and unlikely, and were it to arise then any action would be expected to be against the School rather than individual staff. However, to remain fully protected staff should ensure that they follow the School‟s procedures rigorously from the moment any potential case is identified. Please also remember that under the Data Protection Act, students are entitled to see any records held about them; so use appropriately cautious language in any emails about particular cases, or any documents placed on file.
The main areas in which an institution might be legally challenged are over procedures (as per the Human Rights Act these must be clear and transparent and provide rights of appeal etc.) or bias (failing to treat everyone equally and in accordance with the procedures). Otherwise, the School‟s policy makes clear that irregularities should be dealt with as an academic judgement only; such matters are not reviewable by the courts – although note that they would be reviewable if treated as disciplinary matters, and students have the right to legal representation if a judgement will affect their career.
Plagiarism cases may also sometimes throw up the possibility of copyright infringement (possibly even infringement of staff members‟ copyrights); but this should be dealt with as a separate matter. Some further information on this topic is available at http://archive.plagiarismadvice.org/resources/legal-issues 8. Distinguishing plagiarism from poor academic practice Suspicious or inappropriate-seeming elements of work may potentially constitute „poor academic practice‟ (defined further below), rather than „plagiarism‟ as defined by the School. Markers are not
11 of 62 expected to have to make judgements to distinguish between the two – rather, any suspicious or inappropriate work that potentially meets the School‟s definition of plagiarism should be referred for investigation under the Assessment Irregularities procedure.
Formal investigations may end up concluding that something was poor academic practice rather than plagiarism; but if in any doubt, the decision should be made in a formal way rather than based on markers‟ individual judgements. However, markers are expected to use their own expertise to make judgements about cases of poor academic practice which do not represent potential plagiarism, and may choose to award marks that are lower than they might otherwise have been. Examples of poor academic practice can include: where work has been attributed, but not using a recognised citation style; inconsistent use of different referencing styles in the main text or the bibliography; poor quality of referencing; overuse of potentially low-quality sources such as wiki-based internet sites; excessive use of referencing; etc.
Academic judgements about the quality of work should take note of poor academic practice, i.e. this can quite appropriately affect marking. For example, a piece of work consisting almost entirely of referenced quotations may be liable to fail if it demonstrates a lack of original argument or analysis, or understanding and engagement with the topic. 9. Feeding back to students about their work If a piece of work has been referred for investigation under the Assessment Irregularities procedure, the student should not be given feedback until a verdict has been reached. However, as with any other piece of work, the student will be entitled to feedback.
Markers will be expected to write the feedback, but the Taught Course Director (or Research Degrees Director) must be given the opportunity to review it and may choose to edit or add to it before it is sent to the student. Whatever the verdict, where a piece of work has been referred on for investigation, it will usually be appropriate to give the student some specific feedback on academic writing issues – e.g. noting alternative approaches that might have been taken, indicating good or bad referencing practice, or suggesting how the student might improve their next submission. Investigations may recommend that the student be asked to improve their understanding of School guidance in specific areas.
Where a marker has identified elements of poor academic practice that do not constitute plagiarism and have not been referred on, these should likewise be mentioned in feedback and the student encouraged to improve.
Please be aware that markers must not make decisions about plagiarism – e.g. awarding a lower mark, while mentioning errors and areas to improve as part of the feedback to the student. Such issues should always be referred on and decisions made about the issue. This helps ensure that consistent standards and penalties are applied across the School, in a way that is equitable for all students. 10. Further guidance on this topic Two of the most well-recognised standard texts on plagiarism prevention and detection for UK higher education are: Carroll, J. (2002), A handbook for deterring plagiarism in higher education (Oxford: Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development) Carroll, J.
and Appleton, J. (2001), „Plagiarism: a good practice guide‟ (JISC and Oxford Brookes University, http://plagiarismadvice.org/images/plagad/resources/institutional_approache s/Carroll_good practice.pdf )
12 of 62 Both of these are highly commended for all staff interested in developing an understanding of plagiarism-related issues. The other major support resource for staff in UK higher education institutions interested in best practice to address plagiarism and ensure the authenticity of student work is the JISC-established Plagiarism Advisory Service based at Northumbria University, www.plagiarismadvice.org The „resources‟ section of the site provides a wealth of useful information, of which the „good practice guide‟ mentioned above is just one.
13 of 62 Annex 2: Plagiarism declaration form for students DECLARATION ON PLAGIARISM AND CHEATING All students are required to complete the following declaration before taking any assessment at LSHTM.
Only one declaration is required per student for the duration of a student’s course of study, but it must be returned before any work is assessed – i.e. prior to the submission date for module assignments (such as essays) or projects, or prior to the test date for module tests, practicals, or other types of formal exam. School policy LSHTM defines plagiarism, cheating and other forms of assessment irregularity (such as fraud, collusion and personation) in formal Assessment Irregularities procedures. These also set out how any allegations will be dealt with, and potential penalties that may be applied.
Procedures and further documents for taught courses (including all MScs, diplomas, certificates, diplomas and short courses) and research degrees are all available via www.lshtm.ac.uk/edu/taughtcourses/exams_assmt_staff/assessmentirregularityr esources/ Plagiarism is the copying or use of the work of others, whether intentionally or unintentionally, as if it were your own. Such work may come from any source whether published or unpublished, in print or online – including words, images, audio recordings, diagrams, formulae, computer code, performances, ideas, judgements, discoveries and results.
To avoid plagiarism: Where any use or mention is made of the work of others, it should be acknowledged. A recognised citation system should be used.
Quotations must accurately refer to and acknowledge the originator(s) of the work. Direct quotations, whether extended or short, must always be clearly identified. Paraphrasing – using other words to express the ideas or judgements of others – must be clearly acknowledged. Work done in collaboration with others must appropriately refer to their involvement and input. Use of your own past work should be referenced as clearly as the work of others. Cheating is a deliberate attempt to deceive in order to gain advantage in an assessed piece of work, including coursework, in-module assessments and examinations.
This covers a range of offences, from significant instances of plagiarism to exam misconduct. Please consult your tutor, Course Director or supervisor if you are in any doubt about what is or is not permissible. Further outline guidance is given in course handbooks; and extensive guidance on good practice and how to avoid plagiarism is given in the Academic Writing handbook, at www.lshtm.ac.uk/edu/qualityassurance/academicwritinghandbook.pdf The School also uses a software program called Turnitin to check for plagiarism, helping to ensure that all assessed work is marked fairly and equitably, and no student gains an unfair advantage.
Please note that any work submitted for assessment may be checked using Turnitin. > See overleaf for declaration to be signed by each student
14 of 62 Declaration by student I have read and understood the School’s definitions of plagiarism and cheating given on the preceding page, and I am aware that more extensive explanations about these and related matters are given in the Assessment Irregularity procedures and my course handbook. I declare that all material I submit for assessment during my registration as a student at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is and will be my own work, and that when quoting, referring to or otherwise making use of the work of others I shall acknowledge this appropriately. I understand that potentially severe penalties may be applied if I fail to comply with School policies and guidance in these matters.
I understand that when submitting work to the School for assessment it may be necessary for the School to make copies, or share copies with others, or authorise third parties to make copies, for purposes of identifying and preventing plagiarism. I consent to the transfer of my assignments and any other submitted material, plus any necessary personal data, to accomplish this. I understand that the School uses the TurnitinUK service, and that TurnitinUK and its parent or associated companies will at all times abide by the applicable EU rules regarding the use and protection of my personal data.
Signature Full Name (printed) Course/Department Date Please return the completed form to your Course Administrator or Research Degrees Administrator
15 of 62 Annex 3: Procedures for the use of Turnitin at LSHTM Staff access to Turnitin Turnitin access should be managed via the Teaching Support Office, Distance Learning Office or Research Degrees Administrators, who can supply login details or set staff up with a personal login. For individual courses, project work should normally be uploaded to a course login account (corresponding to the course email address). It is the responsibility of the relevant administrative staff to ensure that course accounts are administered correctly.
Student access to Turnitin Turnitin access details for any accounts holding student work should not be given to students – not least as this would give access to view other students‟ work.
It is not current School policy for students to be given their own access to Turnitin. However, in the unlikely event of students requesting visibility of the report on their work produced by Turnitin, the relevant administrator could download a copy of the Originality Report for them. Getting started A selection of useful training materials is available on the Turnitin UK website at www.submit.ac.uk/en_gb/support-services These include a „quickstart‟ guide, narrated videos and an instructor‟s manual which provides stepby-step guides to uploading and viewing material (their term „instructor‟ will apply to both LSHTM administrators uploading material and LSHTM academics checking Originality Reports).
The system is ultimately fairly simple, although tends to use its own terminology (e.g. „classes‟, „assignments‟, „Originality Reports‟) and does not always make it immediately obvious where to click for a particular function. It also offers a wide range of additional functions that are not currently in use at LSHTM (e.g. for having students check their own work, or using Turnitin as platform for grading work) which may safely be ignored.
Good practice for uploading student work to Turnitin Work should normally be uploaded to Turnitin by staff in the TSO or DL Office. In all cases, it is important that work be uploaded in a clear and consistent way – to make individual pieces of work easy to find, and minimise issues such as identifiability. School policy is that all student work uploaded to Turnitin should be anonymised by candidate number – the only identifying information should be course, year and candidate number. Turnitin uses a structure of nested „classes‟ and „assignments‟ to organise work; their training materials include a short step-by-step video on setting these up.
It is suggested that „classes‟ should normally be set up for each different academic year, and the different „assignments‟ set up within these – e.g. with separate assignment folders for things like individual submissions and groupwork submissions, and perhaps a “test” assignment for one-off or ad-hoc items. Note that when prompted to set a „class enrolment‟ password after creating a new class, this is not relevant (we are not asking LSHTM students to use the system directly) so just set it to anything. Instructions on uploading student work to Turnitin Administrators should upload work to Turnitin as follows: (i) Preparation – collate work from each student into a single file and anonymise it.
It is recommended that you copy all student work received electronically (e.g. via email or on a CD-ROM) over to a restricted-access folder on the shared office drive. Take whatever filename the students have given, and „save as‟ with their candidate number at the start of the filename. This should make it easier for you to later check off what you have uploaded.
16 of 62 Turnitin currently accepts Word, Text, Postscript, PDF, HTML, and RTF file types. If a student has submitted work in any other format (notably Excel), they should be asked to re-submit in an appropriate format – usually, by creating a PDF. Where a student has supplied multiple files, you should aim to collate these and save into a single electronic file which can be uploaded to the system. If this is particularly difficult, then it is possible to upload multiple files to Turnitin – although that is not recommended, and files would need to be clearly distinguished, e.g. „Candidate X part 1 of 4‟.
Please ensure the file is anonymised to Candidate number only (removing student name or other personally identifiable information which is not relevant to the project itself). You should also remove any metadata – e.g. for Microsoft Word files, clicking on „File‟, „Properties‟, then removing any personal information in the tab for „Author‟.
(ii) Uploading – the system is quite straightforward and easy to use. Go to the Turnitin UK site at www.submit.ac.uk, click User Login and enter login details (email address and password – the password is case-sensitive) for the course / area the work falls under. Navigate through the list of classes and assignments, e.g. clicking class “Student Work 2010- 11” so you then see assignment "MSc Projects 2010-11", or similar. As per the notes above on administering accounts, you may need to create a new „class‟ or „assignment‟ in which to put the work you are about to upload.
Click the Submit icon next to the assignment name, which brings up a submission screen.
The method should be set to „file upload‟, although you may find it slightly easier to switch to „bulk upload‟ when about to deal with a whole batch of work from different students. In either case, the information you need to give is first name (state course/module/area – may wish to put an abbreviation, e.g. MSc PH); last name (put the candidate no.), and submission title (put the candidate no. again, then add their assignment or project title after this if you so wish). Click „Browse‟ to select the appropriate file you have saved on your drive – this is where it can be very helpful to have put the candidate number in the filename – then attach and submit.
The system can let you view the text of the project before you confirm upload. This can be helpful to make sure you‟ve put the right file against the right candidate number, and that Turnitin has picked it all up appropriately if the student has used any unusual formats. Once submitted, you then have options to either make another submission, or return to the inbox which shows all submitted work for that assignment.
Note that after submission, reports may typically take about 20 minutes to process on the system before you can view them. After uploading a large batch, it may take longer before they are all ready to view. Instructions for academic staff checking student work on Turnitin Once uploaded, academic staff can view Originality Reports online as follows: Go to the Turnitin UK site at www.submit.ac.uk, click User Login and enter login details (email address and password – the password is case-sensitive) for the account to which work has been uploaded.
This will show a list of "classes"; click the relevant one e.g.
Student Work 2011-12”. This will then brings up a list of "assignments"; click the View icon next to the relevant one (e.g. "MSc Projects 2011-12", or similar) to bring up the relevant work. Work should have been uploaded by candidate number. Click on any of the Report icons next to a candidate number / assignment title to see the relevant „Originality Report‟ for that candidate. This highlights all text sourced from other documents, with facility to click through to review any of the source texts. Each report has an “overall similarity index” showing the percentage of text which matches to sources in the Turnitin database.
A source numbering system is used to show which parts of the text correspond to which source, and what percentage that represents overall. Clicking on a particular phrase will bring up a "side by side" report comparing student text against the specific source, in two parallel panes.