The current UCL definition of plagiarism, and the general advice given to students about it, is as follows, as published in the Student Handbook and elsewhere:
“Plagiarism is defined as the presentation of another person’s thoughts or words or artefacts or software as though they were a student’s own. Any quotation from the published or unpublished works of other persons must, therefore, be clearly identified as such by being placed inside quotation marks, and students should identify their sources as accurately and fully as possible. A series of short quotations from several different sources, if not clearly identified as such, constitutes plagiarism just as much as does a single unacknowledged long quotation from a single source. Equally, if a student summarises another person’s ideas, judgements, figures, software or diagrams, a reference to that person in the text must be made and the work referred to must be included in the bibliography.”
“Recourse to the services of ‘ghost-writing’ agencies (for example in the preparation of essays or reports) or of outside word-processing agencies which offer correction/improvement of English is strictly forbidden, and students who make use of the services of such agencies render themselves liable for an academic penalty.”
“Use of unacknowledged information downloaded from the internet also constitutes plagiarism.”
“Where part of an examination consists of ‘take away’ papers, essays or other work written in a student’s own time, or a coursework assessment, the work submitted must be the candidate’s own.”
“It is also illicit to reproduce material which a student has used in other work/assessment for the course or programmes concerned. Students should be aware of this ‘self-plagiarism’. If in doubt, students should consult their Personal Tutor or another appropriate teacher.”
“Failure to observe any of the provisions of this policy or of approved departmental guidelines constitutes an examination offence under UCL and University Regulations. Examination offences will normally be treated as cheating or irregularities under the Regulations in respect of Examination Irregularities. Under these Regulations students found to have committed an offence may be excluded from all further examinations of UCL or the University or of both.”
Why do students plagiarise?
There are two main types of plagiarism – intentional and unintentional. The list below is not exhaustive but contains the most commonly encountered reasons:
On the whole unintentional:
Misunderstanding about citation
Over-reliance on the original source material
Following practices encouraged or accepted in previous educational experience or culture
Not fully understanding when group work ceases and individual work begins
Compensating for poor English language skills
Poor note-taking practice
On the whole intentional
So what CAN you do?
You can quote from sources providing you use quotation marks and cite the source (this includes websites).
For example: In 1993 a series of experiments were undertaken to try and reproduce the results of an earlier 1988 study that suggested that human basophils would degranulate when exposed to homeopathic dilutions of anti-IgE, however the authors found there was “no evidence for any periodic or polynomial change of degranulation as a function of IgE dilution.” (Hirst et al., 1993). This reference would then be cited in full at the end of the essay thus: Hirst S.J. et al., Nature, 366, 525-527 (1993)
You can paraphrase (take information from a piece of work and rewrite it in a new form) but you must still mention the source.
For example: While homeopathic medicine remains popular (and lucrative), studies using basophil degranulation induced by Anti-IgE have failed to elicit any evidence that increasing the dilution, increases the effect, one of homeopathy's abiding principles (Hirst et al., 1993)
In the case of joint practical or project work (or some of the group projects) individuals may use the same data, but the interpretation and conclusions derived from that data i.e. the ‘write-up’ must be their own.
You should be aware that the Department now uses a sophisticated detection system (Turn It In®) to scan work for evidence of plagiarism, this system has access to billions of sources worldwide (websites, journals etc.) as well as work previously submitted to this Department and other departments.
Turn It In® is a plagiarism detection system run in the UK by Northumbria Learning.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines plagiarism as follows:
“The action or practice of taking someone else's work, idea, etc., and passing it off as one's own; literary theft.”
What does this mean in practice for you, as a student in this Department?
It means you CANNOT do the following:
Cut and paste from electronic journals, websites or other sources to create a piece of work.
Use someone else's work as your own.
Recycle essays or practical work of other people or your own (this is self plagiarism).
Employ a professional ghostwriting firm or anyone else to produce work for you.
Produce a piece of work based on someone else's ideas without citing them.
“It doesn’t matter if you intend to plagiarize or not! In the eyes of the law, most publishers and academic institutions, any form of plagiarism is an offence that demands punitive action. Ignorance is never an excuse.”
You will have to submit a paper copy of your coursework as usual, with the normal receipting procedures in place.
If you are submitting a Research Essay, in order for the work to be considered as submitted, an electronic copy of the work must also be submitted directly to the Turnitin® system. This should be in one of the following formats:
Microsoft Word (.DOC), Wordperfect, Acrobat (.PDF), Postscript (.PS), HTML, RTF or plain text.
If your work is to be submitted directly to Turnitin® then you will have received an email giving you a Class ID and Class Enrolment Password, with which you should enroll in order to submit the work.
More information is available from:
Department of Pharmacology ©