Scope of academic misconduct policy and procedures

Forms of academic misconduct Academic misconduct can take different forms:

  • Plagiarism

    Plagiarism is incorporating somebody else's work into your own without due acknowledgement of the source or proper referencing. This means using their material, text or ideas, whether directly copied or summarised, or where just a few words have been changed or reordered. It doesn't matter if the source material is published or unpublished, in hard copy or electronic.

    Plagiarism also includes copying (i.e. one student copying the work of another) and commissioning work from someone else.

    Self-plagiarism is where a student uses material from their own work which has been submitted for assessment previously, without properly referencing its source. It doesn't matter whether the previous work was assessed at this university or another, or for the student's current course or a different one.

  • Commissioning

    Buying or commissioning work from someone else and passing it off as your own is also known as ‘contract cheating’. This includes asking another person to write a (draft or final) assessment for you, buying an essay via internet ‘essay mill’ sites, or getting another person to collect or interpret data for you. It doesn’t matter if there is payment involved or not.

  • Cheating

    Cheating usually relates to formal exams, either written or oral. It covers any action which would or could give unfair advantage over other students, whether this is actual or attempted. For example; getting access to the question paper before it is released, taking unauthorised materials into the exam room, communication with or copying from another student (or allowing this to happen).

  • Collusion

    Collusion is where students work together to complete assessments which are supposed to be an individual effort. Or where one student allows another to copy their work and submit it for assessment.

  • Falsification or fabrication of data

    This includes creating fictitious data in practical or project work (such as lab results or survey responses), or deliberately presenting data in a misleading way, or omitting certain data from reporting and analysis.

  • Personation

    Personation is pretending to be someone else, for example sitting a formal exam in place of another student, or writing an assessment for someone else. Buying or commissioning someone else to write an assessment for you is covered under Plagiarism.

  • Criminal or disciplinary offences

    Acts of bribery, fraud, ethical misconduct, etc may also constitute academic misconduct and will normally be investigated under the relevant process first, then academic misconduct procedure subsequently.

  • Malpractice (SQA provision)

    There is a related ‘malpractice policy’ for SQA provision at HE level (PDA, HNC, HND, SVQ). It covers a wider range of situations and acts than those covered by the university’s academic misconduct guidance. However, all cases of suspected candidate malpractice are progressed in accordance with the university’s academic misconduct procedure.

Academic misconduct

See ASQR Appendix G for more detail.


Bribery is paying, offering to pay or requesting money or any other inducement for information or other material which may lead to an unfair advantage in an assessment.

Malpractice policy

Centre and candidate malpractice and maladministration policy and procedure for SQA provision

Suspected candidate malpractice

Eg inclusion of inappropriate, offensive, discriminatory or obscene material in assessment evidence – would we deal with this under student disciplinary procedure rather than academic misconduct?

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