The term ‘plagiarism’ relates to the ‘unacknowledged use of someone else’s work, usually in coursework, and passing it off as if it were his/her own’ (Dealing with plagiarism by students; an institutional framework; p.3). It includes collusion, commission, duplication of the same work for more than one assessment, inappropriate acknowledgement of text from another source and submission of another student’s work (regardless of that student’s consent). Fabrication of results relates to the presentation of data or results which have not actually been collected.

This document has been produced to dovetail with the university’s existing framework.

Background

Cases of plagiarism by trainees are rare, but given the programme’s status as a postgraduate professional doctorate, plagiarism has implications  in terms of fitness to practise. It is also important that inadvertent plagiarism can occur through a lack of knowledge of appropriate referencing devices.

Teaching

E-learning on what constitutes plagiarism (and why it is important not to engage in it knowingly or accidentally) is included in the induction to the programme. If trainees at any stage in their training need advice on whether text which they are producing constitutes plagiarism or not, they can discuss this informally with a member of staff. Trainees are also encouraged to use the university’s resources on avoiding plagiarism. The programme is committed to providing every opportunity for uncertainties and ambiguities to be clarified before the formal assessment stage. Consequently, this does mean that, should plagiarism be detected in a trainee’s work, lack of knowledge or uncertainty about whether this constituted plagiarism will not be considered an adequate or mitigating justification.

The university makes use of a number of practices  to detect plagiarism:

  1. Turnitin plagiarism detection software is routinely used to check all written submissions before they are sent to markers. This software checks both against published work and past coursework submissions so that any reliance on work submitted by previous trainees can be detected. This includes trainees or students on other programmes nationally.
  2. Guidance on plagiarism is sent to all markers of assessed work. This includes advice on what to do if plagiarism is suspected. It is the markers of assessed work who have the primary responsibility to detect plagiarism;
  3. Plagiarism is discussed at marker training workshops;
  4. Suspected plagiarised texts will also be checked using other databases such as Google Scholar and, if necessary, hand searching through relevant articles.

Where there are concerns around falsification of data, trainees must be willing to provide evidence of appropriate data collection.

Investigation process and sanctions

Where plagiarism is believed to be present in any piece of work authored by a trainee then a concern will be raised regarding this behaviour. The result of the concern meeting may be a referral to the the Division of Health Research’s Academic Officer for scrutiny. Should this happen, the Academic Officer will call a meeting with the trainee to discuss the alleged plagiarism. The trainee will be informed that a representative from either the LU students’ union or a colleague is welcome to attend this. The Academic Officer will then decide whether plagiarism has occurred. If it has, then a letter attesting to this will go to the registry and will be attached to the trainee’s file. The trainee will then be asked to respond to this letter to indicate how they will work to ensure that future work does not contain plagiarism. This letter will also be kept on file.  The Academic Officer may also recommend to the programme that a further concern or Fitness to Practise procedure be considered with respect to the trainee as a result of the plagiarism.