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Academic Misconduct

This page talks you through our Academic Misconduct process and lets you know what to do and where to get more advice.

The University will use this Procedure to consider concerns raised about academic integrity of work submitted for credit or award of the University.

The Procedure does not consider whether or not a student intended to commit academic misconduct, but only that academic misconduct occurred.

The University defines a range of types of academic misconduct (please see section 2.2 of the Procedure for the full definitions):

  • Plagiarism involves taking the work of another using it as if it were one’s own. The source of the original material is hidden by not referencing it properly or by paraphrasing it without acknowledgement or by not mentioning it at all. Plagiarism may occur in all forms of assessment, including written examinations.
      See the Skills for Learning webpage for help on understanding plagiarism, http://library-files.salford.ac.uk/elearning/plagiarism/story.html.
  • Self plagiarism (or double submission) is submitting work on two or more occasions (without proper acknowledgement) for separate credit. This may include the re-use of text, research data etc. without specific reference. It will not normally include work submitted for reassessment/re-take within the same module.

  • Collusion occurs when two or more students collaborate in the preparation and production of work which is submitted as the product of their individual efforts.  One student allowing another use their own work is considered an act of collusion by both parties, regardless of intent.
  • Falsifying experimental or other investigative results can involve a range of things that make it appear that information has been collected by scientific investigation, the compilation of questionnaire results etc. whereas it has been made up or altered.
  • Taking unauthorised material into an examination, includes taking materials or electronic devices of any sort, other than those specifically permitted, into any examination whether or not they could be used to gain advantage.  It includes any ‘smart’ devices or devices with a ‘memory’ function and any material, not previously and specifically exempted.
    It is not dependent on the actual use of, or an intention to use, any material or device that may have been taken into an examination.

  • Contracting another to write a piece of assessed work/Writing a piece of assessed work for another involves any means whereby a person does work (in whole or in part) on behalf of another which is submitted for assessment.  It includes assessments done for someone else, sitting an examination for someone else.  It also covers the use of internet ‘cheat sites’ or other sources of work.  
    In cases where one student of the University undertakes work for another penalties for this type of unfair means will normally apply both students. The contracting of another to produce work may be considered an act of misconduct under the Student Disciplinary Procedure whether or not the work is submitted for assessment.
  • Copying from, or communicating with, another candidate during an examination in any way is not allowed. Students must not disturb other students, nor copy from them during an examination.
  • Bribery.

Depending on the nature and timing of the allegation, you may be informed in a number of ways. For coursework it might be by the tutor who initially notices the concern, in an examination the invigilator, or by the Academic Misconduct Officer (AMO) reviewing the concern.

Schools appoint members of academic staff to act as Academic Misconduct Officers (AMOs). Their role is to liaise with the person raising the initial concern, to collate the evidence and to make an academic judgment on whether there is a case to answer. The Academic Misconduct Officer is not empowered to make a decision that academic misconduct has occurred.

The majority of cases are considered at a School hearing, those deemed most serious are considered by University level panels.

Decisions at School hearings are undertaken by an Associate Dean Academic (or nominee).

Decisions at University level are taken by panels established under either the Student Disciplinary Procedure or Fitness to Practise Procedure.

Where academic misconduct is found to have occurred in a taught programme, an academic sanction must be applied. The three sanctions are:

  • a mark of 0 or grade of F is awarded for the component of assessment in question;
  • a mark of 0 or grade of F is awarded for the component in question and the module mark kept at the minimum pass mark
  • a mark of 0 or grade of F is awarded for the component in question and marks for all modules at that level will be kept at the minimum pass mark.

If the case has been referred to a University level hearing, those Panels may also apply one of the Disciplinary or Fitness to Practice sanctions, these include suspension and expulsion from the University.

Yes. It is only the act of academic misconduct (for example submitting work which does not reference all its sources, having a mobile phone in an examination, lending another student work or allowing another student to copy work), not whether there was intent to gain advantage.

The University will aim to review the issues as speedily as possible, timelines are set out in the Procedure. However some cases are more complex than others, an Academic Misconduct Officer (AMO) may need time to compile the relevant evidence. Should the case be referred to a formal hearing, timing will depend on the scheduling of the next School or University level hearing.

If you have received the outcome of initial hearing, either at School or University level, and you are unhappy with the outcome, you can submit an appeal against the decision that misconduct occurred, and any sanction imposed of the outcome on one of the grounds below:

  • the emergence of new and relevant evidence which was not available to the original hearing or process of consideration for good and reasonable cause;
  • that there was an irregularity in the original hearing or process of consideration which has materially disadvantaged the student;
  • that evidence is available to show that the outcome reached at an earlier stage was manifestly unreasonable. In this context, unreasonable shall be taken to mean perverse, i.e. that the outcome was not a possible conclusion which a similar hearing or process of consideration might have reached.

There is no entitlement to further review of a case unless one or more of the grounds above are established.

You will need to complete an appeal form and send this via email to AcademicMisconduct@salford.ac.uk or post it to the Quality and Enhancement Office, University of Salford, The Crescent, Salford M5 4WT.

The timescale to submit your appeal is 10 working days from the date of the letter confirming the outcome of your original hearing.

When we receive your appeal, a senior member of staff will review your request to see if it is submitted within the timescale and that it meets any of the valid grounds for further consideration.  If your request is valid, you will be invited to attend a Student Disciplinary Appeal Panel or a Fitness to Practice Appeal Panel to discuss your appeal. If your request is not valid, we will write to you to explain why.

If you have followed every stage of the Academic Misconduct Procedure and you are not satisfied with the outcome, the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) which is the ombudsman for Higher Education may be able to undertake an independent review of your complaint. You will need a letter from the University which states that you have completed the University’s internal procedure (a Completion of Procedures letter).  

Further information about the OIA’s scheme can be found at www.oiahe.org.uk.

You will receive information on good academic practice and academic misconduct as part of your programme. Information on this will be included in your Programme Handbook. Your tutors, including your Personal Tutor, should be able to give you further discipline specific guidance, and also direct you to further support.

The Students’ Union and Library produced an online quiz. This will be available via your programme Blackboard site as well as the Skills for Learning webpage http://www.salford.ac.uk/skills-for-learning.

Skills for Learning provide a range of general support and guidance, including on referencing, plagiarism and academic misconduct http://www.salford.ac.uk/skills-for-learning.

Turnitin is a text matching service, it matches submissions against a repository of online resources, published works and submitted student assignments from around the world.

The Library have developed a guide to using Turnitin is http://www.salford.ac.uk/skills-for-learning/home/esubmission

It is important to remember that a low Turnitin score does not indicate a lack of plagiarism or absence of academic misconduct.

You should raise your initial questions with relevant staff in your School, such as your Personal Tutor, the relevant tutor for the assessment in questions or the School Academic Misconduct Officer (AMO). If you are unsure who to speak to, please contact your School Office.

You can obtain independent advice and support from the Students’ Union Advice Centre. Please contact them at advicecentre-ussu@salford.ac.uk or on 0161 351 5400.

Information about the Procedure is available from the University’s Quality and Enhancement Office. Please email academicmisconduct@salford.ac.uk.

The University can only look at a representation submitted by someone else if you give written permission for another person to do so. You will need to complete a third party consent form and send this via email to Academicmisconduct@salford.ac.uk or post it to the Quality and Enhancement Office, University of Salford, The Crescent, Salford M5 4WT.

At present the University does not record academic misconduct decision on transcripts. Information on decision may be included in references.

This will depend on the extent and nature of the misconduct, plus the professional intentions of the student. On programmes with professional obligations the impact, beyond any sanctions imposed, can be significant. Serious cases may result in Fitness to Practise concerns. Some professional bodies have strict requirements in relation to academic misconduct, for example the Solicitors Regulating Authority Handbook states:

“Unless there are exceptional circumstances we will refuse your application if you have committed and/or have been adjudged by an education establishment to have committed a deliberate assessment offence which amounts to plagiarism or cheating to gain an advantage for yourself or others.”

Solicitors Regulating Authority Handbook, Assessment offences,

www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/handbook/suitabilitytest/part2/rule4/content.page.

Mitigating circumstances cannot be considered in relation to academic misconduct.

The University has a ‘fit to sit’ policy and as such mitigating circumstances can only be considered through the PMC Procedure, or, in exceptional cases, through an Academic Appeal.

A hearing held under the Academic Misconduct Procedure is not permitted to take into consideration mitigating circumstancing.

The University has appropriate mechanisms for the consideration of Reasonable Adjustment Plans (RAPs), so a hearing held under the Academic Misconduct Procedure will not take them into account in considering whether or not academic misconduct has occurred.

If the nature of the RAP is such that adjustments will need to be made to assist you through the process of being considered under the Procedure then these can be made. Due to the confidential nature of RAPs staff considering your case (the Academic Misconduct Officer) may not be automatically aware of any adjustments that need to be made and you are advised to liaise with them to ensure they are aware.