Plagiarism and academic dishonesty

Plagiarism and academic dishonesty


Imperial’s role is to create, preserve, transmit and apply knowledge through teaching, research, creative works and other forms of training. The college requires all students to act honestly, ethically, and within integrity in their dealing with the college, its employees, and members of the public and other students and to provide a systemic approach to the treatment of plagiarism in students work at the Imperial College. The policy is intended to promote honesty in training and assessment and respect for the work of others.

Hence the purpose of this Policy and Procedure is to:

  1. Set out the principles underpinning the College’s approach to academic honesty;
  2. Identify individual responsibilities for promoting the principles of academic honesty; and
  3. Prescribe a transparent process for handling allegations of academic dishonesty and plagiarism by students enrolled in award and non-award courses.

Academic Honesty

Academic honesty is the principle that students’ work is genuine and original, completed only with the assistance allowed according to the rules, policies and guidelines of the College. In particular, the words, ideas, scholarship and intellectual property of others used in the work must be appropriately acknowledged. Note that “work” above includes not only written material, but in addition any oral, numerical, audio, visual or other material submitted for assessment.

Academic dishonesty includes plagiarism, collusion, the fabrication or deliberate misrepresentation of data, and failure to adhere to the rules regarding examinations in such a way as to gain unfair academic advantage.

More general forms of dishonesty, not directly related to academic or scholarly activity, are not covered by this policy.

Cheating means the breach of rules regarding formal examinations, or dishonest practice in informal examinations, tests or other assessments. Examples include the use of prohibited material or equipment for unfair advantage, and consultation with other persons during the course of the assessment where this is prohibited.

Collusion is the involvement of more than one individual in an instance of academic dishonesty. All parties involved in such collusion are in breach of the principles of academic honesty (unless there is good evidence of innocent involvement). “Collusion” needs to be distinguished from “collaboration”, defined for the purposes of this document as work jointly undertaken and produced.

Fabrication is the representation of data, observation or other research activity as genuine, comprehensive and/or original when it is not. This includes inventing the data, using data gathered by other researchers without acknowledgment, or wilfully omitting data to obtain desired results.

Originality For the purposes of this Code, “original” work is work that is genuinely produced by the student specifically for the particular assessment task.

Plagiarism is copying, paraphrasing or summarising, without appropriate acknowledgement, the words, ideas, scholarship and intellectual property of another person. This remains plagiarism whether or not it is with the knowledge or consent of that other person. Plagiarism has also taken place when direct use of others’ words is not indicated, for example by inverted commas or indentation, in addition to appropriate citation of the source.

Each individual student is responsible for ensuring that they are fully informed about methods of acknowledgement appropriate to any piece of assessable work that they submit.

Intentional Plagiarism: is plagiarism associated with intent to deceive.

Unintentional Plagiarism: is plagiarism associated with a lack of understanding of plagiarism or a lack of skill in referencing / acknowledging others’ work (still a breach of this Policy).


is the submission for assessment of works which, wholly or in large part, has been previously presented by the same student for another assessment, either at the Imperial or elsewhere. In some cases, lecturers will specifically allow this practice. If no specific provision to the contrary is made, submission of work for assessment a second or subsequent time constitutes a breach of this policy.


means any person, who is or was enrolled in, or seeking enrolment in, a program in, or a course offered by, the College.

Intentional Plagiarism or academic dishonesty

Staff member who suspects an instance of plagiarism will report the matter to CEO. Before the CEO (or nominee) determines that cheating through intentional plagiarism or academic dishonesty has occurred, they must consider the student’ response (if any) to the allegation. If the Director of Studies has delegated to a nominee the task of giving the student a hearing, the Director of Studies must ensure that they have a full and accurate record of student’s response.

If the student fails to respond to an accusation of intentional plagiarism or cannot convince the CEO (or nominee) that the plagiarism was unintentional, the CEO (or nominee) will disallow the work or report the matter to the CEO, who will make the final determination regarding the plagiarism and academic dishonesty within 5 working days and communicate the decision to student.

Possible actions are:

  •  warn the student and assess the unit with penalty; or
  • warn the student, request resubmission, and assess the unit without penalty

The penalties

for academic misconduct can and will include some or all of the following;

  • Disciplinary Procedures
  • The awarding of a “not yet competent” grade for an assessment
  • Suspension from the course
  • Exclusion from Imperial

Plagiarism Register

A register will be maintained to record:

  •  warnings that have been given to students about plagiarism, even where no formal action has been taken or penalty applied;
  • penalties applied and the nature of those penalties.

Records regarding a student’s involvement in alleged plagiarism will be retained for two years.

The register will be accessible only to staff authorised by the CEO and where requested, students concerned will have access to their own details in the register.
To minimise the incidence of plagiarism, students are required to submit an Assessment Cover Sheet which should contain following declaration:
“By submitting this assessment to the college I declare that this assessment task is original and has not been copied or taken from another source except where this work has been correctly acknowledged. I have made a photocopy or electronic copy of my assessment task, which I can produce if the original is lost”