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Academic Integrity Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose of Policy

(1) This Policy sets out the University’s commitment to academic integrity:

  1. reflecting that academic integrity is a shared responsibility across the University;
  2. outlining the roles and responsibilities of the University, faculties, schools and units, staff and students in promoting academic integrity; and
  3. responding to academic misconduct in a fair, consistent, transparent and timely manner.
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Section 2 - Application and Scope

(2) This Policy applies to all students and staff of the University of Wollongong (UOW) as well as those students enrolled in non-award study, Higher Degree Research degrees, and courses delivered in collaboration with a partner institution both onshore and offshore.

(3) This Policy does not apply to students enrolled in courses offered by the University of Wollongong in Dubai or the UOW College, as they have their own policy governing Academic Integrity.

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Section 3 - Policy Principles

(4) Academic integrity is fundamental to learning, teaching and research at the University.

(5) Academic integrity involves the ongoing fostering of a complex network of strategies and responsibilities across the University community.

(6) The University is committed to providing an educational approach to academic integrity, recognising that students need to be supported to develop and demonstrate academic skills.

(7) Academic integrity allows students and staff the freedom to build new ideas, knowledge and creative works while respecting and acknowledging the work of others.

(8) The University will respond to academic misconduct in a fair, consistent, transparent and timely manner.

(9) The University will ensure that records of investigations and outcomes are kept secure and confidential, in accordance with the Privacy Policy and Records Management Policy.

(10) The University will ensure a continuous cycle of quality improvement to monitor the occurrence and nature of instances of academic misconduct and take action to address underlying causes.

(11) The University will take steps to ensure that academic integrity is maintained in arrangements with any collaborative partner. 

Academic Integrity

(12) The University will promote academic integrity by:

  1. maintaining an Academic & Research Integrity page on the University website that provides access to relevant resources on Academic & Research Integrity for prospective and current students and staff;
  2. providing resources and support to staff to assist them in providing guidance and feedback to students to develop their knowledge and skills related to academic integrity; as well as responding to allegations of academic misconduct;
  3. monitoring, reviewing and reporting on strategies to promote academic integrity and minimise academic misconduct across the University.

(13) The University mandates the completion of the StartSmart program (which includes a module on academic integrity) by all new coursework students, as well as an equivalent program for all new HDR students.

(14) Each course offered by the University must integrate academic integrity instruction, support to develop good practices and assessment on academic integrity within a discipline context.

(15) Assessments must be designed to minimise the potential for academic misconduct by students.

(16) The University mandates the completion of a professional development module on academic integrity and academic misconduct management by all Academic Integrity Officers. This module is also available and highly recommended for all staff involved in teaching, learning and research.

Academic Misconduct

(17) Academic misconduct includes any action or attempted action by a student that may result in an unfair academic advantage for the student, or an unfair academic advantage or disadvantage for other students.

(18) Academic misconduct includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Cheating
    1. Behaving deceitfully or dishonestly in examinations, in the preparation of assessable items or during in-class assessments;
    2. Using or possessing prohibited equipment or material during an examination;
    3. Sending, receiving or accessing or endeavouring to send, receive or access any source of stored electronic information during the examination unless specified by the examiner;
    4. Drawing or writing on materials, other than the exam papers provided, during an examination.
  2. Contract Cheating
    1. Accessing, purchasing, exchanging or offering for purchase any item or service to be submitted as an assessment task;
    2. Submitting all or part of another student’s work for an assessment task.
  3. Collusion / Facilitating Academic Dishonesty
    1. Assisting another student, intentionally or recklessly, to commit an act of academic misconduct;
    2. Unauthorised collaboration with other students on assessable work;
    3. Uploading a copy of a subject outline or other subject or course materials to a website or server without express permission of the University, for any other reason than personal use (permission should be sought from the Subject Coordinator for subject materials or the Legal Services Unit for all other material);
    4. Removing or endeavouring to remove from the examination session any question or answer paper, other paper provided for use by the student during the course of the examination, or other material which is the property of the University, unless authorised by the examination supervisor and examiner.
  4. Fraud
    1. Impersonating another student, or a student allowing another individual to impersonate him/her, for the purpose of completing an exam, assessment task or online activity.
  5. Misrepresentation / Fabrication
    1. Submitting a piece of work, including an assessable group work item, with the intention of deceiving the assessor regarding individual contributions to the work;
    2. Intentional and unauthorised falsification or invention of any information, experimental data or citation in an assessable item;
    3. Misleading ascription of authorship (including claiming authorship of parts of a group assignment prepared by other students);
    4. Representing data or information incorrectly, improperly or falsely;
    5. Falsely indicating participation, or recording attendance on behalf of another student, in an activity where attendance is required for assessment purposes;
    6. Submitting a text/code-matching software originality report that falsely represents the originality of an assignment submitted for assessment.
  6. Obstruction / Interference
    1. Behaving in any way that limits the academic opportunities of other students by improperly impeding their work or their access to educational resources.
  7. Plagiarism
    1. Using another person’s ideas, designs, words or any other work without appropriate acknowledgement;
    2. Using work (e.g. assignment, essay, exam paper, research paper, creative project, data) generated by an artificial intelligence (AI) tool in an assessment unless expressly permitted to do so and with proper acknowledgement;
    3. Re-using one’s own work without appropriate acknowledgement.

(19) The University will take action in response to allegations of academic misconduct to ensure that:

  1. academic integrity is upheld;
  2. that students who observe the principles of academic integrity are not put at a disadvantage;
  3. that the University’s reputation and standards are protected for current and future students and staff; and
  4. the University provides opportunities for educational intervention where appropriate.

(20) Submitting fraudulent documentation (including, but not limited to medical certificates) for the purposes of an academic consideration request is misconduct that is managed in accordance with the Procedure for Managing Alleged General Misconduct by a Student.

(21) Allegations of academic misconduct by a student undertaking a coursework subject must be managed in accordance with the Academic Misconduct (Coursework) Procedures. This includes HDR students who are enrolled in coursework subjects.

(22) Allegations of research misconduct by an HDR student undertaking a thesis subject, or in the preparation of a research paper or report for publication or presentation must be managed in accordance with the Managing and Investigating Potential Breaches of the Research Code Policy.

(23) Once a determination has been made, the decision may be subject to appeal. Beyond the appeal, a case can only be reinvestigated on the grounds of compelling new evidence that was not reasonably available at the time of the initial investigation.

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Section 4 - Record Keeping

(24) Faculties will maintain records of educational strategies, resources and other initiatives that promote academic integrity.

(25) Faculties will maintain secure and confidential records relating to the management of alleged cases of academic misconduct, in accordance with the Privacy Policy and Records Management Policy.

(26) The University will establish and maintain a centralised management system to keep secure and confidential records of cases of alleged academic misconduct and the outcomes of investigations.

(27) All files relating to cases of alleged academic misconduct by coursework and HDR students will be retained and disposed of in accordance with University and statutory requirements.

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Section 5 - Reporting

(28) Each year, the Academic Quality and Standards Division, Faculties, and the Graduate Research School will report to Academic Senate via the appropriate subcommittees on:

  1. statistics and trends relating to allegations of academic misconduct for both coursework and HDR students;
  2. the manner in which the allegations were dealt with, and
  3. the steps taken to promote academic integrity and minimise academic misconduct within the faculty.

(29) Each year, Academic Senate will report to University Council on the statistics and trends relating to academic misconduct received and addressed by faculties; and strategies to promote academic integrity and minimise opportunities for academic misconduct.

(30) Statistics and trends will be reported back to Faculties, to ensure opportunities for continuous quality improvement.

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Section 6 - Roles and Responsibilities

(31) Students will:

  1. act in accordance with the principles of academic integrity in their learning and research;
  2. be familiar with the principles of academic integrity both generally and for their discipline or course of study;
  3. encourage other students to uphold academic integrity and discourage other students from any form of academic misconduct;
  4. familiarise themselves with the expectations for assessment, including assessment task requirements, acknowledgement practice, and marking criteria;
  5. submit only work which properly acknowledges the ideas, designs, words or works of others and which is otherwise their own original work;
  6. avoid lending or otherwise providing assessment items, directly or indirectly, to other students where it could be reasonably foreseen by the student that their work  could be used dishonestly;
  7. be aware of the collective responsibility of proper acknowledgement within group assignments, and be able to substantiate their claims to authorship in a group assignment;
  8. acknowledge that a copy of an item submitted for assessment may be shared with other staff members for the purpose of assessment, or submitted to a text/code-matching software program such as Turnitin for originality checking; and
  9. otherwise refrain from any forms of academic misconduct as defined in this or any other University policy document.

(32) Faculties and Schools will:

  1. ensure that a consistent approach is taken across the faculty to promote the principles and practice of academic integrity;
  2. promote academic integrity in its courses as they are developed or reviewed, through the integration of learning experiences and assessment tasks that allow students to develop and demonstrate good academic practices as they progress through the course;
  3. ensure that students are required to declare that assessment items submitted are entirely their own;
  4. take a fair and consistent approach to the identification and investigation of possible cases of academic misconduct and actions to address substantiated allegations of academic misconduct;
  5. support Subject Coordinators and other staff to promote academic integrity within subjects taught in their school and faculty;
  6. ensure that all teaching staff are aware of, and provide advice to students, regarding the available sources of assistance for students;
  7. support Subject Coordinators and teaching staff, including research supervisors, to address allegations of academic misconduct in accordance with published procedures;
  8. maintain secure and confidential records relating to the management allegations of academic misconduct within the faculty; and
  9. nominate one or more Academic Integrity Officers.

(33) The Associate Dean, Education or a nominated senior staff member will:

  1. oversee the development and delivery of appropriate academic integrity education in their Faculty;
  2. provide support and advice to the Faculty’s nominated AIO's; and
  3. analyse reports about trends in academic misconduct and advise Faculty Executive Committee and Course Directors about appropriate educational interventions.

(34) Collaborative Partners (Third Party Providers) will:

  1. uphold and promote the principles and practices of academic integrity.
  2. ensure that teaching staff employed by them act in a manner consistent with their responsibilities as set out clause 35 and 36.

Part A - Coursework Related Roles and Responsibilities

(35) Subject Coordinators will:

  1. design assessment tasks and learning activities in such a way as to:
    1. minimise opportunities for academic misconduct;
    2. support the development of the skills necessary to demonstrate academic integrity, and
  2. where appropriate, provide access to text/code-matching software to students as an educative tool in promoting appropriate acknowledgement practice, and use text/code-matching software as a tool in detecting suspected cases of academic misconduct;
  3. actively seek to identify cases of possible misconduct;
  4. support teaching staff to identify cases of possible misconduct; and
  5. identify and act in accordance with published procedures whenever plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct are suspected.

(36) Teaching staff will:

  1. demonstrate academic integrity within their teaching practices and act as role models for their students;
  2. enable and support students to become aware of academic expectations and what constitutes academic misconduct, taking into account their level of experience in the university environment, and their social and cultural background;
  3. ensure that adequate information is provided to students about acknowledgement practice that is appropriate to their field of study and provide examples of what is acceptable;
  4. provide feedback to students on acknowledgement practice and refer them to sources of advice when necessary;
  5. give clear guidelines for group work and make clear the distinction between group work and individual work; and
  6. inform the Subject Coordinator whenever academic misconduct is alleged in a coursework subject, in accordance with published procedures;

(37) Academic Integrity Officers will carry out investigations of alleged academic misconduct in accordance with the Academic Misconduct (Coursework) Procedures.

(38) The Faculty Investigation Committee and Student Conduct Committee will act in accordance with the Academic Misconduct (Coursework) Procedures.

(39) The Academic Quality and Standards Division will maintain a secure and confidential register for the management of allegations of academic misconduct across the University.

Part B - Research Related Roles and Responsibilities

(40) Research supervisors are responsible for:

  1. promoting academic and research integrity and actively seek to identify cases of potential academic misconduct by students they are supervising; and
  2. providing guidance on the conduct of research and the preparation of a thesis for assessment, a research paper or a report for publication or presentation; and

(41) Heads of Postgraduate Studies are responsible for:

  1. providing advice and guidance on academic and research integrity and cases of alleged academic or research misconduct.

(42) The Graduate Research School will provide resources and support HDR supervisors to promote academic skills and minimise opportunities for academic misconduct for students undertaking HDR courses, thesis subjects and in the preparation of papers or reports for publication or presentation.

(43) Roles and responsibilities for undertaking research misconduct are outlined in the Managing and Investigating Potential Breaches of the Research Code Policy.

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Section 7 - Resource Provision and Support Related Roles and Responsibilities

(44) Learning, Teaching and Curriculum and Library Services will have a role in:

  1. identifying and developing resources to support academic integrity;
  2. providing information, resources, advice and consultation to academic units and teaching staff on methods of integrating learning activities and designing assessment tasks in courses and subjects in order to develop student understanding of academic integrity and proficiency in relevant academic skills;
  3. providing support for students to develop academic skills to minimise the potential for academic misconduct;
  4. developing and maintaining an Academic & Research Integrity page on the University website that provides access to resources regarding academic integrity for students and staff;
  5. providing resources and professional development to teaching staff to enable the efficient identification of inadequate acknowledgement practice; and
  6. providing resources for the use of text/code-matching software by staff and students to support the development of good acknowledgement practice.

(45) The Research Services Office will maintain the Research Integrity components of the Academic & Research Integrity page on the University website.

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Section 8 - Definitions

Word/Term Definition
Academic Integrity Academic integrity involves upholding ethical standards in all aspects of academic work, including learning, teaching and research. It involves acting with the principles of honesty, fairness, trust and responsibility and requires respect for knowledge and its development. Academic integrity is foundational to the work of the whole academic community, including students, teachers, researchers, coordinators and administrators. 
Academic Integrity Officer (AIO) One of several academic staff members in a Faculty (at the level of Lecturer or above) who are responsible for making (or helping to make) an initial determination of the allegation of academic misconduct, for actioning a low-level outcome where appropriate within their Faculty, and for maintaining records. The AIO will undertake the duties as described in the Academic Misconduct (Coursework) Procedures.
Academic Misconduct Conduct of a student when undertaking the preparation, presentation or submission of coursework, or during the course of undertaking research, that is in breach of:
  1. Academic Integrity Policy,
  2. Managing and Investigating Potential Breaches of the Research Code Policy,
  3. Code of Practice - Responsible Conduct of Research,
  4. Faculty/unit requirements,
  5. Subject Outlines, or
  6. Other University policy documents or requirements setting out student academic requirements.
Acknowledgement Acknowledgement involves the practice of respecting, referencing and giving credit to the words, ideas, designs, interpretations and influences of others. 
Coursework All work undertaken as part of a non-research award course or non-award course, as well as any non-research components of a Higher Degree Research course. Coursework also includes research subjects undertaken by undergraduate honours and postgraduate coursework students.
Curriculum design The designing and sequencing of learning activities, learning support, resources and assessment tasks that enable a student to attain specified learning outcomes.
Examination session An examination that may be held on a University campus, University approved examination centre, or via electronic facilitation approved by the University.
Higher Degree Research (HDR) Masters by Research and Doctoral degrees.
Staff All persons appointed by the University as academic or professional services staff regardless of their level of seniority and regardless of whether holding full-time, part-time, or limited-term appointments, including conjoint appointments. For the purposes of this Policy, it also includes all persons engaged by the University as casual employees.
Turnitin An online service integrated with the University’s eLearning platform that provides a streamlined process for submitting, assessing student submissions and providing feedback online. It also provides a text-matching tool to assist in preventing and identifying plagiarism.