Academic Integrity

The importance of approaching your work with honesty and diligence.

Reasons for Referencing

Referencing is the practice of signalling to a reader when the work of another is being drawn upon in a piece of writing. Referencing can be laborious, but it should be taken seriously. Good academic work is based on evidence from a variety of texts – also known as ‘sources’ – such as journal articles, reports, monographs, and professional guidelines. Combined, these help to ensure that the work students produce is substantive and reasonable.  

It is important, then, that students: 

  • make clear when different sources are being drawn upon 
  • give credit to the authors of their sources 
  • enable readers to find a copy of those sources, should they wish to do so 

Beyond these more high-minded reasons, clear and accurate referencing can: 

  • help to convince a reader that a piece of work is credible 
  • significantly improve students’ marks 

To learn how to reference, consult the sections below, download the relevant school’s referencing guidelines, or have a look at the resources on the Academic Skills team’s blog

View our Academic Skills Blog (opens in new window)

Plagiarism & Collusion

Students at Edinburgh Napier are asked to approach their work with honesty and diligence. Academic integrity is a term which describes a manner of work characterised by dedication and acknowledging when the work of others has been drawn upon. Plagiarism, on the other hand, is defined at Edinburgh Napier as the:

'Unacknowledged incorporation in a student’s work, either in an examination or assessment, of material derived from the work (published or unpublished) of another.'

This means that students should not use work from others and claim it as their own, whether in written work or in other formats, such as audio and video. Plagiarism is considered a breach of academic integrity regulations. This is a serious offence that is dealt with according to the University’s Academic Intergrity Regulations.

Students are guilty of self-plagiarism when they copy and re-submit work – in whole or in part – that they have previously submitted for marking, without due reference or citation. This does not include re-submission in the case of a failed first submission. In such instances, certain parts of the original work may be re-submitted, so long as students are confident that those parts meet the standard expected. If in doubt, it is advised that students consult with the relevant tutors.

Collusion is when a student engages the help of another person to produce work that is expected to be completed independently. Collusion can involve pairs or groups of students working together, or one student engaging the services of an external party, such as a family member or a professional ‘ghost writer’. Proofreading does not count as collusion, so long as the student in question does all of the original research and writing on their own.


Academic Integrity Procedures

Academic Integrity Procedures are formally laid out in the university’s Academic Regulations. A brief overview of the procedures described in the Regulations follows:

Detection: This is carried out by the academic member of staff who marks the coursework in question (or the Invigilator in the case of exams). Where there is suspicion of plagiarism or collusion, the student’s work and the member of staff’s (or invigilator’s) findings are passed on for further investigation and evaluation.

Evaluation: This is conducted by a member of staff known as the Academic Integrity Officer (AIO). AIOs are designated by the School responsible for the module on which the alleged offence was committed. The student in question is likely to be invited for interview before a final decision is made. In the case of online or TNE modules, the student’s input is likely to be sought by email. If the student cannot attend interview, a decision will be made in their absence.

Application of penalty: A decision is made on the student’s case. If it is decided that a plagiarism or collusion offence has been committed, the AIO will apply a suitable penalty. They will refer more serious cases to a University Academic Integrity Committee. Penalties often involve reductions of marks, sometimes requiring a re-sit of the assessment in question. The most serious cases – where the misconduct is deliberate, substantial and/or repeated – can involve expulsion from the University. The range of penalties is detailed in the Regulations.