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What is Academic Misconduct?

Academic misconduct involves doing anything that gives you or another student an unfair advantage in an assessment. It can relate to all methods of assessment (coursework, exams), as well as both summative and formative assessment. This applies to all current students, including FE and HE, as well as undergraduate, postgraduate taught and postgraduate research students. Below are some of the more common forms of academic misconduct –

  • Plagiarism: Plagiarism is an act of using someone else's ideas or words without giving them proper credit. It can affect a significant portion of a project or just a few poorly referenced lines. According to the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), intentional or unintentional plagiarism falls under academic misconduct. This includes using Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) tools that exceed what is permitted in your assessment brief. If you are unsure whether you can use GenAI, make sure you read your assessment brief carefully.
  • Self-plagiarism: Using parts of an assignment previously submitted in the course for a later assignment.
  • Collusion: Collusion is when two or more students work together to complete an assessment in a manner that is not allowed by the regulations for that particular assessment. This includes submitting identical pieces of work, which is prohibited. Sharing your work with another student can also be considered collusion if it gives them an unfair advantage.
  • Cheating: Cheating refers to any endeavour to receive or provide aid in any exam or assessment without proper acknowledgement. This can include bringing notes into a closed-book exam or trying to communicate with other students during the exam. This also includes contract cheating.

Academic misconduct would also include falsification (inventing or distorting data, evidence, references, citations, or experimental results); and deceit (which can cover any other forms of dishonesty intended to give you an advantage).

UHI distinguishes between minor and major academic misconduct based on the severity of the offence and the circumstances. Staff or the Academic Misconduct Panel determine the penalty.

If you have been accused of academic misconduct, don't hesitate to contact the Advice Service. We may be able to support you through any informal or formal procedures.

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