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The following is based on an extract from the guidelines for Colleges on the avoidance of plagiarism:

The University's degrees and other academic awards are given in recognition of the candidate's personal achievement. Plagiarism (that is to say the action of including or copying, without adequate acknowledgement, the work of another in one's own work) is academically fraudulent, and an offence against University discipline.

Plagiarism, at whatever stage of the candidate's course, whether discovered before or after graduation, will be investigated and dealt with appropriately by the University. If after investigation it is established that work submitted has been plagiarised to a significant extent, that will be permanently noted on a candidate's record.

Cheating and plagiarism are academic offences. Plagiarism can be defined as the act of including or copying, without adequate acknowledgement, the work of another in one's own work as if it were one's own.

The University offers full information on plagiarism.

This includes the University's procedures for dealing with different kinds of plagiarism and advice about what to do if you are accused of plagiarism. If you are still unsure how to avoid plagiarism, having read these guidance notes, then you should approach the Programme Director for further advice.

The University of Edinburgh encourages discussion in the preparation of all work and cooperation in finding sources of material. This is essential in group work, but any work submitted in an individual's name must be prepared solely by that person. Using any published source whether private, public or from the internet without providing a full reference, or using other students' work are disciplinary offences which could lead to reduced or no marks being awarded for the work, and in extreme cases to immediate termination of studies. Students should therefore make sure that they are quite clear about the status of every piece of work they submit, including computer based material such as spreadsheets and computer programs. An individual assignment must be wholly and exclusively the work of the student submitting the assignment. Any common material found in such assignments may be treated as plagiarism, with serious consequences for the
students concerned.

The definition of plagiarism varies from educational system to educational system, and this can be a source of misunderstandings. However, it must be absolutely clear that students must not copy another person's work or claim another person's work as their own. Students must be aware of possible dangers in this area. For this reason:

  • Always ensure the references for quotations are provided.
  • Do not take an extract from any text without placing quotation marks around it and referencing the source.
  • If a diagram is used or adapted, give a reference to the source.
  • If, in an assignment, a student draws upon work performed by him/her-self outside the programme or prior to attendance on the programme, this must be clearly indicated in the assignment.
  • If in doubt, check with the Programme Director.

Past experience shows that specific procedures are required to prevent, deter and detect plagiarism. To prevent plagiarism of certain important handwritten assignments in core courses, they will be written up under supervision. To detect plagiarism in typeset work, all the submissions will analysed using the plagiarism detection software "Turnitin". It is hoped that these procedures, together with the sanctions that can be applied if plagiarism is detected, will deter the members of the OR MSc class who might, otherwise, cheat in order to get higher marks.

Electronic submission and self-checking for plagiarism

In addition to the hard copy, most assignments requiring typeset work (and the dissertation project) must be submitted electronically. This is done via "Learn", from "MyEd". This will compare the text of your submission against the following sources

  • Turnitin's student paper repository
  • Current and archived internet
  • Periodicals, journals and publications

The final, formal submission that you make via Learn will be checked for plagiarism against the sources above and submissions from other students on the Programme. It will also be retained in Turnitin's student paper repository.

Last direct edit: 14:45, Thursday 7 September 2017, by Kostas Zygalakis. (Feedback? Please contact the page owners)

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