Academic Integrity

Education is about your personal, academic and professional development so that when you enter the world outside of Curtin, you do so as an honest and trustworthy member of society. Most people try to do the right thing and, at Curtin, we trust you to do the right thing in your pursuit of academic knowledge.

Academic integrity

Curtin degrees have prestige with employers and the wider community, but this can be threatened by breaches of academic integrity (including plagiarism). Academic integrity is essential to the foundation and ongoing viability of an academic community, including managers, researchers, teachers and students. It upholds values that serve to guide the community in its work. In particular, academic integrity involves a commitment to such fundamental values as honesty, respect, fairness and care, and responsibility within all academic endeavours.

Academic integrity is essential to the operation and reputation of Curtin courses.

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is often accidental – the result of poor study and note-taking methods. But the fact that you did not mean to do it does not prevent it from being plagiarism.

If you ‘borrow’ words from any source without acknowledging the author and the source within your paper, you are plagiarising. Plagiarism can involve using someone else’s argument, even if the exact words are not used.

It is important to acknowledge others’ work so they can be credited. Similarly, we want you to be credited for the work you do: that is, to maintain your academic integrity.

What is self-plagiarism?

Self-plagiarism occurs if you resubmit your work for further credit elsewhere.


What is Turnitin?

Turnitin is an electronic text-matching system that compares text in a student assignment against electronic text on the internet, in published works, on commercial databases, and in assignments previously submitted to Turnitin by students in universities all over the world – including assignments obtained from internet sites that sell student papers.

The Turnitin system operates through a website and is accessed using standard web browsers. Turnitin indicates the degree of text matching. Lecturers must review the Originality Report generated by Turnitin for submissions to an assignment, and perhaps use other measures in order to determine if plagiarism has occurred.

Turnitin supports the implementation of Curtin’s values and its policy on plagiarism.


What will happen if I plagiarise or self-plagiarise?

It depends on how serious it is. For a minor breach, you may be asked to resubmit the assignment. For more serious breaches, you may be asked to repeat the assignment with a reduced maximum mark or be given a mark of zero for the assignment.

For very serious breaches, your grade for a unit may be annulled or you may be expelled from the University.

What is cheating?

Cheating is taking credit for work that is not your own. It’s the academic equivalent of stealing.

Plagiarism Is:

Plagiarism Isn’t:

Case Study


Susan inserts a portion of an essay that she found on the internet into her major assignment and submits the essay as her own work. Her assignment is assessed using Turnitin and the plagiarism is detected.


The University has a clear policy on plagiarism and Susan must ensure that she adheres to that policy with every piece of assessment work that she submits. The tutor is obliged to address suspected acts of plagiarism with Susan. Susan’s plagiarism will be reported and she will likely face a student discipline panel.

Cheating includes:

Case Study


The semester is over except for the final exam. Ben knows that a group of students has been cheating. He thinks it isn’t fair or right, but he decides not to ‘rock the boat’ this late in the semester by notifying the lecturer. Ben is also worried that he will be in trouble for raising the matter and that this may affect his future studies.


Ben should report the others who are cheating to allow the lecturer and faculty to follow up so that no one is disadvantaged. Ben should contact his lecturer, who will act on Ben’s concerns. The students involved in cheating may be subject to disciplinary action. Ben has nothing to fear, as he has not cheated and because it is an expectation of the University that students will report any inappropriate behaviour. The University will provide appropriate support to Ben, if required.


What is copyright?

Copyright is a legal concept that gives the owner exclusive rights to control the various uses of a creative work. It covers not just making a copy of others’ work, but also communicating others’ materials online, and publishing, adapting or performing a work in public.

If you use a substantial or important part of a protected work without permission, you could breach copyright and face legal action.

What work does copyright cover?

Copyright protects original works that are made into material form, such as text, images, artworks, designs, computer programs, music scores, charts, diagrams, sound recordings, films, videos and broadcasts, in any format.

Just because something is on the web does not make it free. Copyright laws still apply.

Who makes the rules?

In Australia, copyright is established under the Commonwealth’s Copyright Act 1968. If you are making a copy of material in a location outside of Australia, you will also need to know and adhere to the copyright legislative requirements of that location.

What will happen if I infringe copyright?

Penalties can be quite severe. You may have to pay a fine or pay damages and court costs.

How can I study if I can’t copy published material?

An exception is made for students under the ‘fair dealing’ provisions of the Act. For study and research purposes, you can make a copy of a small part of other people’s work for free and without asking permission from the copyright owner.

What are the rules for using computers at Curtin?

Computers at Curtin are made available to assist students in their study and research. As a valued student, we trust you to use these computers responsibly. If you don’t, you may risk penalties. Depending on the type of misuse, these penalties may be determined by a student misconduct panel or even a criminal court.

For your own security and to avoid penalty from misuse when using Curtin’s computers, you must never:

We actively monitor the use of computers and networks. Curtin is obliged to report any misuse of computers by students and staff.

Can I join chat rooms and blogs?

Yes, we support your participation in online communities. However, to protect your personal reputation and that of the University, always write things that people will value, correct mistakes quickly, and remain polite.

Remember that any material posted on these sites remains there permanently.

Are there particular issues for students conducting research?

Your supervisor must be satisfied that your research methods and outcomes are appropriate and valid. Certain types of work may require ethics approval by the University. It is completely unacceptable to make up data or results and record or report them. This is called fabrication.

As a researcher you must:



Information in this publication is correct at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.

This material does not purport to constitute legal or professional advice.

Curtin accepts no responsibility for and makes no representations, whether express or implied, as to the accuracy or reliability in any respect of any material in this publication. Except to the extent mandated otherwise by legislation, Curtin University does not accept responsibility for the consequences of any reliance which may be placed on this material by any person.

Curtin will not be liable to you or to any other person for any loss or damage (including direct, consequential or economic loss or damage) however caused and whether by negligence or otherwise which may result directly or indirectly from the use of this publication.

Student academic or general misconduct is dealt with in accordance with the Curtin University Act 1966, Statute 10 – Student Discipline, the responsible officer for which is the Academic Registrar. Students are expected to inform themselves of and comply with all relevant laws; University statutes, rules and by-laws; and the University’s values and signature behaviours, policies and procedures.

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Except as permitted by the Copyright Act 1968, this material may not be reproduced, stored or transmitted without the permission of the copyright owner. All enquiries must be directed to Curtin University.

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