Plagiarism, collusion and other examples of misconduct


Presenting work or ideas that are not your own for assessment is plagiarism. Failing to properly acknowledge where the work or idea came from is dishonest and unacceptable. This applies to all written documents, interpretations, computer software, designs, music, sounds, images, photographs, and ideas that were created by someone else.

  • Read the full definition of plagiarism in the Academic Board Regulation
    1. For the purposes of this Regulation a student engages in plagiarism if the student uses another person’s work as though it is the student’s own work.
    2. Without limiting sub-section (1), a student uses another person’s work as though it is the student’s own work if the student, without appropriate attribution:
      1. When writing a computer program and presenting it as owned by the student, incorporates the coding of a computer program written by another person
      2. Uses work from any source other than the student’s own work, including a book, journal, newspaper article, set of lecture notes, current or past student’s work or any other person’s work
      3. Uses a musical composition, audio, visual, design, graphic or photographic work created by another person
      4. Uses an object created by another person, including an artefact, costume or model.
    3. Without limiting sub-section (1), it is plagiarism if a student produces and submits or presents as the student’s own independent work an assessment item which has been prepared in conjunction with another person.

Some of the most common forms of plagiarism involve failing to appropriately acknowledge the source or ownership of particular words or ideas. Even if accidental, this still constitutes plagiarism and therefore academic misconduct. Below are some examples of plagiarism.

  • Copying
    • Verbatim copying
    • Direct copying
    • Uncited quote.

    This is copying directly from paragraphs, sentences, a single sentence or significant parts of a sentence without acknowledging the source. This is plagiarism.

    See example

  • Mosaic copying/scaffolding

    Where the key points and structure of another person's work have been used as a scaffold (framework) for your own work, without acknowledging the source. This is plagiarism.

    See example

  • Recycling

    This is sometimes called self-plagiarism or multiple submission. You cannot re-use work that you have submitted for assessment in any course at any university. Copying from your own work is the same as copying from someone else's work.

  • Paraphrasing

    Inadequate paraphrasing

    This happens when you try to explain another author's ideas in your own words, but your wording remains too close to the original text. This is poor scholarship and amounts to plagiarism.

    See example

  • Uncited paraphrase

    This is when you paraphrase another person's work but do not acknowledge the source. This is plagiarism.

    See example

  • Misrepresenting and misquoting

    When you cite a source correctly but misrepresent what that source claimed. You may have not understood the original source and have inadvertently misrepresented the author's ideas. This is poor scholarship. Alternatively, you may have deliberately taken the words or ideas of an author out of context to support your argument. This is falsification and could constitute academic misconduct.

    See example


Collusion involves unpermitted or illegitimate cooperation between more than one student to complete work that is then submitted for assessment.

Students are encouraged to engage in discussion and debate of subject content, but any work submitted for assessment must be the student’s own.

Researching, discussing, and sharing ideas is fine, but do not write your assessments with other students. This is different from group assessment work where students are instructed to work together, and the work is assessed as a group effort. Collusion in producing individual work for assessment is academic misconduct.

You should not:

  • Provide work for another student to submit as part of their own assessment
  • Use the work of another student as your own for assessment
  • Co-write or share the background information that you will use in your assessable work.

Working collaboratively with other students when you have been instructed by the University to do so for group assessment is fine.

  • When the numbers don't add up

    Angie, Benny, and Dominic are taking a quantitative analysis subject. They each have to write up a quantitative results section from a set of results they have been given. They have all done their research and reading alone and are meeting at the library to write up the results section together. They feel this is okay because the formal structure of writing up quantitative results means their work should look almost the same anyway.

    This is collusion and constitutes academic misconduct.

  • Rushing to get the assignment done

    Jay, Amy, Simon, and Francine are taking a subject in Organisational Behaviour. The individual assignment is quite complex, requiring them to research five different theories and they only have two weeks to get it done. The group of friends agrees to divide up the work to save time. Jay works on two of the smaller theories, and the others work on one theory each. They each prepare a well-researched summary of their theory, and then share the summaries among the others. Then they each write their own assignment alone.

    This is collusion and constitutes academic misconduct. Each student should do all of their own research and not use any work done by another student.

Other examples of academic misconduct

Social media

Using the internet or social media as a platform for inappropriately sharing information is academic misconduct. Even if you don't know, or have no contact with, the people providing or accessing this information, the sharing of resources online and via social media platforms is also subject to the regulations regarding plagiarism and collusion. This includes any sharing of information via a website, app, or other electronic platform that is owned, operated, administered, or hosted by the student, or otherwise within the student's control.

Some examples of this type of academic misconduct are outlined below.

  • Jillian's marketing exam

    Jillian is a third year Commerce student sitting her final exam for a Marketing subject. She memorises the short answer questions and posts them privately on a social media site as a future resource for her friends who are still in second-year.

    Jillian is deliberately helping her friends gain an unfair advantage. This is academic misconduct by both Jillian and any of her friends who use this material.

  • A helpful resource for medical students?

    Yifan is in the first year of the MD program. A friend gave him a USB drive that contains a collection of past exam papers from MD1. Yifan isn't sure if these were past practice exams, questions recalled by students after sitting exams, or if they are actual exam papers that were dishonestly obtained. He is aware that many of his friends have also acquired this resource but feels uncomfortable that it is not available to the whole student cohort, giving some students an unfair advantage. Yifan is considering posting these exam papers into a Google Doc so that it can be shared with all the MD1 students.

    If he posts them, Yifan is deliberately aiding other students to cheat, including students he may not know. This is academic misconduct. Even though his motivation might seem honourable, because he was hoping to create fairness across the student cohort, in fact Yifan is enabling all the students to subvert the integrity of the assessment task. This is why it amounts to academic misconduct. What Yifan should have done is advise his lecturer of his concerns, so the lecturer can work out an appropriate response that is fair to the whole student cohort and guarantees the integrity of the regime. This might include designing a new assessment task.

  • Online essays

    Huong is writing an essay for her philosophy class. A friend showed her a website that has several essays from students who took this class in previous years. While the case study for the essay is slightly different, the underlying theory and concepts are the same. Huong found this resource to be very helpful when writing her essay. In fact, with some sections she only had to alter the names in the case study and use the wording of the online essay. She is now going to upload her own essay to the site as a public resource for any other students who may take that class in future.

    Huong has plagiarised from the online essay. This is academic misconduct.

    By uploading her own essay, she is aiding other students to gain an unfair advantage. This is academic misconduct for both Huong and any student who uses this material.

  • Online chatting or cheating?

    Linda, Paula, Jason, and Eduardo are friends all taking a Criminal Law subject. They have a take-home exam to complete on Wednesday night. The exam is hosted on the University Learning Management System requiring them to log in and authenticate their exam answers. The group of friends has agreed to all log in to an online chat forum so they can discuss the questions together.

    This is collusion. It violates the rules; it is an example of academic misconduct.

Over reliance on a source

When a large proportion of your work is based on a single source or author, it may be that you have not read widely enough or considered other viewpoints on the topic. This is poor scholarship.

Cheating in exams

Cheating in an exam, either by copying from other students or by using unauthorised notes or aids, or deliberately attempting to subvert the testing procedure in any way in an attempt to gain an advantage is academic misconduct.

Contract cheating, ghost writing and artificial intelligence software

Ghost writing and artificial intelligence software:

  • By another person

    Having someone else knowingly write or produce any work (paid or unpaid) that you submit for your assessment is deliberate cheating and is considered to be academic misconduct.

    Only submit work that is entirely your own original work. It should be supported by sources and evidence that have been cited appropriately.

  • For another person

    Writing or producing any work for another student to submit as their original work is deliberate academic misconduct.

    Do not write or produce any work (paid or unpaid) for another person for them to submit for their assessment.

    Be careful about who you share your work with. You can’t know if another student intends to copy your work.

  • By using artificial intelligence technology or other content generation tools

    Using artificial intelligence software such as ChatGPT or QuillBot to generate material for assessment and representing this as your own ideas, research or analysis is not submitting your own work. Knowingly submitting work for assessment that has been produced by a third party, including artificial intelligence technologies, is deliberate cheating and is academic misconduct.

    Any use of artificial intelligence technologies to generate material used to prepare for assessment submission must be appropriately acknowledged in accordance with the Assessments and Results Policy (MPF1326).

    Find out more

    Read the University's advice for students regarding:

The below video presents an example of students using answers for an assessment that they sourced online.