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Academic integrity

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Academic integrity is the moral code or ethical policy of academia. The term was popularized by Rutgers University professor Donald McCabe who is considered to be the "grandfather of academic integrity".[1] Other prominent academic integrity scholars and advocates include Tracey Bretag (Australia),[2][3][4][5][6] Cath Ellis (Australia),[7][4] Sarah Elaine Eaton (Canada),[8][9][10] Thomas Lancaster (UK),[11][12] Tomáš Foltýnek (Czech Republic),[13][14] and Tricia Bertram Gallant (US).[15] Academic integrity supports the enactment of educational values through behaviours such as the avoidance of cheating, plagiarism, and contract cheating,[12][11][10] as well as the maintenance of academic standards; honesty and rigor in research and academic publishing.[16]


During the late 18th century, academic integrity was tightly correlated to the academic honor code (United States). This was monitored mainly by the students and surrounding culture of the time. The honor code focused on duty, pride, power, and self-esteem.[15] Any act promoting the uprising or building of any of these within an individual was the goal. Thus, academic integrity was tied solely to the status and appearance of upstanding character of the individual. Any acts of academic dishonesty performed to maintain their good name was seen as a necessary means to an end.

It wasn't until the end of the 19th century when the goals of the university changed that the concept of academic integrity changed. Academics of this era were required to teach and produce original research. The pressure to acquire tenure and publish added extra stress to their jobs, though acts of academic dishonesty were viewed as acts of follies. Still, the honor code concept of academic integrity was evolving into a more contemporary concept. Academic integrity was now beginning to replace honor of the individual honor to the university as an institution.[15] Such an evolution was important to promote unity throughout the academic institution and encourage students to hold each other accountable for dishonest acts. It also allowed the students to feel empowered through the self-monitoring of each other.

As the importance of original research grew among faculty members the questioning of research integrity grew as well. With so much pressure linked to their professional status professor were under intense scrutiny by the surrounding society. This inevitably led to the separating academic integrity ideals for student and faculty.[15] By 1970 most universities in the United States had established honor codes for their student body and faculty members, although this concept has not really caught on elsewhere in the world (e.g. see Yakovchuk et al.[17]).

Improvements in information technology have created challenges within academic integrity, especially with respect to increased plagiarism and use of poor-quality sources found on the internet.[18] Technology has also increased opportunities for collaborative writing, raising issues of proper attribution of authorship.[19] There are also problems with hyperauthorship,[20] selling authorship,[21] and unearned authorship.[22]

Impact on academia[edit]

Academic integrity means avoiding plagiarism and cheating, among other misconduct behaviours. Academic integrity is practiced in the majority of educational institutions, it is noted in mission statements, policies,[5][9][23] procedures, and honor codes, but it is also being taught in ethics classes and being noted in syllabi. Many universities have sections on their websites devoted to academic integrity which define what the term means to their specific institution. An honor pledge created before an assignment that is signed by students can help increase academic integrity.[24]

Universities have moved toward an inclusive approach to inspiring academic integrity, by creating Student Honor Councils[25] as well as taking a more active role in making students aware of the consequences for academic dishonesty.

To promote the academic integrity, publication ethics, and responsible research in the higher education system in India, the University Grants Commission (India) enacted the "UGC (Promotion of Academic Integrity and Prevention of Plagiarism in Higher Educational Institutions) Regulations, 2018" on July 23, 2018.[26]: 1  The Regulations then recommend some institutional mechanisms to eliminate the scope of plagiarism.

Despite these advances, academic dishonesty still plagues the university. In the 1990s, the academic dishonesty rates were as bad as, and in some cases, worse than they were in the 1960s.[27]: 1  The acknowledgement of this ethics crisis is inspiring many universities to focus more on promoting common values of academic integrity.

Conversely, critics have drawn attention to the fact that "teaching and learning are interrupted because faculty, in an effort to control plagiarism and protect notions of intellectual capital, are forced to engage with the students as detectives rather than as teachers, advisors, or mentors. The focus on controlling plagiarism among students is critiqued as unnecessarily legalistic and the rules more rigid than those necessarily accorded to intellectual property law (Marsh, 2004)".[27]: 5  Similarly, contributions made from a societal perspective question or critique previously unexamined assumptions of the "inherent goodness, universality, and absoluteness of independence, originality, and authorship (Valentine, 2006). Authors who write about the societal dimension such as Ede and Lundsford (2001) do not suggest the elimination of notions of individual authorship and the unconditional acceptance of copying and collaboration in its place. Rather, the societal dimension highlights the need to consider both and the importance of deconstructing how the idea of the "individual author" might be serving (or not serving) the goals of teaching (learning), service, and research. Postsecondary education institutions are urged to step back from the mindless or fear-based ready adoption of the "turnitin culture" (Maruca, 2005) to allow for such question asking in the spirit of enhancing academic integrity and the teaching and learning environment."[27]: 59 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Donald McCabe (Obituary). (2016). Star-Ledger. Retrieved from http://obits.nj.com/obituaries/starledger/obituary.aspx?pid=181490279
  2. ^ Bretag, Tracey (2016). Handbook of Academic Integrity. Singapore: Springer. ISBN 978-981-287-097-1.
  3. ^ Bretag, Tracey; Mahmud, Saadia (2009). "Self-Plagiarism or Appropriate Textual Re-use?". Journal of Academic Ethics. 7 (3): 193–205. doi:10.1007/s10805-009-9092-1. ISSN 1570-1727. S2CID 16198215.
  4. ^ a b Bretag, Tracey; Harper, Rowena; Burton, Michael; Ellis, Cath; Newton, Philip; Rozenberg, Pearl; Saddiqui, Sonia; Haeringen, Karen van (2019-11-02). "Contract cheating: a survey of Australian university students". Studies in Higher Education. 44 (11): 1837–1856. doi:10.1080/03075079.2018.1462788. ISSN 0307-5079. S2CID 149924537.
  5. ^ a b Bretag, Tracey; Mahmud, Saadia; Wallace, Margaret; Walker, Ruth; James, Colin; Green, Margaret; East, Julianne; McGowan, Ursula; Patridge, Lee (2011-12-12). "Core elements of exemplary academic integrity policy in Australian higher education". International Journal for Educational Integrity. 7 (2). doi:10.21913/IJEI.v7i2.759. hdl:1959.13/1064305. ISSN 1833-2595.
  6. ^ Bretag, T., Mahmud, S., East, J., Green, M., & James, C. (2011). Academic integrity standards: A preliminary analysis of the Academic integrity policies at Australian Universities. Paper presented at the Proceedings of AuQF 2011 Demonstrating Quality, Melbourne.
  7. ^ Ellis, Cath; van Haeringen, Karen; Harper, Rowena; Bretag, Tracey; Zucker, Ian; McBride, Scott; Rozenberg, Pearl; Newton, Phil; Saddiqui, Sonia (2020-04-15). "Does authentic assessment assure academic integrity? Evidence from contract cheating data". Higher Education Research & Development. 39 (3): 454–469. doi:10.1080/07294360.2019.1680956. ISSN 0729-4360. S2CID 210451768.
  8. ^ Eaton, S. E., Guglielmin, M., & Otoo, B. (2017). Plagiarism: Moving from punitive to pro-active approaches. In A. P. Preciado Babb, L. Yeworiew, & S. Sabbaghan (Eds.), Selected Proceedings of the IDEAS Conference 2017: Leading Educational Change Conference (pp. 28-36). Calgary, Canada: Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary.
  9. ^ a b Eaton, Sarah Elaine (2017). "Comparative Analysis of Institutional Policy Definitions of Plagiarism: A Pan-Canadian University Study". Interchange. 48 (3): 271–281. doi:10.1007/s10780-017-9300-7. ISSN 0826-4805. S2CID 254570492.
  10. ^ a b Eaton, S. E. (2018). Contract cheating: A Canadian perspective.  Retrieved from http://blogs.biomedcentral.com/bmcblog/2018/07/24/contract-cheating-a-canadian-perspective/
  11. ^ a b Clarke, R., & Lancaster, T. (2006). Eliminating the successor to plagiarism: Identifying the usage of contract cheating sites. Paper presented at the Second International Plagiarism Conference, The Sage Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, United Kingdom.
  12. ^ a b Lancaster, Thomas (2019). "The emergence of academic ghost writers from India in the international contract cheating industry". International Journal of Indian Culture and Business Management. 18 (3): 349. doi:10.1504/IJICBM.2019.099281. ISSN 1753-0806.
  13. ^ Foltýnek, Tomáš; Glendinning, Irene (2015). "Impact of Policies for Plagiarism in Higher Education Across Europe: Results of the Project". Acta Universitatis Agriculturae et Silviculturae Mendelianae Brunensis. 63 (1): 207–216. doi:10.11118/actaun201563010207. ISSN 1211-8516.
  14. ^ Foltýnek, Tomáš; Králíková, Veronika (2018). "Analysis of the contract cheating market in Czechia". International Journal for Educational Integrity. 14 (1): 1–15. doi:10.1007/s40979-018-0027-8. ISSN 1833-2595.
  15. ^ a b c d Tricia Gallant, "Revisiting the Past: The Historical Context of Academic Integrity", Academic Integrity in the Twenty-First Century, pp. 13–31
  16. ^ Alison Kirk (1996-11-30), Learning and the marketplace, ISBN 9780809320929
  17. ^ Scott, Jon; Badge, Joe; Yakovchuk, Nadya (December 12, 2011). "Staff and student perspectives on the potential of honor codes in the UK". International Journal for Educational Integrity. 7 (2). doi:10.21913/IJEI.v7i2.762 – via www.ojs.unisa.edu.au.
  18. ^ "The Netherlands Code of Conduct for Academic Practice" (PDF). Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU). 2014.
  19. ^ Tricia Gallant, "Twenty-First Century Forces Shaping Academic Integrity", Academic Integrity in the Twenty-First Century, pp. 65–78
  20. ^ Nogrady, Bianca (2023-02-27). "Hyperauthorship: the publishing challenges for 'big team' science". Nature. 615 (7950): 175–177. doi:10.1038/d41586-023-00575-3.
  21. ^ Else, Holly (2023-01-18). "Multimillion-dollar trade in paper authorships alarms publishers". Nature. 613 (7945): 617–618. doi:10.1038/d41586-023-00062-9.
  22. ^ Singh Chawla, Dalmeet (2023-01-05). "Unearned authorship pervades science". Nature. doi:10.1038/d41586-023-00016-1.
  23. ^ Glendinning, I. (2013). Comparison of policies for Academic Integrity in Higher Education across the European Union. Retrieved from http://ketlib.lib.unipi.gr/xmlui/bitstream/handle/ket/814/Comparison%20of%20policies%20for%20Academic%20Integrity%20in%20Higher%20Education%20across%20the%20European%20Union.pdf?sequence=2
  24. ^ Tatum, Holly; Schwartz, Beth M. (2017-04-03). "Honor Codes: Evidence Based Strategies for Improving Academic Integrity". Theory into Practice. 56 (2): 129–135. doi:10.1080/00405841.2017.1308175. ISSN 0040-5841. S2CID 152268649.
  25. ^ Pavela, Gary (Summer 1997), "Applying the Power of Association on Campus: A Model Code of Academic Integrity", Journal of College and University Law (PDF), 24 (1).
  26. ^ UGC (Promotion of Academic Integrity and Prevention of Plagiarism in Higher Educational Institutions) Regulations, 2018 (PDF), 2018.
  27. ^ a b c "Moral Panic: The Contemporary Context of Academic Integrity", ASHE Higher Education Report (PDF), 33 (5): 1–143, 2008, doi:10.1002/aehe.3305.

External links[edit]