What is academic integrity and why it matters

Academic integrity are values fundamental to the University including honesty, respect, and fairness. We are all responsible for being honest in our assessments and assignments, and the University is responsible for accrediting qualifications as being honestly and fairly attained.

Maintaining your integrity, or honesty, at university is as important as elsewhere in your life. Universities everywhere take academic integrity seriously and breaching it by cheating or plagiarising can end your study and impact on your work options in the future. Maintaining an honest approach to study and research is a process in which everyone is involved, from first-year students to senior lecturers, professors and researchers.

Academic integrity in learning and teaching results in:

  • quality graduates whose qualifications are achieved honestly;
  • teaching and learning which respects the ideas of others; and
  • fair and educative processes to maintain high ethical standards.

You can read the Federation University definitions in the Academic Integrity Policy

Fundamental values of academic integrity

These values underpin the standing and authority of our University and TAFE to award formal qualifications.

  • Honesty of achievement of the student in submitting their own work, with clear references to the ideas or words of others.
  • Trust of our peers, the community, and employers that graduates have honestly achieved the skills described by the award they have completed.
  • Fairness includes the chance for all to succeed on their own merits, without an unfair advantage other students may have gained dishonestly.
  • Respect for the ideas and works of those coming before us.
  • Responsibility to role model best practice, and to report and act on any concerns or breaches.

Learning about academic integrity

For our students, the Academic Integrity Module (AIM module) is the main student-focused educative support for academic integrity. It supports students to demonstrate integrity in their academic writing. It outlines the University’s expectations of producing original work and appropriately acknowledging the work of others.

Students receive embedded training and support to build their referencing and citation skills, research skills, and academic integrity knowledge.

Students can also contact Student Advocacy if they are seeking advice and information around University policies, procedures and processes and can assist with their university concerns.

For our staff the Academic Integrity Module is coming soon.

Each of the University's institutes has an Academic Integrity Officer (AIO), who is an academic staff member, who can provide guidance and support. If you have any questions or doubts about appropriate academic integrity practice, your AIO is an excellent first point of contact.

What are the penalties for academic misconduct?

The penalties for misconduct depend on the severity of the breach, and whether it is a first, second, or subsequent offence. For first or second breaches, Academic Integrity Officers will determine a severity of low, medium, or high, and choose an appropriate penalty.

The consequences and typical penalties for academic misconduct may include an educative processes to receiving zero marks for an assessment, failing the course, to exclusion from a program of study.

Behaviours which undermine academic integrity

If you use someone else’s ideas, information or words without acknowledging them, then you may be charged with plagiarising as this is deemed to be academic misconduct. Other activities such as colluding with others to complete your assessment task or paying someone to write an essay for you (a friend or service) are dishonest, disrespectful and a breach of academic integrity.

Many students are unfamiliar with the writing conventions of university study when they commence, and most students do not intend to plagiarise in assessments. But even accidental plagiarism can trigger academic penalties for improper conduct.

  • Making false representation to gain an unfair advantage.
  • Offering or encouraging (including advertising) for someone to undertake the assessment tasks on behalf of others for the purpose of cheating, misrepresentation and/ or plagiarism.
  • Also willingly assisting with circumventing the purpose of assessment (by willingly sharing or posting their work).
  • The unauthorised act of a student presenting work, which is the outcome of directly working with others, as their own.
  • Working together on an individual task, unless it has been specified as group work in the instructions.
  • Having another person, or using artificial intelligence, to complete part or all of an assessment or examination. This can be paid or unpaid, and includes friends or family.
  • The University views contract cheating as a particularly serious breach of academic integrity and is penalised accordingly.
  • Resubmitting or largely reusing previously assessed work as new work without permission from the teacher.
  • Access to or obtaining an advance copy of a paper without authorisation; Communicating with or copying from another person in an examination.
  • Falsifying or making up data or research results, citations or references.
  • Pretending to be another student and completing an assessment task/exam on their behalf.
  • The presentation of work by another person as one’s own work by failing to properly acknowledge the original author. Proper acknowledgement means to clearly identify which parts of a work originate from which source.
  • Occurs when a student or external agency requests, offers, encourages, induces or advertises for another individual/student to contract, commission, pay, procure, or complete on their behalf, assessment tasks or other items that are likely to result in their use for the purpose of cheating, misrepresentation and/or plagiarism.
  • A student who willingly assists another to circumvent the purpose of assessment through solicitation, cheating, misrepresentation or plagiarism (for example by willingly sharing their own work, giving them access to their own work or advertising the availability of their own work or someone else’s work) is also breaching academic integrity, and may be subject to disciplinary action.