2. On discovery of suspected plagiarism
1. A member of staff who suspects plagiarism is required to report it to the Head of School. The report must be in writing and will include:
- the piece of work concerned, marked up to indicate the suspected plagiarism;
- a copy of the source(s) of the plagiarism also marked up and cross-referred to the work so that the reader can easily and quickly relate the marked-up plagiarised sections to their marked-up sources(1) (see the referral form instructions. Please remember that the Senate Assessors are unlikely to have knowledge of the specific subject area because a Senate Assessor is not permitted to deal with a matter from their School);
- information on the contribution of the piece of work to the overall assessment of the course;
- the Turnitin report, if this is used. Note that submission of a Turnitin report alone is insufficient - the original work (including references, diagrams and appendices) and source material(s) must also be submitted with marking up;
- information on any previous incidence of plagiarism in the student’s work.
2. School consideration of the work in question must be suspended (e.g. marking or confirmation/publication of marks), and the Head of School (or nominee) should write to the student to inform them that their marks are being withheld pending investigation of suspected plagiarism.
3. The Head of School (or nominee) is expected to deal with suspected cases of Plagiarism by non-Honours students that are first offences. Although normally only Honours and postgraduate cases should be referred to the Senate Assessors for Student Conduct, cases involving non-Honours students may be referred if the plagiarism is particularly severe. The Senate Office(2) should be contacted for advice on whether the student has been reported in other Schools/subjects, and if it is not clear whether the School should deal with the case.
4. All Honours students, postgraduate students, suspected second offences and cases of very severe plagiarism should be referred directly to the Senate Assessors for Student Conduct for investigation under the provisions of the Code of Student Conduct (See 8 below).
5. Within the parameters outlined above, it is the responsibility of the Head of School (or nominee) to assess the extent of the suspected plagiarism taking into account:
- the maturity of the student in terms of their level of study and length of exposure to the procedures, practices and regulations of the University;
- the extent of the plagiarism – a few lines, or a single short paragraph would be considered minor whereas several paragraphs would be more serious as would blatant plagiarism;
- attempts made by the student to reference the material correctly - e.g., whether the student has cited the source but omitted quotation marks, or whether the source has been omitted entirely from the work;
- the percentage that the work in question contributes to the total assessment and the effect that a reduction in marks might have on the individual student’s degree or progression.
6. The Senior Senate Assessor for Student Conduct may be consulted at this stage. The Senior Senate Assessor for Student Conduct should be contacted through the Senate Office. Ms Helen Clegg is the manager responsible for Student Conduct and can also provide advice.
7. Where it is determined that the plagiarism is not particularly severe and the student is not an Honours or postgraduate student, action should be taken by the School to deal with the case in accordance with the procedures set out in the Plagiarism Statement (guidance is provided in these pages).
8. Where the Head of School determines the plagiarism is serious or that it would be inappropriate to deal with within the School for any reason, s/he should refer it to the Senate Assessors for Student Conduct by emailing email@example.com. The report and all other relevant papers listed above must be appended, as Senate Office cannot carry out the investigation or marking up of work. Any case that is sent to the Senate Office without the required documentation will be returned to the School. Clear instructions about what to submit are found on the referral form. Referrals will be logged by the Senate Office and passed to the Senior Senate Assessor for Student Conduct for action under the Code of Student Conduct(3). Schools are also asked to supply background information on the course and programme regulations and the student's progress status via the referral form. Please ensure all questions on the form are answered. Note that this form, together with all the other pieces of documentation, will be sent to the student so please do not include judgements, assumptions or recommendations about the student, the process, or any penalty.
1 If plagiarism is suspected staff should search as widely as possible to try and identify the plagiarised information. However if this is not successful, and there is strong suspicion of plagiarism, the matter should be discussed with the Head of School, and if necessary referred to the Senate Office for advice on how to proceed.
2 Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
3 The Code of Student Conduct is published in the Fees and General Information Section of the University Regulations.