University Calendar 2008/9
Section IV : General Regulations
Academic Integrity Procedures relating to Postgraduate Research Students

ARCHIVE 2002/3
ARCHIVE 2003/4
ARCHIVE 2004/5
ARCHIVE 2005/6
ARCHIVE 2006/7
ARCHIVE 2007/8
1. Encouraging Academic Integrity

Staff should ensure that all postgraduate research students are actively aware of the Academic Integrity Statement for Students (which is applicable to students at all levels) and of the demands of good academic writing (including the expectations with regard to referencing within the particular discipline) and probity in research. Staff should be aware of cultural interpretations (where, for example, 'plagiarism' of learned scholars' work may be considered desirable in student's own work), and should not assume that all students, including those educated through the UK school system, will necessarily understand automatically that what we consider to be plagiarism is inherently 'wrong'; the expectation of what is acceptable at HE level in the UK HE system must be positively explained and reinforced. In advising students on academic integrity issues or academic writing more generally, staff should ensure that the language they use, while appropriate to the circumstances, is clear and unambiguous - references to 'the need to fine one's own voice' or work being 'derivative' may not always be picked up by students.


Staff should also ensure that postgraduate research students are familiar with the University's Research Ethics Policy, the University's policy on Research Ethics and Academic Conduct, and information and regulations relating to intellectual property and copyright.

2. Declaration of Authorship
  2.1 Theses, at the time of submission, should be accompanied by a signed declaration from the student that the material presented for examination is his/her own work and has not been submitted for any other award (and, where relevant, how it relates to a group project).
3. Procedures for handling suspected breaches of academic integrity by PGR students in written work prior to the final thesis
  3.1 Breaches of academic integrity include such practices as plagiarism, cheating and falsification (which includes the creation of fictitious data for use in the thesis) which are explained in Appendix 1 of the Academic Integrity Statement for Students.
  3.2 When suspected breaches of academic integrity occur prior to the submission of the final thesis, for example in work submitted as part of assessment of research training units, the procedures to be followed will be those for students on taught programmes. For suspected breaches of academic integrity relating to a transfer thesis or other documentation submitted as part of the procedures for transferring from MPhil to PhD candidature, this will be investigated by the upgrade panel in consultation with the Head of School under section 4 below. In this instance, where it is established that a breach of academic integrity has been committed, the penalties that may be applied shall include:
  1. a requirement to make amendments to the transfer thesis or other documentation, within a specified timescale, addressing the affected material before upgrade to PhD candidature may be approved;

  2. in the severest cases, failure in the upgrade process and a recommendation for termination of programme.
4. Procedures for handling suspected breaches of academic integrity in a submitted thesis for a higher degree
  4.1 Where a breach of academic integrity in a submitted thesis is alleged or suspected, the examiner identifying the suspected elements will consult with the other examiner and the internal examiner will prepare and submit a report to the Head of School on the basis of this consultation. To determine whether further action is needed, the Head of School will institute an enquiry which may involve further consultation with the examiners and supervisor, the School Academic Integrity Officer and the Deanery as seems necessary.
  4.2 If, on the basis of this enquiry, the Head of School concludes that further action is required, he/she will appoint a formal panel to investigate the allegation fully. This panel will be drawn from members of the School not directly involved with the case and should include a senior representative from the Faculty. If it appears that the case may involve cultural or other sensititives, the Chair may co-opt an additional member able to advise on these issues or otherwise seek advice as he/she sees fit.
  4.3 The student must be advised that a meeting is to be held to investigate the suspected breach of academic integrity and that the student will be asked to offer an explanation to the panel. The student will be invited to attend the meeting accompanied by a member of the University if he/she chooses. Students invited to attend such a meeting should be strongly encouraged to seek advice of colleagues in the Advice and Information Centre of the Students' Union.
  4.4 The panel will ask the internal examiner, on behalf of the examining team, to detail the reasons for suspecting a breach of academic integrity and its extent in the thesis. The student will then be invited to respond and the panel may ask questions of both the internal examiner and the supervisor.
  4.5 The panel will then consider in private the facts of the case. If necessary the panel may decide that further information or consultation, for example with the external examiner, is required; however, any new information which arises from these discussions must be shared with the student, normally in writing. The findings of the panel should be discussed with the external examiner who, in cases where a breach of academic integrity is proven, should be consulted about the appropriate penalty to be applied.
  4.6 Where, in the panel's view, it is established that a breach of academic integrity has been committed, the panel will prescribe a penalty. Penalties that may be applied in cases where it is established that a breach of academic integrity has been committed shall include:
4.6.1 a requirement to make amendments to the thesis within a specified timescale;
4.6.2 failure in the thesis and permission to re-submit a revised thesis within a specified timescale;
4.6.3 failure in the thesis and termination of course with no right to re-submit.
  4.7 The student will be informed in writing of the panel's decision.
  4.8 The decision of the panel must be reported to the School Board.
  4.9 Should a breach of academic integrity be identified or suspected in a thesis subject to the award being made, the Head of School shall consult the Head of Legal Services as to the appropriateness of pursuing further enquiries and the most effective means for pursuing the matter if appropriate. Should a breach be proven in such an instance, Senate has the power to withdraw the award previously made.
  4.10 Postgraduate research students wishing to appeal against the decision of an Academic Integrity Panel are referred to the Regulations Governing Academic Appeals by Students.
5. Monitoring
  5.1 Numbers of Academic Integrity Panels for postgraduate students held within the School, and the outcomes, should be monitored and reported to the Faculty as part of the annual operating statement monitoring process.

Existing regulations expanded for clarity and in the light of RRAA: approved by AQSC June 2005.
Amended May 2006 in the light of the introduction of the Academic Integrity Statement for Students.
Approved by Senate on 21 June 2006.

This supersedes previous University guidance on plagiarism included in the QA Handbook and Calendar in 2005/6. These procedures should be read in conjunction with the Academic Integrity Statement for Students.

Main Index
Section IV Index


Submitted by the Secretariat
Last reviewed: 20-Jun-2008
© University of Southampton