Academic Integrity FAQ'S


This page contains a number of FAQ'S about Academic Integrity.

 What happens if I am accused of plagiarism?

You are only accused of plagiarism after a paper coordinator has investigated the evidence provided by the marker, gathered from the assignment and text matching software (Turnitin), and determined that there is a case to answer. The level of university study that you are in, for instance – first, second, third year or postgraduate study, the type and the extent of the breach will contribute to determining which level of academic integrity breach the alleged plagiarism will be, Level 1, 2 or 3. Level 3 is the most significant level of breach. Level 2 and 3 breaches are recorded on the Academic Misconduct Register and can be used to escalate further breaches.

You will be notified of the complaint and be informed of the process to be used. The process will involve being requested to attend a meeting to discuss the allegation. If you can’t attend the meeting on campus you will have the option of attending via skype or by phone conference. It is in your best interest to attend the meeting so you can respond to the allegation. You can bring a support person or representative with you to the meeting.

After the meeting your response and explanation will be weighed up with the physical evidence. A penalty will be imposed or the allegation will be dismissed. Either way you will be informed, either informally in the meeting or by email or by a formal letter.


I am in my first year at university and the evidence shows I plagiarised. What will be the likely penalty?

If you are in your first year of study at university an academic integrity plagiarism breach will most likely be deemed to be at level 1. The penalty may likely be low. You may be asked to resubmit the assignment with no other outcome imposed or you may be given a capped mark and be expected to seek advice from a learning consultant in the Centre for Teaching and Learning.

In your first year at university we understand that you may still be learning the skills of academic writing practice; that is, you may not have mastered the required skills of referencing and citing when using text from books, journals and the internet or know how to paraphrase or summarise appropriately. You lecturer will give you advise on how to develop these skills and encourage you to talk to a learning consultant on campus.


What will be the consequences of taking my mobile phone or notes into an exam?

Taking notes, a mobile phone or programmable device into an exam is considered to be a serious breach of academic integrity. It will automatically be considered a level 2 breach regardless of which year of study you are in. The penalty will more than likely be a fail for the paper.

Before all exams begin you will be reminded to place all notes, pads, phones and devices at the front of the room for safekeeping. It is important you do this. You do not want the person conducting the exam to find notes under your exam script, on your lap, or ask you to empty your pockets. Remember to remove any notes you have written on yourself as a reminder before going to an exam or test.


I am a second or third your student. What penalty can I envisage for breaching academic integrity?

By your third year of study Massey expects you to have developed considerable skills in academic writing; know how to paraphrase, cite and reference sources you have used in your assessment activities. A breach will most likely be considered to be a level 2 breach. The penalty will depend on the extent and type of breach. Your response to the allegation in a formal meeting will be taken in to account when deciding the outcome. The outcome may mean you need to repeat the assessment and when remarked be given a capped mark, i.e., 50%, and required to seek help from a learning consultant, or be given to zero for the assessment or paper.

Breaches at level 2 will be managed by College Academic Integrity Officer or designated person in conjunction with the paper coordinator / lecturer. Also the breach will be recorded on the Academic Misconduct Register. This information may be used to escalate any further breaches. The result will be a more serious penalty.


As a postgraduate student what penalty will be imposed if evidence shows I have breached academic integrity?

As a postgraduate student you will be expected to know the requirements of academic writing practice. The breach will, at the very least, be deemed to be at level 2 and the penalty imposed may range from zero for the assessment component, a fail for the paper, or may result in a period of suspension from the university.


As a doctoral student what penalty will be imposed if evidence shows I have breached academic integrity?

A breach of academic integrity at the doctoral level of study is extremely serious. The breach, of plagiarism or misrepresented or falsified data will be considered to be at level 3. A level 3 breach may result in a fail for the thesis and exclusion from the university.


What breaches are likely to be considered to be at level 3?

Level 3 breaches are extremely serious breaches of academic integrity and are considered by the University’s highest academic misconduct authority. This would either be the Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Academic & International) or the Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Research & Enterprise).

A breach at level 3 may result in exclusion from the University.

Examples of level 3 breaches could include:

• Any Doctoral student misconduct regardless of the extent

• Purchase of assessments from a ‘paper mill’ or other internet site

• Theft of intellectual property

• Collusion or falsification of information and or data

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