Information about Academic misconduct and Plagiarism
NTNU's Instructive guidelines for the management of academic misconduct/attempted academic misconduct in examinations at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) (hereafter abbreviated Instructive guidelines) emphasize the seriousness of academic misconduct and plagiarism.
NTNU regards academic misconduct/plagiarism as a serious breach of trust and unjust to fellow students. This will be taken into account in all procedures for cases of academic misconduct or plagiarism.
What is academic misconduct?
- Academic misconduct in traditional written examinations in an examination room involves the use of unauthorized items or texts during the examination. When this type of academic misconduct is found, there is rarely any doubt as to this being academic misconduct or attempted academic misconduct.
- After the introduction of the Quality Reform which emphasizes other forms of assessment such as term papers, semester assignments/take-home examinations, academic misconduct primarily refers to plagiarism – the dishonest use of sources, particularly the Internet.
It is important to distinguish between academic misconduct and a paper falling below minimal standard of academic acceptability. For example, copying long paragraphs without referring to sources will be an evident case of academic misconduct.
Students shall be offered information about the proper use of sources and references as well as how to search for information. Students are also to be informed about the implications of group work and the requirements set in this connection compared with independent work. At the same time, students are required to ensure that they stay informed about the requirements set for individual work.
In 2004 NTNU launched a new learning tool – VIKO, Your guide to information literacy. This offer is primarily intended for undergraduates at Bachelor's level who are writing their first semester assignment/semester paper/term paper. However, VIKO is also a useful tool of reference for students at higher levels. VIKO is an interactive course in information literacy developed for students at NTNU. This learning device consists of seven units designed to be used as tools when searching for information as a part of academic writing. VIKO offers help in finding literature, assessing the quality of information and sources, writing papers and listing references. VIKO is designed as a course with teaching material and pertaining exercises designed to test your recently acquired knowledge and skills. Please note that VIKO is social-scientifically oriented, but is nevertheless a useful tool for students within the Humanities as well.
Procedure for cases of academic misconduct or plagiarism
Act relating to Universities and Colleges (Norwegian Universities' Act) includes regulations about penalties for students who are found guilty of academic misconduct or plagiarism. The Act proposes two possible sanctions:
- Students who are found guilty of academic misconduct or plagiarism will have their examination papers declared null and void (Norwegian Universities' Act, Section 54, subsections 1a and 1b). In the Instructive guidelines the annulment is regarded as the mildest form of reaction. Annulment does not require evidence that the student intended to commit and examination offence or plagiarize.
- Students who are found guilty of academic misconduct or plagiarism are denied the right to sit their exams, their examination papers are declared null and void, and they are excluded from all educational institutions affected by the Norwegian Universities' Act for a maximum of one year (Norwegian Universities' Act, Section 42, subsection 3). This type of reaction requires evidence that the student either intended to commit an examination offence or plagiarize or is guilty of gross negligence. Students who are found guilty of academic misconduct or plagiarism are deprived of all their rights as students for the duration of the penalty. This includes denied access to all teaching and instruction, computer laboratories and reading rooms, blocking of admission cards and they will not receive either a bank giro to pay their tuition fees or a semester card.
The procedure in cases of suspected academic misconduct or plagiarism has several stages:
- In connection with home examinations and term papers any suspicion of plagiarism usually first arises with the external examiner or the subject teacher. The Department refers cases on suspected plagiarism to the Faculty. On suspicion of academic misconduct in examinations in the examination room, the invigilators will report to the Examination Office. These cases are usually not brought to the Department/Faculty. The remaining procedure is identical to that of other cases of suspected academic misconduct or plagiarism.
- The Central Complaints Board is the only authority that can reach a decision of annulment or exclusion. The Complaints Board consists of five persons and is headed by a district judge. There are also two academic staff members and two students on the Board. In cases of academic misconduct/attempted academic misconduct the Complaints Board can annul the evaluation (Norwegian Universities' Act, Section 54). Further more, the Board can exclude a student that has commited an examination offence/attempted to commit academic misconduct for up to one year. The student can also lose his or her right to sit examinations at institutions under this Act for up to one year (Norwegian Universities' Act, Section 42, subsection 3).