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Guidelines on Penalties for Plagiarism

The most serious cases of plagiarism will be referred directly to the Investigating Committee of the Senate (ICS). Take this to mean that the likely sanction will be more severe than awarding zero for the assignment. In all cases, the student should be told that any subsequent offences will be referred to the University's ICS.

For less serious cases, the following is a guide to the penalties that will be imposed. Even when markers suspect plagiarism, the work submitted (program, essay, report, etc) should be marked, where possible, as if it were wholly the student's work. This mark is a reference mark and, in some cases, is the mark to which any penalties are applied.

Computing Modules
  • A student should not receive any marks for work that is the result of improper collaboration. In particular, a student, who has used a program given to them by someone else (even where they have acknowledged this), should receive a reduced mark for the assignment. This mark should normally be zero. If a non-zero mark is awarded, it should reflect what is identifiably the student's work and may include a penalty, that is set to reflect how culpable the student is deemed to have been.
  • A student, who has provided their code to another student, will normally receive a mark reduction of up to 10%.
  • A student, who has taken a program from somewhere or from someone else without asking permission and without attribution, should receive zero for that assignment.
Lab Books

Students should not receive marks for work that is not their own. This can include using data that the student did not take (students in different pairs/groups should collect data independently), or using the analysis/write-up of someone else. In such cases, students should receive the mark due for the part of the work that is actually their own. A further penalty may then be applied to this mark to reflect the degree of dishonesty involved.

A student who supplies material to another student will normally receive a mark reduction of up to 10%.

Reports or Essays

A student, who has copied significant amounts from sources, should receive a mark which reflects how much of the work is their own. This mark should then be reduced as follows:

  • If the sources have been cited and the words put in quotation marks, no further penalty;
  • If the sources have been cited without identifying which words have been copied, the mark should be reduced by 10% of the maximum available for that assignment or reduced to zero whichever yields the highest mark for the assignment;
  • If the sources have not been cited, the mark should be reduced by 30% of the maximum available for that assignment or reduced to zero whichever yields the highest mark for the assignment.

If students have copied from each other or have included words written by the supervisor (eg in an email), but without attribution, the mark should be reduced to reflect the fraction that is their own work.

The module leader should inform the examination secretary for the year and the Senior Tutor of any penalties that have been applied.