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In response to growing concerns over plagiarism in all University courses, each piece of submitted work must be accompanied by a standard cover sheet, including a signed declaration to the effect that the work is the student’s own unaided effort and meets the University’s guidelines and regulations on plagiarism. These guidelines are outlined below.

Examination in Scientific Computing for the MPhil Degree

Regulations on plagiarism

Plagiarism is presenting the work of others as if it were one’s own. If discovered by the Examiners, it will be treated as an attempt to gain credit under false pretences and may be referred to the University Court of Discipline. Plagiarism is treated by the University with the utmost seriousness, and severe penalties are imposed whenever it is detected. This may result in a candidate failing the degree, for which he or she is entered.

The Examiners will normally consider as plagiarism any instance in which the work/ideas of another person have been included in the submission of examinable work, whether or in paraphrase, without full acknowledgement to their author. This acknowledgement must include detailed bibliographic references (including Internet addresses where appropriate) to any sources from which information or ideas have been derived.

It is appreciated that candidates will often perform practical exercises together, and that they may wish to study in groups in order to learn from each other and to solve problems together. However, it is essential that any material finally submitted for marking is the work of the candidate or candidates making the submission, written in their own words, and presented in their own way, with proper acknowledgement of all sources from which information has been derived, and a clear indication of the extent to which use has been made of the work of others.

Each candidate who submits a project report, essay, dissertation or any other work for examination will be required to sign a declaration that the submission is his or her own work, unaided except as may be specified in the declaration, that all sources are fully acknowledged and referenced, and that the submission does not contain material that has already been used to any substantial extent for a comparable purpose. If two or more candidates submit work in collaboration, they will each be required to sign the declaration and will be held jointly responsible for adhering to it.

Any marks awarded will be conditional on the above requirements having been met. Coursework marks contribute significantly to your overall mark. Because this work is not carried under examination conditions the distinction between beneficial co-operation and deliberate cheating should be clear in everyone’s mind.

The course team will be using plagiarism detection software.

Co-operation and teamwork

It is perfectly acceptable to discuss continuously assessed work with other students or supervisors. Such discussions are beneficial and we wish to encourage them. It is right that effective use of such discussions can lead to higher marks, always provided that it is the student who has made the main contribution to the work submitted and understands all of it.
Cooperation can go too far, however, especially if one student is effectively carried by another. Thus, while it may well be beneficial for students to discuss a problem, it is unacceptable for two students to submit effectively identical essays or other assignment work. The named author must have made the main contribution to the work submitted and the report must be in his or her own words. Any attempt to pass off the work of others as being produced by the named author is cheating.

Web-based plagiarism

With the proliferation of easily accessible information on the internet there has been a steady rise in students using cut and paste techniques to import non-attributed material into their own work. Under no circumstances is this practice allowed and it is expressly forbidden. Sophisticated search engines are now available to staff to match passages suspected as having been plagiarised with the original source material. In circumstances where this confirms plagiarism from the internet the offending student will be immediately reported to the University authorities for disciplinary action.

The course team treats the issue of plagiarism very seriously. Integrity and responsibility in fulfillment of all course requirements is expected from all course participants.

Guidelines on plagiarism

In some cultures it may be seen as a form of flattery or respect to use someone else’s words or ideas as part of your own material. However in many parts of the world, words and ideas are considered to be intellectual property, owned by the individual who created them, in the same way he or she might own land or a lap-top computer. In these communities it is believed that a person’s intellectual property must not be used without permission. Deliberate and conscious copying is unethical and against the high standards set by scientific researchers, academic authors and professional engineers.

In constructing a written piece of work it is therefore essential that the reader is clearly informed where the source material has been derived from, and identify any ideas or forms of expression that are not your own. This means all sources must be accurately cited so that the person owning the intellectual property is given proper acknowledgement for the work they have done. These are the high standards which are strictly adhered to at Cambridge University and even if you try and express someone else’s ideas in your own words this too is considered plagiarism.

Citing a source

This means including a reference in your text to show that material such as words, data, ideas, diagrams, software, etc. has been extracted from another source. This can be done easily by including in parenthesis the author’s last name and date of publication e.g. (Smith, 2002). This reference is cross-referenced to a complete list at the end of your paper or report in the form of a Bibliography, which directs the reader to the location of the material (book, Journal, web-site page etc.). This information must be complete and accurately presented so the reader can find the source for himself. Not only does this approach properly acknowledge the work of others but it also allows the reader to judge how much you are relying on information from perhaps just one or two, as opposed to many, authors and how recent and up to date this information is.

In general, any specific information, which is not common knowledge, must be cited. If in any doubt whether a fact or other information is common knowledge then a source must be cited. Other people’s ideas can be included in two ways: either by quoting the source directly within quotation marks, or by paraphrasing in your own words the idea. In both cases, the reference to the source material must be cited. However direct quotes should not be overused and it is best to only include them in your work if the author has made a point in a particularly insightful way. These quotations can complement, but cannot be a substitute for, your own line of reasoning.

It is possible to fall into the trap of unconscious plagiarism, usually arising from an over zealous direct use of notes when preparing written assignments and reports. It may also occur if an essay is based too closely on the highlighted passages of marked up texts or photocopies.

Including un-referenced material downloaded directly from the internet also constitutes plagiarism. Any web-based information should be respected and cited like any other more traditional source. Also there is far less quality control applied to much information which is posted on the internet and so the veracity of material obtained in this way should be treated with greater caution, doubt and uncertainty.

A piece of work, which merely cites the ideas and results of other author’s endeavours, is not transformed into “original” work simply by the use of extensive referencing and footnotes. It is vital that your work adds a critical dimension to this material through your own judgement and analysis.

If in any doubt make it clear to the reader by citation and references where the original idea, material or data has come from. If you don’t, it will be considered as lying, cheating, stealing and an insult to the original author.

More detailed advice on plagiarism is provided on the following web-sites: