What is Academic Misconduct?
Defined as an action that produces an unfair advantage to
yourself or others in an educational setting, academic misconduct can
have a significant negative impact on your professional and academic
career. In practical terms, this most commonly falls in the realm of
‘cheating’ on an exam or plagiarising existing material or copying work from
While the term is increasingly difficult to define in the digital age, it commonly includes-
- Academic Dishonesty: Using any means
available to achieve an advantage. This commonly falls into the realm of
digital approaches such as resubmitting previously assessed work or
taking steps to subvert plagiarism software.
- Collusion: Working together with other students to produce a piece of work or subvert a failsafe step in the plagiarism process.
- Falsifying Information: The presentation of distorted or fictitious data such as interviews, surveys, citations, results etc.
- Impersonation: Assuming the identity of
another individual to undertake a test, submit work, or gain access to
insights that you did not produce.
- Sabotage: This involves the destruction
or defacing of academic materials, interfering with the research of
fellow students, or otherwise obstructing the faculty in the completion
of their assessment tasks.
All academic institutions will have different definitions
and penalties for addressing academic misconduct. However, it is very
often heavily penalised – often to the fullest extent available to the
board – even if a mistake was genuine and unintentional.
Facing an accusation of academic misconduct could see your grade lowered, penalties levied against you, or have your qualification stripped away from you.
Other punishments include-
- Being expelled from your institution or course.
- The destruction or elimination of your work under the auspices of preventing the spread of false data.
- Significant ‘soft’ penalties such as blackballing or being unable to seek a reference.
- Legal action, fines and penalties.
While disciplinary methods vary - if you are accused of plagiarism - you will be summoned to explain your actions to your academic supervisor and (depending on the perceived degree of severity) a board. Failing to ‘pass’ this review or represent yourself accurately can result in significant penalties. Plagiarism could be noted on any references you receive from the establishment, and even receiving a significantly diminished or ‘zero’ grade for the work. This can then spiral upward and result in a failure for your module, course, and a significant impact to the value of your final grade.
While plagiarism is not formally classed as a criminal or civil offence, if the act infringes on an individual’s copyright or an established traemark – you may find yourself subject to a lawsuit or civil action.
Having operated in the sector for many years, we know that plagiarism can be easily enacted by accident. Our team has represented a number of students at panel hearings to ensure that their case is fully, and fairly heard when it matters most.
Our comprehensive experience in academic and education law allows you specialist experience when it comes to overturning allegations, reducing sentences, or seeking reduced sanctions and allowing you to continue with your work.
If you want to learn more about our ability to help overturn or appeal an academic misconduct allegation, please do not hesitate to contact us directly. This will allow us to understand more about your unique situation, help provide initial guidance, and begin formulating a plan to provide the best professional protection possible.