Academy of Forensic Medical Sciences Courses

Plagiarism and Collusion Policy

Introduction

The Academy of Forensic Medical Sciences takes allegations of plagiarism or collusion seriously. Students who plagiarise or collude threaten the values and beliefs that underpin academic work and devalue the integrity of the Academy’s awards, whether or not such plagiarism or collusion is intentional. Where plagiarism and/or collusion has occurred, offenders may be punished, and the punishment may extend to failing their qualification, temporary suspension or expulsion from further study at the Academy. Plagiarism and/or collusion, at any point of a student’s course, whether discovered before or after completion, will be investigated and dealt with appropriately by the Academy.

All work submitted for assessment by students is accepted on the understanding that it is the student’s own effort and written from their own understanding, without falsification of any kind. Students are expected to offer their own analysis and presentation of information gleaned from research, even when group exercises are carried out. In so far as students rely on sources, they should indicate what these are in accordance with the appropriate convention in their discipline.

Definitions

Plagiarism and collusion are defined as follows:

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of another person’s work. It can take the following forms:

It can occur in ‘open-book’ examinations and/or coursework assessments which may take a variety of forms, including, but not exclusively confined to: essays, reports, presentations, dissertations and projects.

Collusion

Collusion is a form of plagiarism, involving unauthorised co-operation between at least two people, with the intent to deceive. Various forms of collaborative assessment undertaken in accordance with published requirements do not fall under the heading of collusion.

Collusion can take the following forms:

Obligations of students

All students should be willing to sign a declaration on registration, that the work they are submitting during that academic year (coursework, projects, dissertations etc.) is their own work and that there is no unacknowledged use of another person’s work and that there has been no unauthorised co-operation between them and another person in the preparation and production of work. Even when this is not required, the assumption is that all submitted work is the student’s own.

Where appropriate, students are expected to familiarise themselves with and make use of the method(s) of citing other people’s work in accordance with the appropriate conventions in their discipline.

Students must not mislead examiners by submitting another person’s work for assessment in a way which intentionally and/or negligently and/or recklessly suggests that factual information has been collected and/or analysed which has not in fact been collected and/or analysed by the student.

Graduates

Where plagiarism and/or collusion is found to have occurred in the work of a student of the Academy, the matter shall be referred by the member(s) of staff who has/have discovered the offence to the Head of the student’s Department of registration (or most appropriate successor) in accordance with the Academy’s Disciplinary Procedures.

B. PROCEDURES FOR DEALING WITH SUSPECTED CASES OF PLAGIARISM AND/OR COLLUSION

Plagiarism Officer

The Director shall appoint a Plagiarism Officer. The role of the Plagiarism Officer is to hear cases of suspected plagiarism and/or collusion as set out in paragraphs 3, 4 and 5 below. The Plagiarism Officer shall consider alleged offences committed by students enrolled on the module(s) offered by the Academy.

Collection of Evidence

If a marker suspects plagiarism or collusion, s/he will gather the necessary evidence. Wherever possible or appropriate, the main evidence for plagiarism will be the original sources(s) that has/have been drawn on/copied from. In appropriate cases (for example, where plagiarism/collusion has been identified as a level 2 or level 3 offence as specified under 4.1. below), the Plagiarism Officer may collect other work completed by the student within the Stage/Year.

Where there is an allegation of plagiarism and/or collusion in respect of assessed work, a student will be asked in writing (or by e-mail) by the Academy Secretary to submit an electronic copy of the assessed work in question. The student will be given five working days from date of the letter or e-mail of the request (Saturdays, Sundays and Academy closure days excepted) within which to provide an electronic copy. Where a student does not provide an electronic copy of the assessed work in question within the required time-scale, and there are no extenuating circumstances to account for the delay or non-submission, an automatic mark of zero will be recorded for the assessment item. Where the electronic copy is corrupted or is different from the original submission a mark of zero will be recorded for the assessed work in question.

If an internal marker suspects plagiarism and/or collusion but is unable to identify the original sources, s/he should collect what evidence is available and present it to the Plagiarism Officer who will decide if there is a prima facie case for plagiarism and/or collusion which would warrant a plagiarism and/or collusion meeting. In collating evidence relevant to the allegation of plagiarism and/or collusion the marker should adopt the principle of “balance of probability”.

Meeting to Discuss Plagiarism / Collusion

The student will be summoned to a meeting to discuss the alleged plagiarism and/or collusion by the Academy Secretary. The summons shall be delivered to the student’s e-mail address at least five working days (Saturdays, Sundays and Academy closure days excepted) before the meeting. Alternative arrangements for correspondence with students, who are on placements or other permitted absence, will be made.

The Plagiarism/Collusion meeting shall proceed in the student’s absence if, having been properly summoned, s/he fails to appear. If a student wishes to appear and can prove that s/he is unable to appear at the Plagiarism meeting due to good reason by notifying the Secretary of the Plagiarism meeting at the earliest convenience, the meeting may be rescheduled or alternative arrangements made. If a student fails to appear at the meeting without providing good reason, the meeting shall proceed in the student’s absence.

The meeting shall be chaired by the Plagiarism Officer. The internal marker who has identified the alleged plagiarism and/or collusion shall also be in attendance. The student may, if s/he wishes, be accompanied by a friend who may present the student’s case and/or provide support. The friend shall not be a member of Academy staff or a member of the legal profession. If in the opinion of the Plagiarism Officer, the friend is or appears to be, interfering with the proper conduct of the business of the meeting, the Plagiarism Officer has the right to:

The meeting shall proceed in the following order:

Outcomes

In the event that the student admits plagiarism or collusion, the Plagiarism Officer shall determine the seriousness of the offence and classify it as a low (level 1), medium (level 2), or high level offence (level 3) using the grid below.

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LEVEL 1 OFFENCE:

The Plagiarism Officer shall recommend that no penalty should be imposed, i.e. the student may be given the opportunity of resubmitting the work as if for the first time.

In order to help the student to prevent plagiarism and/or collusion in future assignments, the student shall be offered staff support.

LEVEL 2 OFFENCE:

(a)Plagiarism

The Plagiarism Officer shall record a mark which assesses the work as far as possible excluding the plagiarised material. This ensures that the recorded mark reflects the student’s own work.

(b) Collusion

LEVEL 3 OFFENCE

The documentation relating to the (i) record of the meeting, (ii) the assessed work in question and (iii) the findings and the mark recorded by the Plagiarism Officer shall be retained for future reference.

The student will be given a copy of the documentation relating to (i)–(iii) above.

The Secretary to the meeting shall ensure that the correct mark is recorded for the student. The Board of Examiners (if applicable) should not be made aware of any marks recorded reflecting plagiarism and/or collusion so that students’ marks can be considered objectively by the Board of Examiners.

It is the Chair of Examiners’ responsibility to ensure that any decisions on progression, classifications or the awards of academic qualifications are not influenced beyond the recorded marks by a student having plagiarised and/or colluded.

In the event that a student denies that he or she is guilty of plagiarism or collusion, the following outcomes are possible:

if the Plagiarism Officer is persuaded by the student’s accounts of events and agrees that no offence has been committed, no further action will be taken;

if, on the basis of the evidence collected, the Plagiarism Officer is not persuaded by the student’s accounts of events, the matter shall be reported to a Plagiarism and Collusion Committee comprising:

There shall be a Secretary to the Plagiarism and Collusion Committee who shall normally be a senior member of administrative staff from the Academy.

Plagiarism/Collusion Meeting

Meeting to consider Plagiarism/Collusion at Level 1 In the event that a case is reported to a Plagiarism and Collusion Committee, the Plagiarism Officer shall submit:

The Academy Plagiarism and Collusion Committee shall review the evidence and may seek further information and evidence from the student and/or the Plagiarism Officer as it shall deem appropriate. The Plagiarism and Collusion Committee shall consider whether the student has committed an offence of plagiarism and/or collusion. In making its decision, the Academy Plagiarism and Collusion Committee shall be guided by the principles laid out in the grid under 4.1. above.

If the Plagiarism and Collusion Committee decides that the student has committed plagiarism and/or collusion, it shall take action in accordance with paragraph 4.2. above. Where the offence has been repeated, or is particularly serious, the Director of the Academy shall consider if it is appropriate for disciplinary action to be taken.

The Secretary of the Plagiarism and Collusion Committee shall notify in writing the findings to the student in respect of the outcome of the meeting of the Plagiarism and Collusion Committee. A copy of the documentation shall also be retained for future reference.

Appeals

A student may appeal against the Ruling of the Plagiarism and Collusion Committee under paragraph 5.3. as to whether plagiarism and/or collusion has occurred. A student who wishes to appeal should do so in writing to the Academic Registrar within 10 working days of the notification of the outcome, setting out the grounds for the appeal.

A student may appeal against a penalty applied under paragraphs 4.2. (section B) or 5.3. (section B) and should do so in writing to the Director of the Academy within 10 working days of the notification of the outcome, setting out the grounds for the appeal.

Academy of Forensic Medical Sciences

Registered Address:
117 Charterhouse Street, London EC1M 6AA

Telephone:
+44(0)207 882 3401

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