AITs Policy on Plagiarism
Athlone Institute of Technology aims to foster and maintain an ethos of honesty and academic integrity. All staff and students have an obligation to act in an ethical manner, consistent with the requirements of academic integrity.
Academic integrity is underpinned by the academic trust that develops between academic staff and students, and fostered by the provision of a positive modern learning environment, coupled with AIT’s proactive approach to the development of good academic practice. The institution is responsible for the provision of a fair and transparent policy and process.
The purpose of this document is to provide a definition of plagiarism and to outline the institute’s policy and procedures for dealing with alleged plagiarism. The institute will address this in the first instance through advice and through its approach to assessment. Where plagiarism is detected, it is the intention of the institute that it be dealt with fairly, consistently, and in accordance with the principles of natural justice.
This policy applies to all programmes of study leading to an Athlone Institute of Technology award. This includes both taught and research programmes. Athlone Institute of Technology has adopted policy on collaborative and transnational provision; this plagiarism policy will also inform such provision.
Plagiarism is when one presents as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source. It is defined as the unwarranted use of the ideas, words, arguments, concepts, or designs of another. To avoid the charge of plagiarism, learners need to take care to credit and/or reference those from whom they borrow and quote.
Plagiarism is a serious academic offence. While plagiarism may be easy to commit unintentionally, it is defined by the act not the intention. It is the responsibility of all students to familiarise themselves with the institute’s policy on plagiarism and are encouraged, if in doubt, to seek guidance from an academic staff member. Page 3 of 14
· verbatim copying of another’s work without clear identification, appropriate reference, and acknowledgement.
· close paraphrasing of another’s work by simply changing a few words or altering the order of presentation without clear identification, appropriate reference, and acknowledgement.
· unidentified/unacknowledged presentation of another’s concept as one’s own.
· unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work.
· accepting unwarranted support from others (e.g. parents, professionals) in preparing continuous assessment material which is submitted as one’s own work.
If a learner provides work to another learner for him/her to copy, he/she may be implicated
in the suspected offence.
AIT commits to a pro-active approach to the prevention of plagiarism through the
development of good academic practice.
The institute employs the following preventative measures in order to meet this outcome:
· Provision of training to both staff and students at the commencement of the academic year, or as required, in the practices of referencing and citation and in the use of source material(s).
· Provision of training in the use of the detection software to both staff and students, as required.1
1 This currently is the Turnitin software which is an internet-based plagiarism-prevention service that checks documents for unoriginal content. The results can be used to identify similarities to existing sources or can be used in formative assessment to help students learn how to avoid plagiarism and improve their writing.
· Introduction to the concepts of academic integrity and plagiarism at the Schools induction sessions.
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· On-line resources available through the library website which are available at
and the Academic Writing Skills Moodle page which is available at
· The facility to submit assignments to Turnitin is also available on the Academic Writing Skills Moodle page. Students are encouraged to use this resource to check their work but should discuss the results with their lecturer.
· Referral to this policy in all assessment instructions provided to students. There is a requirement on all students, in respect of all work submitted, to include a plagiarism disclaimer declaring that their work has been completed in accordance with AIT’s policy on plagiarism. This Student Plagiarism Disclaimer (Form A1) can be found in the Appendices to this policy document.
The institute employs detection software under license to assist in ensuring that material is original. This product is an application that helps support the development of the student’s skills and is available in order to check that the work proposed for submission is not open to the charge of plagiarism. It allows staff and students to check the academic integrity of work by searching for improper citation or potential plagiarism by comparing it against continuously updated databases. Training on the use of this product is provided for staff by The Learning and Teaching Unit at various times throughout the academic year, or as requested. Training will be scheduled for first year students as part of their programme of study. Students in subsequent years may request training by contacting their lecturer.
Procedures for dealing with incidents of plagiarism
All allegations or suspicions of plagiarism are dealt ultimately by the Registrar. However, the process is stepped in nature and allegations are considered and dealt with initially at department and school levels. A record of all cases of plagiarism upheld will be maintained in the Registrar’s office. The registrar shall ensure consistency in the handling of all cases of plagiarism across the institute.
An Academic Officer shall be appointed within each department and be given the appropriate time and resource allocation which allows him/her to develop an expertise in this area.
If an academic staff member suspects plagiarism he/she may consult with a more experienced colleague in confidence about the case. The academic staff member at
2 This proprietary product is currently Turnitin. See previous footnote.
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this point may decide not to continue with a formal report, if they feel it does not meet the criteria for plagiarism.
However, if an academic staff member decides to formally report an incident of plagiarism, he/she will complete form A2 and then convene a meeting to discuss the suspected plagiarism. In attendance at this meeting will be a Senior Academic from another Area, the Academic Officer and the learner. The learner may be accompanied by a member of the Student’s Union or a friend. The learner is also entitled to have legal representation present as per Section H6 of the Institute Standards Assessment and Awards document.
Prior to this meeting the learner will be notified in writing (Refer to Appendices: A4), by the Academic Officer of the suspected offence and provided with a copy of the marked up piece of work and the Turnitin Originality Report, where relevant.
At this meeting, the learner will be given a clear explanation of what has been alleged, and given the opportunity to respond to the allegations and make known any mitigating circumstances.
If the Academic Officer decides that there is not sufficient evidence of plagiarism the learner will be provided with advice on the necessity of properly acknowledging and referencing sources in order to avoid plagiarism. A record of this decision will be kept in the relevant School Office (form A3 is completed).
If the Academic Officer is satisfied that plagiarism has occurred, he/she will determine the penalty by referring to the Penalty Grid included in this policy document. The Academic Officer will outline the penalties to be administered by completing the Academic Officer’s Report (form A3).
This decision will be communicated in writing to the learner by the Academic Officer within 3 working days.
Students can appeal the decision of the Academic Officer through the Registrar’s Office in accordance with the appeals process set down in Section N of the institute’s Standards, Assessment, & Awards document. This must be completed before the end of the academic year.
At the end of each academic year the Academic Officer(s) will issue a report for the Registrar’s Office which will be presented to Academic Council. A copy of this report will also be kept in each School Office.
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Examination Boards may not overturn the decision or change the penalty which has been applied by the Academic Officer.
Where plagiarism has been discovered in a group project, wherever possible the individual(s) responsible for the plagiarised sections will be identified and treated in the normal manner. If it is not possible to identify individuals responsible, the case will be treated as a serious offence and whatever penalty is imposed will apply in full and equally to all members of the group
AIT's full Plagiarism policy, including discipline procedures are available in the main library on the 2hr shelve under 030 ATH; please ask at the library desk to consult this policy.