What is academic integrity?

"Academic integrity means acting with the values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility in learning, teaching and research. "

In practical terms, it means developing, and submitting for assessment, your own academic work.

New Academic Integrity Policy launched August 2021

RMIT's new Academic Integrity Policy sets out key principles to guide a whole-of-institution approach to upholding academic integrity, including to:

  • Promote ethical academic scholarship and a positive culture of academic integrity.  
  • Adopt an educative approach to academic integrity with shared responsibility amongst staff and students. 
  • Define staff and student roles and responsibilities with respect to academic integrity outcomes. 
  • Support staff in establishing a culture of academic integrity, enact their responsibilities and take necessary action where breaches are suspected.  
  • Acknowledge the established research integrity principles and practices within the Research Policy. 
  • Outline actions and behaviours that constitute breaches and provides guidance on how to address these. 

The four steps to academic integrity

Follow these steps to ensure the academic integrity of your work:

Step 1: Know the rules

Complete these short online courses to learn about academic integrity and what’s expected of you at RMIT.

Academic Integrity Awareness digital credential

Find out how to reference sources and the difference between cooperation and collusion.  

Introduction to academic integrity

A quick tutorial that gives you an overview of academic integrity and links to other resources. 

Step 2: Create original work

Avoid accidental plagiarism by referencing all work that isn’t your own.

You must reference the following types of information:

  • thoughts, ideas, definitions or theories
  • research and other studies
  • statistics
  • information from the Internet, including images and media
  • designs or works of art
  • facts that are not common knowledge

Turnitin

You’ll use Turnitin when you submit your assessments. Turnitin is an online tool in Canvas that checks your assignments to ensure they're your own work, and that you've acknowledged the work and ideas from other sources. Find out more.

Step 3: Get study support

It takes time to learn how to reference correctly and prepare assessments. The good news is there's help available, including a 24/7 online study support service called Studiosity, and one-on-one consultations with academic skills advisors. 
If you're in Vietnam, go to the students support webpages for more help. 

Step 4: Ask if you're not sure

If you don't understand something in class or about an assessment, talk to your teacher or lecturer as soon as possible. If you need other help, you can contact one of our support services, RUSU or the student conduct team. 

Support services

Our support services are here to help you achieve your study and personal goals. If you're feeling stressed about study, we can help.

Go to student support

RMIT Student Union (RUSU)

RUSU offers free and confidential support for students who have been charged with academic misconduct.

Contact RUSU

Student conduct

If you'd like to talk to someone about a case of misconduct, contact the Student Conduct Secretariat for a confidential discussion.

e: student.conduct@rmit.edu.au
tel: +61 3 9925 8965
If you're in Vietnam, please contact: studentconduct@rmit.edu.vn

More information and resources

Academic misconduct and penalties

For serious breaches of academic integrity, students can be charged with academic misconduct. Possible penalties include cancellation of results and expulsion resulting in the cancellation of a student's program. Breaches of academic integrity include:

  • plagiarism
  • significant failure to appropriately and accurately acknowledge the work of others
  • failure to appropriately and accurately acknowledge one’s own work where original work has been reused from previous assessment tasks (also known as self-plagiarism)
  • ‘washing’, or the use of software services to disguise plagiarism
  • submitting the work of another person or from an online study platform as one’s own, or undertaking an assessment task for another person (contract cheating or ghost writing - see a definition of contract cheating below) 
  • collusion or unauthorised collaboration in the preparation or presentation of work
  • falsification, fabrication, manipulation or misrepresentation of data or results
  • attempting to gain unfair advantage in an invigilated assessment, breaching the rules for the conduct of invigilated assessment in a manner that defeats or compromises the purposes of the task
  • behaviour that violates assessment instructions thereby defeating or compromising the purpose of the assessment
  • unauthorised sharing of course materials and previously submitted assessment items including via online study platforms
  • misuse or unauthorised use of technology or equipment.

What is contract cheating?

Contract cheating is the use of outsourced material for the purpose of submission by a student for assessment. The person submitting the work is being dishonest by representing it as their own. This differs from traditional forms of plagiarism, which more commonly involves copying of existing submitted or published work. Contract cheating can take on many forms and is not limited to the purchasing of assessment material from online sources. Students may obtain assessments from peers or ‘tutors’ and the arrangement may not involve a financial exchange. 

Contract cheating services

Commercial cheating services, which are now illegal in Australia, are targeting students at RMIT. These services offer to provide answers or complete an assessment for you, sometimes asking for payment.  These services may keep a student’s personal details to harass them and ask for more money. If you use these services, it's considered contract cheating and is a breach of the Academic Integrity policy. To find out more information you can read the TEQSA information and resources.  If you have any concerns or questions about this, please write to student.conduct@rmit.edu.au.

RMIT policies

The following University policies provide more information about academic integrity and misconduct, including official definitions and penalties.

TEQSA academic integrity resources

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) is Australia’s independent national quality assurance and regulatory agency for higher education. TEQSA has developed the following resources for use by students, academics and teachers to promote understanding of academic integrity.

Understanding academic integrity

Protecting academic integrity

Tips

  • Keep track of your sources as you prepare your assessment.
  • Keep your work secure at all times.
  • Remember that recycling your own work can be plagiarism.