Aga Khan University Student Academic Integrity Policy Overview

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1.1 The main purpose of a university is to encourage and facilitate the pursuit of knowledge and scholarship. The attainment of this purpose requires the individual integrity of all members of the University community, including all undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate students.

1.2 The mission, vision, values, policies and practices of the Aga Khan University declare unequivocally that academic integrity is considered to be an integral component of professional and ethical behaviour.

1.3 It is the responsibility of all Aga Khan University students to ensure that all academic work (formative, summative, certifying, papers, theses, dissertations, professional examinations, midterms, finals, projects, group work assignment etc.) submitted as part of their course work and / or programme of study, in whole or in part, meets the University's test for academic integrity.

2.0 Students

2.1 Definition: for the purposes of this Policy, a student shall mean and include any individual admitted to and enrolled at the University for a course of studies leading to an undergraduate, graduate or postgraduate diploma or degree or any individual registered with any other university or institution who has been accepted for an approved programme of study or training at the University.

2.1.1 For the purposes of the Student Academic Integrity Policy, Postgraduate Medical Education (PGME) Interns, Residents and Fellows shall be deemed to be students of the University.

2.2 Students are responsible for being aware of and demonstrating behaviour that is honest and ethical in their academic work, including but not limited to:

2.2.1 Following faculty member's instructions related to referencing sources of information, the proper methods for collaborating on academic work and / or engaging in group work.

2.2.2 Asking for clarification of the instructions where necessary.

2.2.3 Ensuring that their academic work is not accessible to or being used by others. This includes protecting and / or denying access to computer files.

2.2.4 Adhering to the principles of academic integrity when conducting and reporting research.

2.3 Graduate students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the definitions of breaches of academic integrity in the University's research related policies (cf. Item 7.0, "Related University Documents").

2.4 Students are responsible for their behaviour and may face penalties under this Policy, if they commit academic misconduct.

3.0 Academic Dishonesty

It shall be deemed a breach of the University's Student Academic Integrity Policy to:

3.1 Collaborate improperly on academic work. (cf. Appendix A)

3.2 Submit the same or substantially the same academic work for two or more courses, without prior written approval of the member(s) of faculty.

3.3 Plagiarise (cf. Appendix A).

3.4 Cheat on examinations, including the use of unauthorized aids during the writing of the examination.

3.5 Submit false or altered documents.

3.6 Submit false information or false medical documentation to gain a postponement, advantage or leave from mandatory session(s).

3.7 Provide a false signature for attendance at any class or assessment procedure or on any document related to attendance or the submission of material where the signature is used as proof of authenticity or participation in the academic assessment.

3.8 Misrepresent academic credentials from other institutions or to submit false information for the purpose of gaining admission or credits.

3.9 Misrepresent registration / participation in a conference, seminar, symposium, etc.

3.10 Submit or present work as one's own that has been purchased or acquired from another source.

3.11 Receive and / or distribute test or course materials that are in the process of being prepared or have been stored.

3.12 Alter a grade or using altered course materials to have a course grade changed.

3.13 Steal, destroy or tamper with another student's work.

3.14 Forge, alter or fabricate Aga Khan University documents, including but not limited to transcripts, letters of reference or other official documents.

3.15 Impersonate another student either in person or electronically for the purpose of academic assessment.

3.16 Assist another student in the commission of academic misconduct.

3.17 A breach of the University's Policy on Research Misconduct. (cf. Appendix A)

4.0 Disciplinary Proceedings: Academic Dishonesty

4.1 Academic misconduct is a serious disciplinary matter and, in addition to and notwithstanding the regulations provided herein, students charged with academic misconduct will be subject to the definitions and disciplinary procedures of the University's Student Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures.

4.2 Notwithstanding the University's Student Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures, when a student is found to have breached the University's Student Academic Integrity Policy, items 3.1 - 3.2, the following penalties may be applied independently or in combination for any single violation.

4.2.1 A letter reporting the academic dishonesty offence sent to the student and copied to the student's Dean / Director, the Registrar, the student's parents and / or a student's sponsoring agent.

4.2.2 A reduction of the mark on the piece(s) of academic work.

4.2.3 A mark of zero for the piece(s) of academic work.

4.2.4 A reduction of the overall course grade.

4.2.5 A failing mark for the course with a transcript notation.

4.2.6 Cancellation of admission to the University and /or enrollment at the University.

4.2.7 Suspension.

4.2.8 Expulsion.

4.2.9 A recommendation to Academic Council, the Board of Trustees and the Chancellor to rescind the student's degree.

4.2.10 Any other penalties as may be deemed appropriate for the circumstances.

4.3 Notwithstanding the University's Student Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures, when a student is found to have breached the University's Student Academic Integrity Policy, items 3.3 - 3.17, the following penalties may be applied independently or in combination for any single violation.

4.3.1 Cancellation of admission to and / or enrollment at the University.

4.3.2 Suspension.

4.3.3 Expulsion.

4.3.4 A recommendation to Academic Council, the Board of Trustees and the Chancellor to rescind the student's degree.

4.3.5 Any other penalties as may be deemed appropriate for the circumstances.

5.0 Use of Plagiarism-Detection Software

5.1 Preamble

5.1.1 In an effort to ensure the highest academic standards, the University supports academic integrity through academic policies that define academic dishonesty.

5.1.2 The University and its faculty expect that all students will be evaluated and graded on their own individual work.

5.1.3 The University recognises that students often have to use the ideas of others as expressed in written, published or unpublished works in the preparation of essays, papers, reports, theses, dissertations and publications.

5.1.4 The University expects that both the data and ideas obtained from any and all published or unpublished material will be properly acknowledged and sources disclosed including proper citations when work is copied or paraphrased.

5.1.5 Failure to follow this practice constitutes plagiarism.

5.1.6 The University, through the availability of plagiarism-detection software (e.g.,, iTheniticate,, desires to encourage responsible student behaviour, deter plagiarism, improve student learning and ensure greater accountability amongst students.

5.1.7 Plagiarism-detection software uses proprietary search technology to check assignments against Internet resources, proprietary databases and previously submitted student assignments.

5.2 Policy

5.2.1 The University's Policy on the Use of Plagiarism-Detection Software will be published in all undergraduate and graduate programme Student Handbooks (or equivalent).

5.2.2 Faculty who wish to use plagiarism-detection software in their course(s) must comply with the requirements set out in this Policy. "Use" is defined as member of faculty submitting students' assignments to plagiarism-detection software themselves and/or faculty members requiring students to submit their papers to plagiarism-detection software before papers are graded.

5.2.3 In the courses in which members of faculty intend to use plagiarism-detection software they must communicate this to the students in the course syllabus. The course syllabus should include: A notice that plagiarism-detection software will or may be used for all student papers in the course:

Sample Statement

In this course you will be required to submit some material in electronic form. When this is required, it will be noted. The electronic material will be submitted to ______________, a plagiarism-detection service to which AKU subscribes. This is a service that checks textual material for originality. It is increasingly used in universities around the world. A page describing the plagiarism-detection software the University's reasons for using it are attached. A notice to students that the work they submit to plagiarism-detection software will become part of the plagiarism-detection software database; A statement that if the student objects to having his or her paper(s) submitted to the student papers database of plagiarism-detection software, that objection must be communicated in writing to the instructor at the beginning of the course. The paper(s) will then be run through plagiarism-detection software excluding the student papers database, thus omitting the depositing of the paper(s) into that database.

5.2.4 Students who are advised of the use of plagiarism-detection software in a particular course, as set out above, are deemed to agree, by taking the course, to submit their papers to plagiarism-detection software for "textual similarity review."

5.2.5 Students at all times retain the copyright in their work. Moreover, plagiarism-detection software protects students' privacy because it does not make students' papers available to outside third parties. Students should be advised of this.

5.2.6 In the courses in which plagiarism-detection software will or may be used, students should be provided with instruction and/or resources about what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.

5.2.7 Where the results of a plagiarism-detection software originality report may be used to charge a student with academic misconduct, the student must be notified of the result of the report, and the student must be given an opportunity to respond before any disciplinary penalty is imposed. The date, time, and results of such a meeting should be documented. A hard copy of the original plagiarism-detection software originality report must be retained.

6.0 Office of the Registrar

6.1 The Office of the Registrar shall be responsible for developing policies and procedures to detect misrepresentation of credentials during the admissions process and to provide support in maintaining academic integrity during the writing of examinations.

6.2 The Office of the Registrar is responsible for the procurement of plagiarism detection software.

6.3 The University Registrar, or his representative, will act as the secretary to academic misconduct-related disciplinary proceedings.

7.0 Related University Documents

7.1 Student Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures

7.2 University Policy on Research Misconduct

7.3 Guidelines for Authorship

7.4 Policy on Code of Good Research Practice and Access to Patient Data

Appendix A

1.0 Definitions

1.1 Plagiarism

Plagiarism is defined as the submission or presentation of another person's thoughts or words or software, in whole or in part, as though they were your own. Any quotation from the published or unpublished works of other persons must, therefore, be clearly identified as such by being placed inside quotation marks, and students should identify their sources as accurately and fully as possible.

1.1.1 What does this mean?

When writing an assignment, you must use your own words and thoughts.

When you use another person's exact phrasing, you must distinguish the text or material taken from that source from your own (i.e. through the use of quotation marks or an indentation).

When you use another person's thoughts or ideas, though you may not be directly quoting them, you must both acknowledge that these are not your own and reference the original source (i.e. through a footnote or other appropriate form of reference).

If you are paraphrasing what another person has stated, you must use completely different language, essentially re-writing it.  Altering a sentence or paragraph slightly is neither appropriate nor adequate. And remember, paraphrases still require a reference notation.

Each instructor has specific expectations for how students are to acknowledge sources in their courses. These are often explained in the course outline or in class.  You are encouraged to ask questions if you do not understand what your instructor expects of you when it comes to acknowledging sources used in course work or assignments.

The work you do for a course must be unique to that course.  Submitting an assignment that has already been graded in another course constitutes plagiarism unless you have sought and obtained the permission of the instructor in whose course you are currently enrolled.

If you are unsure whether or not to reference a source, err on the side of caution and do so anyway, as the sanctions for plagiarism may be quite severe.

1.1.2 Why is this important?

The main purpose of a university is the pursuit of knowledge and scholarship.  This requires the integrity of all members of the University community.  As a student at the Aga Khan University, you are expected to practice intellectual honesty and to fully acknowledge the work of others by providing appropriate references in your scholarly work.  Scholars do not take credit that is not earned.  Academic dishonesty is destructive to the values of the University, not to mention unfair to students who pursue their studies honestly.

1.2 Collaboration

Inappropriate collaboration occurs when students work together on an assignment that was intended as an individual assignment or when students work together in groups beyond the degree of permissible collaboration.

1.3 Research Misconduct

The University's Policy on Research Misconduct states that "Misconduct in research is defined to include any one or more of the following acts:"

1.3.1. Fabrication and / or falsification of research related data or in reporting research outcomes.

1.3.2 Plagiarism in all research related matters including publications, appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results, outputs or words without giving appropriate credit.

1.3.3 Inappropriate use of others' intellectual property (without reference or acknowledgment).

1.3.4 Denial of individual rights such as authorship to collaborative partners in research publications.

1.3.5 Non-compliance with Institution's policies on 'conflict of interest', 'intellectual property rights' and 'authorship guidelines'.

1.3.6 Deliberate misuse of institutional or sponsor's funds for financial gains.

1.3.7 Wilful failure to honour an agreement or contract with the funding agency to perform certain tasks.

1.3.8 Publishing any data or results that are against the internationally accepted general principles of research and scholarly activities.

1.3.9 Deliberate destruction of one's own or others' research data or records or research related property.

1.3.10 Making use of any information in breach of any duty of confidentiality associated with the review of any manuscript or grant application.

2.0 Useful references

2.1 Little Book of Plagiarism. Leeds Metropolitan University

2.2 Higher Education Commission, Pakistan

2.3 McMaster University: Academic Integrity Video

3.0 Sources

3.1 McMaster University Academic Integrity Office

3.2 Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, Plagiarism Policy

3.3 University College of London, Plagiarism Policy

3.4 University of Texas at Austin: Academic Integrity