Research integrity and academic integrity
Academic integrity and research integrity are related concepts, but they refer to different aspects of the academic and research environment.
Academic integrity refers to the principles that guide students in their educational pursuits and includes the work they submit for coursework and assessments, whereas research integrity relates to the responsible conduct of research and the dissemination of research findings.
Both forms of integrity are interconnected, contributing to the overall culture of excellence and trust in the academic and research community.
Plagiarism directly impacts the credibility and reliability of educational and research activities, so it’s important to avoid plagiarism to uphold academic and research integrity.
Plagiarism occurs when you use someone else’s words, theories, data or concepts without attributing the original source.
Plagiarism can include:
- Direct copying - using text or visual content without using quotation marks or properly citing the source
- Mosaic or patchwork plagiarism - combining sentences from different sources or using someone else’s text as a scaffold for your own work, creating a new text that appears to be original
- Presenting someone else's ideas, concepts or arguments as your own without acknowledging the source
- Self-plagiarism - reusing your own work without proper citation or permission
Plagiarism and Research Integrity
The La Trobe Research Integrity Policy states that La Trobe researchers and research trainees are expected to adhere to responsible research practices as prescribed by the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (Research Code).
According to Researcher Responsibility 4 of the Research Code, researchers must ensure that they ‘cite and acknowledge other relevant work appropriately and accurately’ . This responsibility extends beyond citing the work of others. Your publications and thesis should also accurately represent the development of your ideas and any previous publications related to your research. See the self-citation page for more information.
Embedding integrity in the process of publishing research outputs is an essential aspect of research integrity. All researchers, including staff and higher degree by research candidates, have a responsibility to be familiar with correct citation practices as followed in their disciplines, and abiding by these practices. Accurate citation according to the norms of your discipline and avoiding plagiarism are essential components of upholding research integrity.
If you have any questions or concerns about plagiarism and how it relates to research integrity, please reach out to the Research Integrity Hub by sending an e-mail to email@example.com.
Training and support
La Trobe resources
- Growing Researchers Online (GRO): Research Integrity is an introductory module on research integrity, which outlines key concepts and questions.
- The La Trobe Academic Integrity Module is available to all students and staff through the LMS. It is not compulsory for higher degree by research candidates, but is recommended for those who completed undergraduate study elsewhere in Australia or overseas to ensure familiarity with La Trobe’s expectations. It is also recommended for HDR candidates who completed their previous degree more than five years ago.
- La Trobe’s Research Integrity Policy and Higher Degree Student Research Misconduct Procedure can help you understand what is expected of a researcher at La Trobe and the procedures and consequences when things go wrong.
- There are guides on how to reference and acknowledging sources correctly online if you need to brush up on your core skills.
- The Library has a range of self-guided modules and a referencing tool.
- Training sessions in a wide range of academic skills, including on using the citation manager Endnote occur regularly. See the workshop and seminar program for what’s on and how to sign up.
- The U.S. Office of Research Integrity provides many useful resources including “Avoiding Plagiarism, Self-plagiarism, and Other Questionable Writing Practices: A Guide to Ethical Writing” (updated 2015). Note that information about copyright laws and regulations given through this site is based on U.S., not Australian legislation. It may still be relevant, especially to journal and book publication where publishers are based in the U.S.A.
- This opinion piece gives one perspective on the kinds of self-citation that are acceptable and unacceptable in biomedical publications. It may also be a helpful discussion of key concepts for researchers in other disciplines. Thurman, Robin H., Frank A. Chervenak, Laurence B. McCullough, Sana Halwani, and Dan Farine. “Self-plagiarism: a misnomer.” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 214.1 (2012): 91-93
- The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) has an online module “Avoiding Plagiarism” which includes examples and exercises.