Research integrity and academic integrity
The La Trobe Research Integrity Policy states: 'La Trobe researchers and research trainees are expected to adhere to responsible research practice as established by the University in reference to the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007).'
According to the Code: 'researchers must ensure that they cite other relevant work appropriately and accurately when disseminating research findings' (section 4.6). This does not just mean citing the work of others. Your publications and thesis should also represent accurately the development of your own ideas and any previous publications of your research. See the self-citation page for more information.
Academic integrity in publications 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 to abide by them. Accurate citation in keeping with the norms of your discipline and avoiding plagiarism are an essential part of research integrity.
Plagiarism: 'occurs when someone uses words, ideas, or work products attributable to another identifiable person or source:
- without attributing the work to the source from which it was obtained
- in a situation in which there is a legitimate expectation of original authorship
- in order to obtain some benefit, credit, or gain which need not be monetary' (Fishman, T. International Centre for Academic Integrity).
Researchers have a core knowledge of correct citation practices and principles gained through previous study and work. Higher degree by research candidates and professional researchers, however, often face more complex situations than undergraduate students. The expectations and practices of different disciplines change over time. Researchers cannot rely solely on their undergraduate training to navigate successfully all the situations they will encounter.
Training and support
La Trobe resources
- Graduate Research 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.