Academic Integrity & Plagiarism

Plagiarism is presenting another person's work or ideas as your own. Plagiarism is a serious breach of ethics at UNSW and is not taken lightly. So how do you avoid it?

Avoiding plagiarism

Watch this one minute video for an overview of how you can avoid plagiarism.

UNSW's approach to promoting academic integrity

UNSW has an ongoing commitment to foster a culture of learning informed by academic integrity. The university is committed to the core values of academic integrity: honesty, responsibility, trustworthiness, respect and fairness and to producing scholars who adhere to these values. The UNSW Student Code (PDF) states that all students have an obligation to act with integrity in academic work, and to ensure that all academic work is conducted ethically and safely.  Plagiarism undermines academic integrity and is not tolerated at UNSW.

The Plagiarism Policy Statement (PDF) defines how plagiarism is understood at the university and these definitions are to be used as the sole source for all educational material on plagiarism. Managing Plagiarism for Students Enrolled in Coursework Programs (PDF) sets out UNSW procedures for determining and responding to allegations of plagiarism.

Examples of plagiarism

At UNSW plagiarism is using the words or ideas of others and passing them off as your own. Examples of plagiarism, including self-plagiarism, are:

CopyingUsing the same or very similar words to the original text or idea without acknowledging the source or using quotation marks. This includes copying materials, ideas or concepts from a book, article, report or other written document, presentation, composition, artwork, design, drawing, circuitry, computer program or software, website, internet, other electronic resource, or another person's assignment, without appropriate acknowledgement.
Inappropriate paraphrasing

Changing a few words and phrases while mostly retaining the original structure and/or progression of ideas of the original, and information without acknowledgement.

This also applies in presentations where someone paraphrases another’s ideas or words without credit and to piecing together quotes and paraphrases into a new whole, without appropriate referencing.


Presenting work as independent work when it has been produced in whole or part in collusion with other people. Collusion includes

  • students providing their work to another student before the due date, or for the purpose of them plagiarising at any time
  • paying another person to perform an academic task and passing it off as your own
  • stealing or acquiring another person’s academic work and copying it
  • offering to complete another person’s work or seeking payment for completing academic work.

This should not be confused with academic collaboration.

Inappropriate citationCiting sources which have not been read, without acknowledging the 'secondary' source from which knowledge of them has been obtained.

'Self-plagiarism' occurs where a student republishes their own previously written work and presents it as new findings without referencing the earlier work, either in its entirety or partially.

Self-plagiarism is also referred to as 'recycling', 'duplication', or 'multiple submissions of research findings' without disclosure. Self-plagiarism includes re-using parts of, or all of, a body of work that has already been submitted for assessment without proper citation.

UNSW students can use the collection of resources on this site (worked examples, activities and links) to understand academic integrity, improve their academic skills and, consequently, reduce the possibilities for plagiarism.

UNSW staff can refer students to these pages and keep informed on current advice on assisting students to work within an academic integrity framework and avoid plagiarism.

Three steps to learning about plagiarism

Many students who plagiarise do so unintentionally, often because they don't have the academic skills to avoid over-reliance on the work of others or because they aren't sure what constitutes plagiarism. If they develop their academic skills, the chances of plagiarism will be reduced.

Step 1: Know what plagiarism is

Plagiarism is taking the ideas or words of others and passing them off as your own. Plagiarism is a type of intellectual theft. 

Step 2: Know how plagiarism happens

Make sure as a UNSW student you are aware of how plagiarism is defined. The common types of plagiarism.are listed here.

Step 3: Develop effective academic skills

Most students who plagiarise do so unintentionally, usually because they don't have the skills to avoid over-reliance on the work of others or because they aren't sure what constitutes plagiarism. UNSW students have many opportunities to develop their academic skills..

On this site, there are resources on avoiding plagiarism and how to be organised, so students can develop good academic practice, as well as a list of other resources and links.

Related tags: Academic skills