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Welcome to Library and Learning Services: Good Academic Practice

Academic Offences

Academic offences include plagiarism, cheating, collusion, copying work and reuse of your own work, among others.

The university takes academic offences very seriously and they can lead to expulsion. We make every effort to ensure that students understand how to avoid committing such offences.


Plagiarism can be defined as the significant use of other people's work and the submission of it as though it were one's own in assessed coursework (such as dissertations, essays, experiments etc).

This includes:

  • Copying from another student's work
  • Copying text without acknowledgement
  • Downloading information and/or text from the internet and using it without acknowledgement
  • Submitting work and claiming it to be your own when it has been produced by a group
  • Submitting group work without acknowledging all contributors.

The university uses software packages to detect plagiarism.

For more detail see the online supporting leaflet.


Hot tips:

Always cite and reference everything used and studied for your assignment.

See your student handbook for guidance regarding the favoured reference and citation conventions for your subject area.

Your Digital Identity

 Your digital footprint:


Your digital footprint is everything on the internet that is about you. It is also known as your digital identity. This includes your Facebook profile, Twitter activity, blogs, photos of you and your friends. Every time you add information about yourself to a social media website or any other service on the internet you are increasing your digital footprint.

Social media can be a great and immediate method of communicating information, ideas and knowledge. They enable us to quickly make connections, join in conversations and debates; be they professional, academic or simply social. Increasingly we are all expected to have a digital identity and to participate in social media. However, as social media puts you, your thoughts and ideas in touch with a large number of people, many of whom you may not know or never meet, it is good to think about the kind of identity or impression your social media posts and activity create.


See sections below for how to best maintain your digital footprint.

How to maintain your digital footprint.

Things you should know and consider...


  • Online activity is seen by far more people than you may think
  • You have little control over who sees your online profile; not all of your friends are your friends
  • Privacy settings do not always mean everything is private.....or remains so
  • You may not make it public, but someone else may do it for you!
  • Delete does not always mean deleted
  • Some employers admit to checking the social networking sites of potential employees.
  • When using social media do NOT put anything you would not want a close relative or employer to discover.


Top tips:


  • Be positive, constructive and appropriate
  • Choose the appropriate social media to raise your profile
  • Keep it up-to-date!
  • Blog or tweet regularly
  • Abide by the etiquette of the social space you are in
  • Do not criticise your employer, fellow workers or other people

Suggested Activity: Audit your digital profile.

Google yourself and see what you can find out!

  • Are there any surprises?


Copyright; what you need to KNOW!

Your use of virtually all the learning resources that you use as a student (books, periodicals, videos, software, etc) will be covered by law. The law states that you should not copy someone else's copyright material unless you have their permission or it falls within the limits allowed for fair dealing. The University has a responsibility to ensure that its students are fully aware of the principles of the law. Students are responsible for making sure they do not break the law. If you do, the consequences for you as an individual, as well as for the University, may be severe. Obeying copyright law and licences will also help you from falling into the trap of plagiarism, which is a disciplinary offence at the University.licences will also help you from falling into the trap of plagiarism, which is a disciplinary offence at the University.

What is Fair Dealing?

For the purposes of your own study, within reasonable limits, under what is known as fair dealing  you are permitted to copy:

  • One article in a single issue of a journal or set of conference proceedings, or a single law report;

  • An extract from a book amounting to 5% of the whole or a complete chapter, whichever is greater;

  • A whole poem or short story from a collection, provided the item is not more than 10 pages;

As a rule of thumb, you are advised not to copy beyond these limits under fair dealing.

Use of Quotations

There will be times when you wish to include, or make reference to, material which is not your own (i.e. which is someone else’s copyright) when completing an assignment. It is legitimate to include quotations for the purposes of criticism and review, but you must make sure that such material is properly acknowledged or referenced.


The University has also taken out a number of licences which permit its students and staff to copy under certain restrictions. Further details about these licences can be found on the online guide.

Electronic and Other Formats

Copyright also covers information in electronic formats, whether that is music, films, software, or material on the Internet. Because copying from digital media is so much easier than from print, you need to be especially careful.

You should not:

  • make, store, transmit or make available illicit copies of such material on the University’s computers, networks or storage media. As well as being illegal, this breaches the University’s own regulations and may lead to disciplinary proceedings;
  • put copyright material on the Internet without permission from the copyright owner.
  • download music from the internet without permission of the rights owner. This is illegal;
  • circulate your coursework on the internet. If it contains copyright-protected material you are probably breaking the law. If it is all your own work, you risk this being plagiarised. . You might want to take a look at the Creative Commons licensing initiative

Further help

There is a useful online guide available covering a wide range of copyright issues including, the law, what you are permitted to do, licences and much more. You will also find the contact details for the Copyright Officer here.

How do I reference?





When writing a piece of work you should provide references to the sources used. A reference is the detailed description of the item you used to gain information e.g. author, title, date and place of publication, publisher. References are briefly cited within the text, and then given in full at the end of your work in a Reference List.

References are used to:

  • Enable the reader to locate the sources you have used;
  • Help support your arguments and provide your work with credibility;
  • Show the scope and breadth of your research;
  • Acknowledge the source of an argument or idea. Failure to do so could result in a charge of plagiarism.

Below is a link to the De Montfort University Library Harvard Referencing Guide  that shows you the correct way to reference.

Note: your Faculty may have their own guide that they want their students to use, consult your student handbooks.

Find out more about Referencing and about Reference Management by clicking on this link