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Science - Plagiarism & Referencing: UJ Plagiarism Policy

UJ Plagiarism Policy (2021 revision)


The University of Johannesburg (UJ):
 In pursuit of its vision of being an international university of choice, anchored in Africa, dynamically shaping the future;
 mindful of its commitment to the sustained excellence and relevance of its comprehensive programmes and of its research; and
 recognising its obligation to nurture employees and students with integrity, who are knowledgeable, well-balanced leaders and confident global citizens and who act in keeping with the precepts of ethical academic conduct, whether in research or in teaching,

The Policy on Plagiarism provides a framework to define what plagiarism is in the context of promoting creative and original intellectual endeavour as a public good, what the impact of plagiarism is on the academic integrity of teaching, learning and research, and practices to manage and prevent its occurrence.

The purpose of the policy is to:
2.1 state clearly what plagiarism is;
2.2 establish guidelines and procedures to prevent plagiarism through developmental means;
2.3 establish processes to manage acts of plagiarism, and to administer appropriate consequences to incidences of plagiarism and associated disciplinary action; and
2.4 prescribe the responsibilities of employees and students when acts of alleged plagiarism occur.

3.1 The policy applies to all persons affiliated to UJ. These include:
- employees;
- postdoctoral research fellows (PDRFs);
- undergraduate and postgraduate students;
- research affiliates

- visiting academics; and
- community engagement research collaborators

4.1 A person commits “plagiarism” when they wrongly represent, pass off or reproduce someone else’s words, phrases, concepts, ideas, data or other work (“intellectual output”), whether written, visual or oral, as their own original intellectual work, without adequately acknowledging the original author or source by means of the recognised referencing methods of the relevant discipline.

4.2 Plagiarism includes the direct representation, passing off or reproduction of another’s intellectual output as one’s own, or through the establishment of a close identification with that other person’s intellectual output (e.g., through paraphrase or close borrowing), in the absence of a clear acknowledgment (through, e.g., quotation marks or accurate source reference) that the intellectual output is someone else’s and not one’s own.

4.3 Plagiarism does not occur if the words, phrases, concepts or ideas or data used belong to a common language or are common knowledge in a particular discipline, or if the representation, passing off or reproduction of another’s intellectual output as one’s own is of a minor or frivolous nature and not substantial.

4.4 Plagiarism is committed by a person who wrongly represents, passes off or reproduces another’s intellectual output as her/his own with the intention to deceive, or who does so without adequate knowledge, skill, or care in presenting academic work as her/his own under circumstances where that person may reasonably be expected to have had such knowledge, skill, or care.

4.5 Plagiarism can and often does amount to infringement of copyright, in which case the provisions of the Copyright Act 98 of 1978 can also apply.

4.6 Plagiarism is academic dishonesty. It compromises academic integrity, the five fundamental ethical values of which are taken to be:
- honesty,
- trust,
- fairness,
- respect and
- responsibility.


4.7 A student who commits plagiarism fails to:
(i) develop the ability to analyse, interpret and evaluate available knowledge and information;
(ii) acquire the knowledge, competencies and skills required for the workplace;
(iii) develop a personal style of academic writing; and
(iv) establish or develop an independent voice that articulates knowledge and information in an original and authentic way.


4.8 Self-plagiarism occurs when a person represents, passes off or reproduces their own work previously submitted for assessment or published as new or original work without declaring that fact. This may amount to academic misconduct that may lead to disciplinary action. Examples are where a student submits previously assessed work for which a qualification had been awarded for purposes of obtaining another qualification, or where a publication for which state subsidy had already been generated, is submitted as original work to again generate state subsidy.

4.9 Fabrication and falsification of academic research are related to plagiarism and are also forms of academic misconduct:
(i) Fabrication of academic research occurs through the invention of data and results and recording or reporting them;
(ii) Falsification of academic research occurs through manipulation, change or omission of data or results of research material, equipment, or processes, resulting in inaccurate representation of research.

5.2 Responsibilities of students
5.2.1 Students have the responsibility to ensure that they know and understand what plagiarism and academic integrity are as explained in the Plagiarism Policy and what the serious consequences of academic dishonesty are.

5.2.2 Students are expected to know and to apply the referencing techniques appropriate to a particular academic discipline, as made available to them by academic and academic support staff, to ensure that the authenticity and originality of written or presented works of academic creativity are not compromised by a lack of understanding proper referencing.

5.2.3 Students are expected to seek assistance from academic and academic support staff when they are unsure about whether they are committing plagiarism in their work.

5.2.4 Students who allow their work – whether intentionally or negligently, to be copied by others, are equally complicit in the fraudulent practice of academic misconduct and will be subject to concomitant university disciplinary measures.