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ACADEMIC MISCONDUCT Professor Jim Jackson Southern Cross University.

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Presentation on theme: "ACADEMIC MISCONDUCT Professor Jim Jackson Southern Cross University."— Presentation transcript:

1 ACADEMIC MISCONDUCT Professor Jim Jackson Southern Cross University

2 Extracts from OATH OF HIPPOCRATES, Circa 400 B.C. “….I will follow that system of regimen which, according to my ability and judgement, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous. I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and in like manner I will not give to a woman a pessary to produce abortion…..”

3 Vincent G. Simiyu Ethics And Ideology in a Constitution “On this score we shall mention in passing where the Western civilization has robbed Africa of its professional credit in professional ethics. In human medicine we are told that the Greek Hippocrates (420 B.C.) was the "father of medicine". The truth of the matter is that Hippocrates had access to the library of Imhotep at Alexandria. Imhotep, a personal physician of Pharaoh Djozer of the 3rd Dynasty (2700 B.C.) was the first to postulate the natural causes of diseases, wrote manuals for training doctors on how to diagonise diseases, examine the patients and decide on the treatment.”

4 Imhotep's oath The oath of the profession of medicine attributed to Hippocrates was actually plagiarized by him from the works of Imhotep, who was also an engineer and architect. Imhotep's oath read "I will adopt the regimen which is my best judgement beneficial to my patients, and not for their injury or for any wrongful purpose and I will not give poison to anyone, though be asked nor will I procure abortion"

5 Oaths compared Imhotep "I will adopt the regimen which is my best judgement beneficial to my patients, and not for their injury or for any wrongful purpose and I will not give poison to anyone, though be asked nor will I procure abortion" Hippocrates “….I will follow that system of regimen which, according to my ability and judgement, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous. I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and in like manner I will not give to a woman a pessary to produce abortion…..”

6 But how do we KNOW? Professor Simiyu does not give his sources! Presumably it was not he who discovered works of Imhotep or Hippocrates Is Simiyu guilty of plagiarism? Or poor attribution? Where is that line drawn?

7 Conclusions about Simiyu’s claims They are either true or false They are unsubstantiated They are not attributed Or are they so well known that substantiation is not needed So ……….. is this plagiarism?

8 What does this teach us? The failure of the author to cite his sources leaves doubts in the mind of the reader, & weakens claims. Fundamentally this is why proper citation is critical, it is part of the knowledge discovery process, part of the academic audit trail which allows proper verification and attribution of claims made.

9 Overview Plagiarism: wrong/unethical/illegal? Relationship to objects of a university Relationship to academic freedom Implications for staff plagiarists Implications for student plagiarists Entry to professions University rules

10 Is plagiarism wrong/unethical/illegal? It may breach terms of university employment (staff) It may breach terms of enrolment (student) Morally it is a form of theft/fraud or misrepresentation: to pass another’s intellectual property off as one’s own Possible breach of copyright It is repugnant to notions of academic freedom and knowledge discovery It may be unprofessional behaviour re certain professions There is a a Cultural/ Historical context

11 ICAC 2005 (Uni. of Newcastle) p77 “Understanding what constitutes proper and principled administrative behaviour in a given context involves knowing the ethical obligations of a particular role. Both academic and administrative roles have an ethical dimension that ensures that their work is performed responsibly and with integrity.

12 ICAC (Cont’d) For example, academic officers are obliged to perform their work in a manner that reflects their freedom from the undue influence of anyone who might want to affect the outcome of their teaching or research. Equally, administrators have ethical obligations to further the objectives of the organisation in a way that prioritises the interests of the organisation and its stakeholders. Both sets of ethical obligations can be upheld by adherence to certain standards of behaviour and performance, and are characterised by the responsible exercise of those roles.

13 ICAC (U of Newcastle p 10) “The community places its trust in its educational institutions to ensure that academic standards are maintained. To provide an improper advantage to any group of students, including full fee-paying students, is antithetical to the essential principles that underpin the integrity of tertiary education. Such improper advantage constitutes a breach of public trust.

14 ICAC ( cont’d) In the context of the present investigation, plagiarism, the passing off of the works of others as the students own work, impugns academic integrity and must be dealt with swiftly and appropriately by well-directed action including the imposition of appropriate sanctions. Plagiarism undermines academic standards and results in unfairness to the honest and competent student. It must be prevented.”

15 UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN SYDNEY ACT SECT 8 Object and functions of UniversityfunctionsUniversity (1) The object of the University is the promotion, within the limits of the University’s resources, of scholarship, research, free inquiry, the interaction of research and teaching, and academic excellence.University (2) The University has the following principal functions for the promotion of its object:Universityfunctions ……….. (b) the encouragement of the dissemination, advancement, development and application of knowledge informed by free inquiry, (f) the provision of teaching and learning that engage with advanced knowledge and inquiry…………………

16 UNESCO resolution 1997 “Higher-education teaching personnel should recognize that the exercise of rights carries with it special duties and responsibilities, including the obligation to respect the academic freedom of other members of the academic community and to ensure the fair discussion of contrary views. Academic freedom carries with it the duty to use that freedom in a manner consistent with the scholarly obligation to base research on an honest search for truth. Teaching, research and scholarship should be conducted in full accordance with ethical and professional standards and should, where appropriate, respond to contemporary problems facing society as well as preserve the historical and cultural heritage of the world.”

17 Rigg v Waikato University (1984) 1 NZLR 149 at 207 Universities “ought not to use their legal powers to discipline a member of academic staff for conduct which truly falls within the scope of the concept of academic freedom of thought and expression … The only justification which we can see for a special right to freedom of expression in a university environment is the need for academics, whether teachers or students, to feel free to pursue the search for knowledge and learning and truth without fear of institutional disciplinary action being used to divert them from those purposes in order to force conformity with views held by the university authority.”

18 Possible Implied Term in Academic Contracts of Employment Where an Australian university academic has legal obligations to teach and to research there are attendant duties to speak and to write in a responsible and professional manner. That professionalism carries with it further obligations to not restrict the speech or writing of colleagues or the learning of students, to work within the law, disclose limitations in the research, and not represent speech as that of the university or colleagues. If the academic chooses to criticise the university he/she may do so but that speech or writing carries the same attendant professional obligations as any other speech.

19 There are no rights to: plagiarise break the law; engage in hate speech or incite violence; engage in vulgar language that has no academic function; defame; prevent others exercising their academic freedom or speech rights.

20 Plagiarism according to Clarke (2006): “publication: the presentation of another person's material, work, or idea. A pre-condition for plagiarism is that the new work is made available to others; personal notes are not at issue; content: the presentation of another person's material, work, or idea. A pre-condition for plagiarism is that some part of the new work is derived from someone else's prior or contemporaneous work;

21 Clarke (cont’d) “appropriation: the presentation of another person's material, work, or idea as one's own. A pre-condition for plagiarism is that the claim of originality of contribution is either explicit or implied by the manner of presentation; or the presentation may be such that the reader is reasonably likely to infer the work to be an original contribution; and lack of credit given: the presentation of another person's material, work, or idea as his or her own, without appropriate attribution. A pre-condition for plagiarism is that the reader is not made aware of the identity of the originator, nor of the location of the original contribution.”

22 Intention to plagiarise Clarke carefully avoids and discounts the inclusion of intention, but can we? Can one “accidentally” plagiarise or is there an intent requirement (a mens rea)? Case law takes intent very seriously

23 University staff: Quinn v Charles Sturt University (2006) Intention to plagiarise is not required Commissioner Roberts: “[58] I have concluded that Dr Quinn was guilty of plagiarism in that she used substantial sections of the work of others in papers to which she attached her name. The attachment of her name to the three papers clearly claims ownership of them and her assertion of copyright over two of the papers reinforces my view. [59] The definition of plagiarism (‘Plagiarism is the act of taking and using another’s work as one’s own’) taken from the Guide, used by Professor Gorman during her inquiry and relied on by Professor Goulter, strikes me as being straightforward, quite non- controversial and a common sense approach to the issue. The definition is almost identical to that contained in the Concise Oxford Dictionary”

24 University students Re Liveri [2006] QCA 152 Chief Justice de Jersey: “The allegation was that the applicant submitted, as her own work, with only minor adjustment, an article published by Professor Derek Davies of St Catherine’s College, Oxford, an Adjunct Professor of Law at Bond University. The article had been published on the Internet.” Subsequently two further assignments were found to be plagiarized. There was sufficient evidence to show it was not inadvertent.

25 Liveri (cont’d) “The findings against the respondent involve serious plagiarism, committed more than once. At relevant times, she was a person of mature years – 25 and 27 years old. Her unwillingness, subsequently, to acknowledge that misconduct, establishes a lack of genuine insight into its gravity and significance: for present purposes, where the Court is concerned with fitness to practise, that aspect is at least as significant as the academic dishonesty itself. It could not presently be concluded the applicant is fit for admission as a legal practitioner.”

26 Re AJG [2004] QCA 88 In this case the student had copied work of another student in a Practical Legal Training Course at Griffith University Chief Justice of Qld: “Legal practitioners must exhibit a degree of integrity which engenders in the Court and in clients unquestioning confidence in the completely honest discharge of their professional commitments. Cheating in the academic course which leads to the qualification central to practice and at a time so close to the application for admission must preclude our presently being satisfied of this applicant’s fitness.”

27 Law Society of Tasmania v Richardson [2003] TASSC 9 The Tasmanian Supreme Court was more lenient and allowed a solicitor to stay on the roll who had not disclosed academic misconduct. This related to “substantial similarities” between the work of Richardson and another student in a drafting assignment” It was clear that the judge could not find any intention to plagiarise.

28 Richardson (cont’d) Crawford J at Para 84 “I must conclude from the evidence presented to the Court that Scott Richardson could only be properly criticised, from the University's stand point, for providing student X with a copy of his draft assignment when requested to do so. It was not suggested to him in cross-examination that he did so for the purpose of assisting student X to plagiarise his assignment. He was not asked for his reasons. They may have been merely to provide student X with a copy of a few notes that had been made on the draft in the course of their cooperative research. He also knew that the committee had found that he had believed that what he had done was acceptable to the Law School.”

29 Re: Humzy-Hancock [2007] QSC 034 The court rejected the university’s findings of plagiarism because of lack of intent. The judge found that what the university had found to be plagiarism was poor attribution: “All of this makes it unlikely that the applicant was intending to pass off some of this work as his own (or as the work of others to whom he wrongly attributed some of these passages).” (para 26) “the failure to give proper attribution was the result of poor work and not an intention to pass off the work of another as the applicant’s work” (para 42)

30 OG a Lawyer [2007] VSC 520 The Victorian Supreme court struck a barrister off the roll who had not properly disclosed collusion in an assignment: “As we have found, he deliberately or recklessly misrepresented to the Board of Examiners the circumstances in which he came to be awarded a zero grade or mark for his second assignment. His actions, therefore, were the antithesis of a ‘realization … of his obligation of candour to the court in which he desire[s] to serve as an agent of justice’” (para 125)

31 Other professions & academic misconduct Nurses and Midwives Act 1991 Application for authorisation to practise as a nurse; midwife practitioner The Board asks: Have you ever been suspended or expelled from a tertiary education institution? Have you ever been found guilty of student misconduct (eg plagiarisim or other dishonesty) by a tertiary education institution? (Similar questions for Physiotherapists PHYSIOTHERAPISTS ACT 2001)

32 Doctors Medical Practice Act 1992 Section 13 Applicants must be competent and of good character The Board must not register a person as a medical practitioner unless satisfied that the person: (a) is competent to practise medicine (that is, the person has sufficient physical capacity, mental capacity and skill to practise medicine and has sufficient communication skills for the practice of medicine, including an adequate command of the English language), and (b) is of good character.

33 Conclusions Cases are not consistent re intention Professions take plagiarism very seriously Universities need to carefully consider their definitions in both staff and student policies and distinguish between levels of plagiarism

34 References: Clarke R. 'Plagiarism by Academics: More Complex Than It Seems' J. Assoc. Infor. Syst. 7, 2 (February 2006)'Plagiarism by Academics: More Complex Than It Seems' REVISION OF THE JOINT NHMRC/AVCC STATEMENT AND GUIDELINES ON RESEARCH PRACTICE Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research National Health and Medical Research Council, the Australian Research Council and Universities Australia Australian Government 2007http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/publications/synopses/_files/r39.pdf Report on investigation into the University of Newcastle’s handling of plagiarism allegations ICAC June 2005 UNESCO Resolution Concerning the Status of Higher-Education TeachingPersonnel, Resolution of the General Conference of UNESCO, 29th Session, Paris, 11 November, 1997, Records of the General Conference 26 Quinn v Charles Sturt University - PR [2006] AIRC 96 (15 February 2006) Oath of HIippocrates, C. 400 B.C. "Harvard Classics, Volume 38" Copyright 1910 by P.F. Collier and Son. Simiyu V Ethics And Ideology in a Constitution [2001] KECKRC 15


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