What is good academic conduct and why does it matter?

Good academic conduct reflects the values which underpin academic life, such as:

  • honesty
  • integrity
  • a shared community of ideas and respect for others’ work

When you write at university, you will be expected to draw on the work of others and you’ll gain higher marks for doing so. We don’t expect you to do it all on your own! However, we do expect you to be scrupulously honest about where the ideas have come from - imagine how annoyed you might feel if someone stole your best ideas and presented them as their own. We need to respect other people’s ideas in the same way we respect their possessions.

The University is also assessing your work and at the end of your studies awarding you a degree on the basis of your work. It is only fair to other students that this work is your own and properly acknowledges the use made of the work of others. How are employers to assess applicants for jobs, if they can’t rely on the marks and degree class as being a fair reflection of a student’s achievement? Everyone’s marks and awards are threatened by poor academic conduct.

Honesty about research findings is also vital. We rely every day on the honesty of researchers whose work affects our daily lives. We expect the same of those carrying out research at an earlier stage in their careers.

Good academic conduct may seem initially like a set of rules designed to catch you out and which you just have to navigate your way through. It does however reflect a set of important underlying values, to which we would all want to subscribe. It is also important to get into good habits and practices at university because the correct use of evidence and data will also be important in most jobs.