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The Importance of Academic Integrity

Trust forms the base for human societies.. The more perplex the society, the greater level of trust required. When we go to a doctor for consultation,we really do not know whether she or he was in medical school.You didn't watch as he or she learned surgery or diagnostic skills. You read the diplomas on the walls and we trust that this individual is equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to help you regain your health.

You trust that the medical school took steps to make sure its students actually learned and did not cheat their way to a degree.

Consider these scenarios:


Suppose you are scheduled for surgery. The day before the operation, you discover that your surgeon misrepresented his training and credentials. The state medical board is

investigating his practice. How much confidence would you have in his knowledge and competence? What if this was the structural engineer who designed the long bridge you cross every morning? What if it was your lawyer? Your accountant?

Imagine you are taking an exam and you notice other students cheating. What would you do? What if you knew that a fellow student had plagiarized his/her paper and the professor was unaware of it? Would you feel that this is right or wrong? Would you report it to the instructor? How would you feel if these students earned a higher grade in the course than you did when your work was completed independently and honestly?

You are considering graduate school at University X. You read newspaper articles that expose the falsification of research data from top University X faculty. Other articles suggested a certain institutional complacence about academic integrity at University X. Would you still want to apply for admission to University X? If you were a student

at University X when these articles were published, how would you feel? If you were a graduate of University X, would you be concerned about the validity of your degree and the reputation of your alma mater?

As you explore this section, think about these scenarios and recognize academic integrity's significance at MITand its relevance to real world situations. Learn how to spot academic integrity violations and how to avoid them entirely.

Beside the positive definition of academic integrity as "a commitment, even in the face of adversity, to five fundamental values lies the negative definition. Academic integrity is the absence of plagiarism and cheating. However, the meaning of terms like plagiarism and cheating can vary widely across cultures, academic fields, and among individuals.

Here are some definitions:

Plagiarism One of the most common of violations, plagiarism involves submitting, proposing, or passing off someone else's academic work as your own. This includes, but is not limited to:

Failure to credit source Using an author's published or unpublished work, in whole, in part, or in paraphrase, without fully and properly crediting the author. This includes reproducing material from a journal, newspaper, encyclopedia, email message, or any other source without proper citation or acknowledgement.

Example: Nellie copied several passages from a research paper published in 1990 by her 8.03 instructor. She included those passages, verbatim, in her 22.02 final paper without any acknowledgement of the original author.

Example: Daniela recalled an intriguing point raised by her 14.01 Teaching Assistant. She presented the idea as her own in her 15.301 project.

Presenting the work of others as one's own Using materials obtained from an individual or agency, including papers found or purchased on the web.

Example: Matthew found several term papers online that were related to topics for his assignment. He copied sections from each and combined them into a paper he presented as his own.

Example: Cuiting's high school in her homeland permitted students to download information from the internet and incorporate it verbatim into writing assignments without any citation. Her culture's view holds that words and ideas belong to society and should be shared by all individuals. Believing this to be the case in the United States, she repeated this practice on

her first research paper. The instructor discovered it and assigned a grade of F for the paper.

Unauthorized collaboration Working together with others when this is forbidden by the instructor and syllabus. This is often called collusion.

Example: The midterm in 7.03 was a take-home exam to be completed independently. Stan, Eric, and Wendy arranged a meeting to work on the exam as a group, sharing answers to the exam questions with each other.

Cheating Opinions and beliefs about cheating can vary even more widely than those about plagiarism. Here are some common examples to help you understand the concept:

Copying Copying others' work or allowing your work to be copied on an exam or writing assignment. Example: John felt sorry for Jane who had missed classes due to illness. He allowed her to copy from him during the midterm exam.

Example: Derek (assigned to the Wednesday section of 5.111) paid Eric (assigned to the Tuesday section) for answers to the weekly quiz.

Example: Mary took 21H.112 a year after her friend Carrie. Mary asked Carrie to give her an essay she had written. Mary changed three sentences and submitted the essay as her own.

Unauthorized material Taking books, notes, calculators, cheat sheets, or other forbidden tools into an exam.

Example: John and Ron had not memorized the necessary theorems for the final exam. They wrote the theorems on the soles of their shoes and glanced at them when the instructor's attention was diverted during the exam.

Misrepresenting identity Taking an exam for another student; having another student take an exam in your place.

Example: Jim failed his midterm exam and was panicked about failing the final, so he asked Tim (who had earned an A in the class last semester) to take the exam for him.

Fabricating information Presenting fictitious data or references.

Example: Lee's experiment did not yield the anticipated results.

She changed the results data to fit her hypothesis.

Example: Sven asked for an extension on his assignment to deal with a personal medical emergency. In truth, Sven attended three IFC events over the past week and could not meet his deadline.

These are the ways how a student loses academic integrity which consequently not only ruins his education and talent but also confidence and trust in his/herself. So a student should protect his/her academic interests by self for them to prosper in education and so career.