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Reference and Instruction Guide

What is Scholastic Dishonesty?

What is academic dishonesty?

Academic dishonesty or academic misconduct is any type of cheating that occurs in relation to a formal academic exercise. It can include

  • Plagiarism: The adoption or reproduction of ideas or words or statements of another person without due acknowledgment.
  • Fabrication: The falsification of data, information, or citations in any formal academic exercise.
  • Deception: Providing false information to an instructor concerning a formal academic exercise—e.g., giving a false excuse for missing a deadline or falsely claiming to have submitted work.
  • Cheating: Any attempt to give or obtain assistance in a formal academic exercise (like an examination) without due acknowledgment.
  • Sabotage: Acting to prevent others from completing their work. This includes cutting pages out of library books or willfully disrupting the experiments of others.

Academic dishonesty has been documented in most every type of educational setting, from elementary school to graduate school, and has been met with varying degrees of approbation throughout history. Today, educated society tends to take a very negative view of academic dishonesty.

The plagiarism spectrum

The Plagiarism Spectrum is a guide to help educators, students, academics, and writers recognize the various forms of plagiarism. This spectrum moves plagiarism beyond the black-and-white definition of “literary theft” to one that captures the nuances of how plagiarism can take form. As part of this study, Turnitin surveyed both higher and secondary education instructors to take a measure of how prevalent and problematic these instances of plagiarism are among their students. The Plagiarism Spectrum ranks the types of plagiarism by intent and then provides data on the prevalence and problematic nature of type based on the feedback from 879 survey respondents.


1. CLONE: An act of submitting another’s work, word-for-word, as one’s own.

2. CTRL-C: A written piece that contains significant portions of text from a single source without alterations.

3. FIND–REPLACE: The act of changing key words and phrases but retaining the essential content of the source in a paper.

4. REMIX: An act of paraphrasing from other sources and making the content fit together seamlessly.

5. RECYCLE: The act of borrowing generously from one’s own previous work without citation; To self plagiarize.

6. HYBRID: The act of combining perfectly cited sources with copied passages—without citation—in one paper.

7. MASHUP: A paper that represents a mix of copied material from several different sources without proper citation.

8. 404 ERROR: A written piece that includes citations to non-existent or inaccurate information about sources

9. AGGREGATOR: The “Aggregator” includes proper citation, but the paper contains almost no original work.

10. RE-TWEET: This paper includes proper citation, but relies too closely on the text’s original wording and/or structure.

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