Academic Integrity and Writing

The issues of academic integrity and academic writing are intimately connected, since writers of academic texts need to acknowledge any source that has been used.

The AWELU section on Sources and Referencing offers information on why and how to provide references in the format required by the discipline, publisher or department.

In particular, writers who are new to the genre of academic writing and non-native writers may find the demands put on them challenging. Below we outline some of the difficulties of which writers need to be aware.

Writing in English at LU

Essays and research papers, as well as many other kinds of  documents produced within the academic community, need to follow certain genre-specific formats. To master writing in such a specific register is one of the learning aims of university education. A command of academic writing can also be seen as a generic skill acquired within a number of courses and educational programmes at LU.

Being new to the language register and to the style expected in an academic essay, non-native writers may need to pay extra attention to aspects of academic integrity. For instance, writers who are not fully proficient in English may find it difficult to produce texts in English that fulfil the requirements concerning correct handling of sources and originality.

A common problem for writers who do not fully master the language in which they are expected to write is their lack of independence. Passages that are presented as paraphrases (that is, rewriting in the writer's own words, with a reference to the source) often adhere too closely to the original text. Sometimes such "borrowing" from the original text occurs with no reference at all (which is not acceptable).

As discussed further in the AWELU section on patchwriting, this kind of plagiarism is usually not deliberate, but rather a result of the writers' inability to formulate their own texts. Writers need to be aware of the requirements posed on their texts as well as the criteria according to which they will be assessed.

Lund University has a strict policy against plagiarism and other forms of academic misconduct:

At Lund University, everyone is expected to subscribe to the notion of intellectual ownership in the sense that anyone making use of someone else's text (or other material), must give proper credit for this. What Mundava & Chauduri (2007) outline regarding universities in the English-speaking world is also valid for Lund University:

Authors have the right to own the phrases or ideas written exclusively by the author. It is unacceptable to use those words without giving proper credit to the author. (p. 171)

For further reading: Difficulties facing non-native writers (click to expand/contract)

The following articles discuss and analyse some of the difficulties related to academic integrity that second-language writers in particular may encounter:

  • Abasi, A. R., Akbari, N. & Graves, B. (2006). Discourse appropriation, construction of identities, and the complex issue of plagiarism: ESL students writing in graduate school. Journal of Second Language Writing, 15, 102-117. doi:10.1016/j.jslw.2006.05.001 [Access via LibHub]
  • Introna, L. & Hayes, N. (2008). International students and plagiarism detection systems: Detecting plagiarism, copying, or learning? In T. Roberts. Student plagiarism in an online world: Problems and solutions (pp. 108-121). Hershey & London: Information Science Reference. [LIBRIS entry]
  • Ouellette, M. A. (2008). Weaving strands of writer identity: Self as author and the NNES 'plagiarist'. Journal of Second Language Writing, 17, 255–273. doi:10.1016/j.jslw.2008.05.002 [Access via LibHub]

A comment on plagiarism in connection with the Internet

Sigthorsson (2005) sees plagiarism in connection with Internet material as the result of "an emerging mode of reading and writing as usage – as participation in the creation of a social network of texts" (para. 8). This new manner of reading and writing calls for an increased awareness about referencing, especially about referencing of Web 2.0 authoring forms, such as blogs, wikis and social bookmarking sites