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Give Credit Where Credit is Due: Alliant Resources

Alliant Resources

The issues of plagiarism and copyright compliance are addressed in several university documents. All can be accessed through the myAlliant portal; if you have trouble finding them, please ask for help from a faculty or staff member.

1.      Graduate Student Handbook

a.      Computer Labs and Computing Services states its Intellectual Property policy: “Members of the Alliant community are expected to respect intellectual property rights of others and to abide by copyright laws. Copyright is the right of authors to control the reproduction and use of their creative work. Software, graphic designs, photographs, drawings, audio-visual presentations, musical works, and literary works may all be protected by copyright…”

b.      Student Rights and Responsibilities: “Registration as a student shall signify that you agree to abide by the rules, regulations, and requirements of the University. In recognition of this fact, students sign an acceptance of these rules, regulations, and requirements…”

c.       The Student Code of Conduct and Ethics: Academic describes the Scientific Misconduct Policy: “…..Scientific misconduct is defined as falsification or fabrication of data, plagiarism, or other actions that seriously diverge from those accepted by the scientific community…..”

d.      The Disciplinary Process: Depending on the severity of the violation, it can range from a warning letter placed in the student’s file, probationary status, work assignments, temporary suspension from a class or the University, or even termination from the University.

2.     University Catalog

See section Student Code of Conduct and Ethics: Academic for examples of violations, including plagiarism.


3.     University Copyright Compliance Policy

The Alliant legal counsel and Provost’s Council have adopted a policy in 2007 to guide copyright compliance. Topics include: Fair Use guidelines, course packs, course reserves, educational multimedia, software copying, and obtaining permissions.


4.     Library Policies

Alliant instructors who use Library course reserves are expected to know and observe Fair Use guidelines of the Copyright Act, which restricts the materials they can place on reserve. If interested, ask a Library staff member for the document Copyright Guidelines for Electronic Course Reserves. (Those who choose to upload documents directly to Moodle, Alliant’s new course management system, will presumably be bound by the same rules.)


5.     Anti-plagiarism software

Alliant has purchased the anti-plagiarism program Turnitin for instructors’ use.  By enrolling in a course, students agree that all assignments are subject to submission for purposes of plagiarism screening by computerized detection systems.

When you plagiarize, not only do you break the rules, you also cheat yourself out of a good education. Dr. Jonathan Troper, of the Organizational Psychology program at the Los Angeles campus, makes a convincing case for avoiding plagiarism:

“At the graduate level, students produce assignments to analyze and synthesize information. You show what you know and produce something new. In an assignment, you might answer a question, solve a problem, or propose a theory or model that explains some phenomenon. This builds your skills and expertise in producing meaningful, original work.

When you analyze information, you may report what other people have said, but then slice and dice it in new ways to draw your own conclusions. Mostly, reporting others information involves paraphrasing it in your own words.  You might quote a small piece of what they said when their words say it so well that you can’t think of a better way to say it.

When you synthesize information produced by other people, you also paraphrase and maybe quote small bits of information from other people. Then, you put the information together in new ways and draw new conclusions.  If you simply quote other people’s information and don’t add new explanations or analysis of your own, that’s not producing something new. A paper or presentation that simply quotes or paraphrases what other people have said is unacceptable.  If you took someone else’s paper and presented it as your own assignment, simply citing the source you got it from doesn’t change the fact that taking someone else’s paper and presenting it as your own assignment is plagiarism.

So, when you’re putting together a paper or presentation, always ask yourself what new patterns you see, what new conclusions you can draw, how that information provides answers to an interesting or important question, or what new explanations you can make using old information. Producing something new is what makes you a professional.” (quote used with permission)