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Avoiding plagiarism

"Plagiarism is defined as submitting as one's own work, irrespective of intent to deceive, that which derives in part or in its entirety from the work of others without due acknowledgement. It is both poor scholarship and a breach of academic integrity." This is quoted from the University  statement on plagiarism.

The Faculty Guidelines make it clear that “In the context of an examination, this amounts to: passing off the work of others as your own to gain unfair advantage. Such use of unfair means will not be tolerated by the University; if detected, the penalty may be severe and may lead to disciplinary proceedings being taken against you.”

Students are strongly recommended to read both the University's statement and the Faculty guidelines.

General University of Cambridge guidelines can be found at

with further details for at

Faculty guidelines are available at

and are reproduced at the end of this document.

It is an essential part of your scientific training that, in your supervision work and any other writings, you ensure you are following best practice regarding avoiding plagiarism. It is an important aspect of academic integrity to cite all sources on which you base your work (even if it is not copied directly from them), be they published in hard copy or web based.

Please note that the use of essays purchased from any source or copied from other students is unacceptable regardless of whether the source is acknowledged.



Guidelines for citation are provided with the instructions for writing your Part II Biochemistry Science and Society and your Part II or III project dissertation or Part II BBS dissertation.

The Board of Examinations also issue guidelines

Dr Standart or Prof. Carrington, Dr Welch and Prof. Howe will discuss plagiarism as part of the examiners talk, scientific writing course and Part II essay workshop respectively. Those in Part III who have taken Part II Biochemistry will have attended the scientific writing course in Part II, but are welcome to attend to refresh their knowledge.

Written unseen examinations

Full citation is not expected in written unseen examinations such as those taken at the end of the year for Part II and III. The Senior Examiners will discuss this at the respective Part II and III meetings the Michaelmas Term.

If you still have questions, you should talk to your supervisors and /or Director of Studies and/or the course organisers.


The Teaching Committee of the Department of Biochemistry have agreed that in the coming academic year (2014-15) the following procedure agreed by the Biological Sciences Committee of the NST will be applied to submitted work in Part II and III.

“If, during marking by an examiner, plagiarism is suspected in a piece of submitted work, the work will be marked as normal and then turned over to the Senior Examiner. The electronic version will then be passed on to the Scrutiny Officer within the Department/course for checking with Turnitin. If analysis by Turnitin supports initial suspicions of plagiarism, the Chair of Examiners will be informed, who will proceed as per the advice given here Policy, Procedure and Guidelines for Staff and Examiners"

The Teaching Committee also agreed that a Senior Examiner may for the extended essay of Part II “submit all students work for analysis by Turnitin-this will be done automatically on each student’s piece of work once it is submitted. If this option is chosen, there will be an academic appointed as a ‘Scrutiny Officer’, whose role will be to analyse the reports resulting from the Turnitin analysis. This Officer will not be involved in the academic assessment of the work in question. If analysis by Turnitin reveals suspicions of plagiarism, the Chair of Examiners will be informed, who will proceed as per the advice given at:

Updated guidance is now available and this will be followed

To facilitate use of Turnitin you will be asked to sign a form that gives permission for your work to be submitted to the Turnitin system should the examiners require this. A copy is attached for your information and a hard copy will be available for you to sign when you register in October for Part III and Part II. A full description of the departmental turnitin policy is available on the Part II course Moodle or Part III Camtools site and is included in your handbook.

You will also be required to submit an electronic copy on Part II course Moodle or Part III Camtools site of each item of course work, along with the hard copies. At the time of submission you will be asked to sign a declaration, “which confirms that the electronic version is indeed the file that is printed out in the hard copy.”  Full details of how to submit the electronic copy will be distributed along with coursework guidelines.

See faculty board guidelines on use of Turnitin, which will be available from this site, under assessment

BBS students please see the BBS website for the policy for their dissertations. For Biochemistry examinations follow guidance for Part II Biochemistry.