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Cheating scandal rocks Sydney University

Australia's oldest academic institution, the University of Sydney, has moved to stamp out plagiarism after more than 200 students were suspected of cheating.

In one department alone -- the veterinary faculty -- 73 of the 628 students were investigated for allegedly copying or fabricating material. Most of the copied material had been taken from the Internet, and in many cases, students were caught by anti-plagiarism software.

Many of the students were made to resubmit their work, although only one was ultimately failed by the faculty.

The Faculty of Health Sciences uncovered 80 cases of alleged cheating. Of these students, 29 were failed, 31 were given written warnings and 17 were counselled.

A further 39 cases were detected in the Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, while 29 economics and business students were investigated, taking the total number of students allegedly involved to more than 200.

Confidential faculty reports were made public under Australia's freedom of information laws.

Plagiarism from the Internet has become so easy that 25 Australian universities have purchased licenses for anti-plagiarism systems. These allow universities to cross reference students' work with previously published material.

But Felix Eldridge, president of the National Union of Students, denied there was a major problem in Australian universities.

"The vast majority of plagiarism is young students misunderstanding academic procedures and not knowing how to footnote," he said.

The University of Sydney has since updated its policy on plagiarism to make students aware they should not take information from new technologies without acknowledgment.

Last year, the University of Western Sydney investigated 39 cases of alleged plagiarism.

SOURCE : Tapei News

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