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Academic Integrity: An Overview: Academic Integrity Defined

The objective of this guide is to provide JMU students clear definitions and resources related to academic integrity with a focus on plagiarism.

JMU Resources

Citation Resources

What IS Academic Integrity?

At James Madison University, the Academic Honesty Policy reads as follows:

“Making references to the work of others strengthens your own work by granting you greater authority and by showing that you are part of a discussion located within an intellectual community. When you make references to the ideas of others, it is essential to provide proper attribution and citation. Failing to do so is considered academically dishonest, as is copying or paraphrasing someone else’s work. The consequences of such behavior will lead to consequences ranging from failure on an assignment to failure in the course to dismissal from the university. Because the disciplines of the Humanities value collaborative work, you will be encouraged to share ideas and to include the ideas of others in our papers. Please ask if you are in doubt about the use of a citation. Honest mistakes can always be corrected or prevented."

Click here to read more about the JMU Honor Code.  

Academic integrity can be defined as a personal choice to act responsibly and take responsibility for one's academic actions.  

The United States Military Academy has an honor code that succinctly states the following: "A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do."  In the realm of academia, we follow a similar code of honor that functions as a social contract in which we relinquish certain rights that might provide us with an advantage over another member of the group.  Academic integrity follows the principle that individuals have a duty to follow the rules of academia and insure that others follow the same rules.  

 In turn, academic dishonesty can be defined as the theft of ideas and other forms of intellectual property--in both published and unpublished form.  It is important to note that, while plagiarism is considered a form of academic dishonesty, it is not the only form.  JMU's Academic Honesty Policy indicates that other examples include: cheating on tests/homework/grade-able activities, taking an exam or writing a paper for someone else, and selling or uploading assignments, unauthorized documents, or tests/quizzes from a class.