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Library Guide for International Students

Academic Integrity

The International Center for Academic Integrity defines academic integrity as a commitment, even in the face of adversity, to six fundamental values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, and courage. Acts of plagiarism and other forms of cheating compromise academic integrity.

Plagiarism - A Cultural Construct

International students may sometimes find it difficult to understand the concept of plagiarism depending on their cultural backgrounds. There could be several reasons for that -

Plagiarism - A Cultural Construct

  • Western cultures view an individual as owner of knowledge while Non-Western cultures view knowledge as shared property
  • Western cultures value individual achievements and responsibilities while non-Western cultures often emphasize on collective/shared efforts and goals
  • As a form of respect, international students may not feel that they can enhance or refute the ideas and writings of scholars in their specific fields
  • Copying the scholar's work without citing the source may be considered as a sign of respect
  • Students may not cite a well-known scholar on the basis that it is implicit in their paper (everyone knows who they are talking about) 

Different Teaching and Learning Styles

  • Open discussions and debates are encouraged in Western Classrooms. Drawing attention to oneself by expressing opinions may be considered disrespectful to the professor who is considered to be the ultimate authority in classroom
  • Memorization of the scholar's works may be viewed as a sign of respect and the ability to recite their works verbatim in tests and exams could win higher grades
  • Academic performances in non-western educational systems are often based on memorization and tests/exams and students have little or no experience in writing research papers that require critical thinking and individual opinions

Language Barriers

  • Research and writing may take much longer if the students' native language is not English
  • Students may not feel confident in expressing themselves in English and find it easier to find and use already written text that reflect their personal opinions

Even if these reasons are understandable, all students, international and domestic, at NDNU are required to follow the Student Academic Conduct Code and refrain from any acts that are considered "Academic Misconduct."

Please make yourself aware of the policies and regulations that are in place regarding "Academic Misconduct" at NDNU. If you have any questions about plagiarism or academic integrity, just ask for help!

  • Talk to your professor. They are there to help and want you to succeed. 
  • Schedule an appoint with a Research Librarian (email: or phone: 650-508-3444)
  • Visit the Academic Success Center, Tutorial Center, and/or Writing Center (located in the Campus Center off of the quad, close to the cafeteria; email: and phone: 650-508-3670)


Plagiarism at NDNU

NDNU, like all American universities, views plagiarism as "academic misconduct" or "academic dishonesty" or "violation of academic integrity."

Per NDNU's Student Conduct Code, "representing another person‟s ideas, processes, results, or words, as your own; using the ideas, organization, or words of another from a book, article, paper, computer file, or another source in any assignment without giving proper credit following accepted citation rules" is viewed as plagiarism.

NDNU's Policies regarding Academic Misconduct take from NDNU's Student Conduct Code

Academic Misconduct Introduction

All members of the university community have a responsibility to protect and maintain an academic climate of integrity and ethics. Academic relationships should be governed by a sense of trust and a commitment to learning and working in an environment that is a level playing field for all students. Deceptive acts violate the standards that are critical for every student to have his/her work equitably evaluated. It is important that a member of the community who is aware of a breach of the standard of conduct bring it to the attention of the course instructor.

Definition of Academic Misconduct: Academic misconduct involves wrongful acts occurring in the course of or related to curricular activities including but not limited to:

  • Using unauthorized materials (such as notes or books) as an aid during an examination
  • Copying answers from another person‟s exam, report or assignment
  • Providing assistance to, or receiving assistance from, another person in any manner prohibited by the instructor
  • Possessing or providing an examination or assignment, or any part thereof, at any time or in any manner not authorized by the instructor
  • Taking a quiz, exam or any similar assignment for another person, or utilizing another person to take a quiz, exam or assignment in place of oneself
  • Submitting any course materials or activities not the student‟s own, allowing such a submission to be made for oneself, or making such a submission for another
  • Representing another person‟s ideas, processes, results, or words, as your own; using the ideas, organization, or words of another from a book, article, paper, computer file, or another source in any assignment without giving proper credit following accepted citation rules (plagiarism)
  • Forging or any other unauthorized alteration of a document, record, identification or other property maintained by an individual, department, or the University Altering, stealing, and or falsifying research data used in research reports, theses, or dissertations
  • Disregarding policies governing use of human subjects or animals in research
  • Attempting any of the above or assisting others to engage in any similar unacceptable behavior Knowingly violating copyright laws and regulations
  • Other similar acts of such dishonesty

Definition of Research Misconduct: Research Misconduct is a specific form of Academic Misconduct that has been defined by the Federal Office of Research Integrity and violations must be investigated and reported through the Office of the Provost. The essence of research scholarship is the pursuit of knowledge. Actions that undermine the integrity of scholarly activity impede the advancement of knowledge, compromise the work of other investigators, harm members of the general public, and damage the reputation of the University. NDNU employs the federal definition of research misconduct, as defined by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity, to mean the “fabrication, falsification or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results.” According to the U.S. Office of Research Integrity:

  • Fabrication is making up data or results and recording or reporting them;
  • Falsification is manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record;
  • Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person‟s ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.

Sanctions for Academic Misconduct Cases

University policy permits discipline up to and including the expulsion for academic misconduct. If a faculty member believes that a student has engaged in academic misconduct, the faculty member may take any of the following actions at the time the misconduct is detected, and must, as part of the process, present evidence to the student of the misconduct:

  1. The student may be reprimanded in writing.
  2. The student may be offered the opportunity to re-complete the assignment or re-take the exam
  3. The student may receive an “F” on a paper, test, or project.
  4. The student may receive an “F” for the course after the faculty member has consulted with the Department Chair or Program Director. In appropriate cases, the faculty member may require a cessation of the participation of the student in the academic activity as interim preventive measure, with the concurrence of the Dean, pending resolution of an academic misconduct case.