Plagiarism fighting in higher education: what can we learn from what the best ones do?

Rodríguez-del-Pino, J.C.; Rubio-Royo, E.; Hernández-Figueroa, Z.
4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovations (ICERI). ISBN: 978-84-615-3324-4
Noviembre, 2011.

Cheating and plagiarism are avowed as big problems in the academic environment. They are not new problems, although some new aspects of them have arisen as a result of the development of information technologies. In this work we are concerned with find which are the more adequate action to fight the plagiarism problem. When looking for solutions to a big problem it is a good idea to consider what the best ones on the field are doing about it. In this paper we first compile and analyse what things the best universities on the world are doing to fight cheating and plagiarism, and then we propose a list of which, as a results of that analysis, could be the most effective ones. The selection of the institutions to analyse is done by comparing three well known rankings devoted to arrange worldwide higher education institutions using a range of different criteria. We select for our research nine institutions which are in the "top ten" list in at least two of the three rankings. The analysis is done using the documents about the matter that the selected institutions publish on Internet. We have a special interest on computer sciences and computer engineering, which are disciplines with some specific differentiations in the kind of works that students do; so, when possible, we centre our analysis on the technological faculties considering the way they adapt the general rules of the institution to their particular circumstances. A prominent aspect that this work shows is the importance of prevention and information actions. It usually seems that many students are not aware of what are good or bad practices, so they must be early informed about the problem and its consequences in order to avoid misconducts due to ignorance. Roles of teachers, students and academic authorities in preventive and prosecution actions are also important aspects to be considered.