Academic Ethics

All members of the University community must act justly and honestly and respect other people’s work and its results. The Universities Act stipulates that universities arrange their education and instruction in conformity with ethical principles and good scientific practices.

This page contains information about the following issues:

Good Study Practices

Good study practices are applied in university studies and they are taught to students throughout their education. They are not something the students are expected to know before their studies begin.

Ethical and sound study and scientific practices are learned as knowledge, skills and attitudes, which the students not only need in the studies but in their future jobs and lives more generally. Learning the right conduct requires that the students familiarise themselves with the relevant decrees and guidelines, train those practices and participate in debates on the subject.

Good study practices mean the following:

  • acting as a member of the university community;
  • taking responsibility for one’s own studies;
  • having respect for other people’s work; and
  • observing the agreed ethical principles and practices that concern science.

Instructing the students on sound study practices prevents misconduct.

Students are responsible for adhering to good study practices and they must ensure that they act in accordance with these practices proactively. In its own behaviour, the University staff must set an example to the students on ethical conduct.

The University of Tampere uses the Turnitin plagiarism detection software to check the originality of Master’s and Licentiate’s theses and doctoral dissertations. The Turnitin software can also be used in other coursework.

The University of Tampere promotes and supports good study practices and it has issued the following guidelines and instructions that concern the whole University community:

Misconduct

Misconduct means dishonesty with the purpose of gaining advantage to oneself or a fellow student by misleading the instructor who assesses the coursework. For example, the following acts constitute misconduct:

  • cheating;
  • presenting the coursework of another students or other work done by another person as one’s own (plagiarism);
  • completing coursework in the name of another student;
  • falsifying another student’s signature in an attendance list.

Reading and writing scientific texts are important skills students learn in their university studies. Scientific texts reference earlier research according to agreed conventions. The reader of a scientific text must be able to trust that

  • the author is the real author of the text;
  • the author has used proper references when he or she has referred to other authors;
  • verbatim quotations have been used.

The lack of or the misleading use of references may constitute plagiarism. Presenting a text written by someone else or other work (or a part of it) as one’s own prevents the student from learning, is a violation of the rules and values of the scientific community and an infringement of the rights of the real author of the work. Such acts also damage trust and the reputation of the students, instructors and the whole University.

A student is allowed to present the same work as coursework on more than one study module only by specific agreement with the instructor. In such cases, a reference to the earlier work must be made in the coursework submitted for assessment.

Fraudulent conduct that ignores good study practices is forbidden by the University of Tampere’s Regulations on the Assessment of Studies and by the Responsible conduct of research and procedures for handling allegations of misconduct in Finland, pdf issued by the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity. Students are not allowed to aid other students in misconduct or to entice other students to act fraudulently.

Consequences of Misconduct

The University acts upon all cases of misconduct in studying, instruction and research. If a student is found to have behaved fraudulently, he or she will fail the study module in question. He or she will then receive supervision as well as be asked either to revise the coursework or to submit a completely new piece of work.

The neglect or disregard of good study practices may also lead to failing the study module in question. Serious misconduct may lead to disciplinary action as stipulated by the Universities Act: the Rector may caution the student or the student can be expelled from the University for a fixed time and the misconduct will be noted in the student’s academic record.

The University of Tampere has a set of procedures followed in cases of misconduct. Instructions on these procedures in cases of misconduct are available in the Intranet (in Finnish).

Acts of Cheating and Plagiarism

At the University of Tampere, the following acts of cheating and plagiarism are always regarded as serious offences:

  • Any attempt to check a document or listen to a recording during an examination, unless it has been specifically stated that you can use, for example, dictionaries.
  • Any attempt to read what another candidate in the examination room is writing, whether or not you make use of it in your own answer.
  • Any attempt to seek information or communicate with anyone inside or outside the examination room during an examination.
  • Plagiarism - using direct or paraphrased quotations or ideas from other sources, including both printed references and the internet - in your own writing without duly acknowledging it.

Please note that students’ writings are routinely checked for correct references and bibliographic information. If you use phrases from textbooks or the internet without specifically stating these in the way normally considered good academic practice, you will be deemed guilty of plagiarism. If you are uncertain about how to indicate the references, please consult your instructor or international coordinator before submitting your paper.

If you are caught cheating during an examination:

  • You will be removed from the room and the suspected fraud will be brought to the attention of the relevant dean or director of an independent institute. Even if the cheating is identified later, the same procedure applies.
  • If you are proven to have pursued studies fraudulently and are again suspected of fraud, the matter will be brought to the attention of the Rector for a decision.
  • In case you are an exchange student, your home university may be notified.

The University of Tampere may use the Turnitin Originality Check software to help teach correct referencing practices, to check the originality of theses, and to ensure sound scientific practice. Please read more on Turnitin in the Electronic Services and Web Tools for Students.