Academic integrity 

Academic integrity concerns the maintenance of academic standards such as honesty, factuality and rigor in research and academic publishing. Academic integrity also concerns itself with the avoidance of plagiarism. Within the academic world it is considered extremely bad form to not quote your sources, in some cases this sort of behaviour can lead to serious charges or expulsion.

To avoid plagiarism ALWAYS cite your sources and be sure to give credit where credit is due. 

Plagiarism means copying someone else's work, intentionally or unintentionally. It is YOUR responsibility to make sure that all your sources are given proper credit. This includes not only word for word citations but also data and ideas. If you are unsure if you should give something a citation, it is always preferable to err on the of caution, you would rather have a citation too many than one too few. To learn more about when and how to cite, read our academic writing guide. 

Using someone else's work and passing it off as yours, apart from going against academic integrity, can also violate copyright laws.

What is copyright? 

Copyright acts give authors and other copyright owners of original 'works' the exclusive right to reproduce, publish, communicate, and adapt their material. It also gives the copyright owner the right to licence, transfer, or sell their work to others.

Material protected by copyright include written material, images, music and other sound recordings, films and other visual media irrespective of whether they are in print or digital format, in a book, a journal, a DVD or on a website.


The copyright owner has the right to take legal action to prevent others from infringing on their copyrighted material, and to be awarded damages if any of these rights have been infringed. Using copyright protected works without permission from the copyright owner, or without following the provisions of the Copyright Act, could lead to infringement of the Act, with possibly severe repercussions for both the individual and the University.

Staff and students are expected to comply with the copyright regulations. 

Fair Dealing

The fair dealing exceptions in the Copyright Act allows limited amounts of copyright material to be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner for the following purposes: 

Fair dealing for the purpose of research or study
Fair dealing for the purpose of review or critique
Fair dealing for parody or satire
Fair dealing for reporting the news
Fair dealing for professional advice
Fair dealing for the purpose of research or study

You may copy part of a work, corresponding to a "reasonable portion".  A reasonable portion can for example be one article of a journal issue or one chapter of a book. The material still has to be properly cited and credited if used in your own research. 

Fair dealing for the purpose of review or critique

Copyright work may be copied for inclusion in essays, conference papers etc. This can only be done with the purpose of commenting critically on the material. Any such use have to cite the work and author (unless the author is anonymous or has agreed or directed that they not be named).


Exceptions under the Act 

There are exceptions to the exclusive rights enjoyed by owners of copyright in literary, dramatic and musical works.

There is no copyright infringement if:

  • you obtain permission from the copyright owner;
  • the copyright is owned by the University;
  • the material has been supplied to the University with a licence to copy;
  • the proposed copying and/or communication falls within provisions in the Copyright Act that allow 'insubstantial amounts' of copying without payment; or
  • the copying is covered by the statutory licence; by this licence universities pay creators, through Copyright Agency Limited (CAL), for use of their copyright works.

The University recommends you do not cite any poetry in your Master's Thesis. 

Recommendations for students 

Always cite your sources

The general recommendation to students is to always acknowledge where you are getting your ideas from. In assignments and other work you must make sure to cite all sources and acknowledge where you are getting ideas and material from. 

Follow the APA guidelines

APA is used at WMU. Make sure to cite according to these guidelines. 

If you are unsure whether to cite or not, ask a librarian!

A general rule is that it is always better to cite than not to cite. But if you are unsure you are welcome to write to library@wmu.se or come ask at the library circulation desk.