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Research integrity

A guide outlining Library support available to Researchers and Higher Degree by Research students on aspects of research integrity.

What is plagiarism?

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of source material including, but not limited to words, ideas, arguments, theories, and even the data of others. Plagiarism may occur when:

  • other peoples' work is poorly acknowledged or mis-represented
  • errors are unwittingly made in relation to the use of source material, e.g. mis-reporting a source or misattribution (attributing a source wrongly)

Plagiarism constitutes a breach of research integrity because it results in unfair credit or benefits. Research integrity includes the proper use of established conventions to acknowledge other researchers’ work but also extends to how a researcher uses or acknowledges their own work (i.e. self-plagiarism).

Researchers must ensure that they cite and acknowledge their own work and the work of others (whether published or unpublished) accurately and in accordance with the Code, [and] the conventions accepted within the relevant discipline or disciplines (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2020, p. 5). While this is most applicable to published work, it is also considered best practice for spoken presentations (i.e. conferences/symposiums).

How to avoid plagiarism

Avoiding plagiarism involves developing good researcher habits for managing and organising notes and keeping track of your reading. It does mean that for researchers, proper use of source material needs to be front of mind from the early stages of research.

Good habits to develop to avoid plagiarism:

  • Keep careful records of all sources used, ensuring FULL bibliographical details are recorded
  • Avoid inadvertent copying, summarise the information in point form
  • Use your own words, not the words of others

When citing sources:

  • If you have used any source then cite it
  • Using or adapting any images, graphs, or tables, may require permission (see the Library's Copyright Guide)

National Health and Medical Research Council. (2020). Publication and dissemination of research: A guide supporting the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research Licensed under CC BY 4.0

What is self-plagiarism?

What is self-plagiarism?

Self-plagiarism is the re-publication of one’s own previously published work (or part of it) without adequate acknowledgment of the source, or justification. It is sometimes referred to as duplicate publication or redundant publication.

Researchers may seek to publish the same research in more than one publication, such as an original journal article, followed by publication in book form and/or in anthologies, collections and translations. An author who submits substantially similar work to more than one publisher, or who submits work similar to work already published, must disclose this at the time of submission. Disclosure must also be included in the work itself to prevent any such re-use having the effect of portraying previously presented ideas or data as new (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2020, p. 6).

How to avoid self-plagiarism

  • If using your own previously published works/words, then provide clear citation details
  • Obtain permission from the original publisher or copyright owner before republishing their own or others’ findings (legal requirements)

National Health and Medical Research Council. (2020). Publication and dissemination of research: A guide supporting the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research Licensed under CC BY 4.0

Referencing and citation

The RMIT Library has developed some sources to make referencing conventions easier for students and researchers alike.


What is iThenticate?

iThenticate – checks text-similarity in research outputs including draft manuscripts, journal articles, book chapters, and books, and draft theses prior to publication and/or HDR examination. It protects intellectual property while allowing researchers to identify potential errors in citation and attribution.

Help using iThenticate

The iThenticate website has a suite of information, including the iThenticate Quick Start Guide to download.