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Academic (mis)conduct and fraud

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A student should deliver only his own original work, without cheating, falsifying results, free-riding, or committing plagiarism. All are forms of fraud, or in more general terms, academic misconduct. When academic misconduct is detected, it will be reported to the Examination Board, which will investigate and determine whether sanctions will be applied. As there may be various views on academic misconduct in general, and plagiarism in particular, we elaborate on these below.

Academic (mis)conduct

The University of Twente has a code of conduct [1]. An important part of this code concerns academic misconduct. A general definition of academic misconduct could be “any action or attempted action that may result in creating an unfair academic advantage for oneself or an unfair academic advantage or disadvantage for any other member or members of the academic community” [2]. Academic misconduct is a serious offence, which can have dire consequences for a student who commits it. This can range from declaring a test or report invalid, to a permanent termination of university enrolment [3]. Academic misconduct includes scientific integrity (most notably fabrication or falsification of results and plagiarism) [4][5][6], and fraud (most notably free-riding, plagiarism, and cheating) [7][8]. As stated in [3]: “Students are expected to apply the standards of scientific integrity to their work. Standards of scientific integrity are described in the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity and the Netherlands Code of Conduct for Research Integrity”.


Plagiarism may be one of the most difficult elements to comprehend. A definition could be “using someone else's work without proper referencing and thereby violating the intellectual property rights of that other person.” Especially for students, when writing reports, plagiarism is often unintentionally committed. This includes sources, such as scientific papers, online webpages, personal communications, and reports from fellow students, not being properly referenced when text is copied, ideas, figures or code are reused, etc. A more elaborate list can be found in [8]. Most of the fraud cases reported to the Examination Board are due to (suspicion) of plagiarism. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to be aware of what constitutes plagiarism, and what not. For example, there are clear boundaries between incorrect paraphrasing and writing in your own words. How to paraphrase correctly is well described here: https://gsi.berkeley.edu/gsi-guide-contents/academic-misconduct-intro/plagiarism/art-of-paraphrasing/. Some other examples, but in a somewhat unstructured format, are given in [10]. Unfortunately, it is not easy to find a comprehensive source that is both clear and consistent for all aspects of plagiarism. Therefore, the Examination Board of the Electrical Engineering and Embedded Systems programme follows the guidelines as listed in [2] and [9].

Other forms of academic misconduct

Without trying to be complete, other forms of academic misconduct we encountered are:

Presentation by Arend Rensink on fraud in B-TCS M1

A presentation by Arend Rensink on fraud including some additional fraud scenarios from other sources

For teachers: how to check for plagiarism and code similarity

Check all submissions using tools such as:

For teachers: What to do if you suspect fraud?

The examination board keeps a register on students regarding fraud. Therefore, also mild cases should be reported, even if no punishment is deemed necessary by the teacher (for example, when the fraud was committed due to exceptional and understandable personal circumstances). The formal procedure can be found in "Rules and Guidelines" appendix 4 in version 2022-2023 [4], but a sufficient summary is:

  1. Collect all relevant facts:
    1. Names and student numbers of the students involved.
    2. Copy of the exams, assignments, plagiarism reports, etc.
    3. Communications from/with students, time stamps, etc.
  2. Provide a clear description of the suspicion.
  3. Ask the students to explain your findings. If the suspicion holds:
    1. Inform students that grading is suspended and the examination board will investigate;
    2. Send the important material to examinationboard-eemcs@utwente.nl;
    3. The Examination board will hear teachers and students;
    4. The Examination boards informs students and teachers about penalties if violations are found.

Sources & relevant links:

[1] University Code of Conduct: https://www.utwente.nl/en/organisation/about/integrity/codes-of-conduct/
[2] Berkeley GSI Guide on Academic Misconduct: https://gsi.berkeley.edu/gsi-guide-contents/academic-misconduct-intro/
[3] EEMCS Rules & Guidelines: https://www.utwente.nl/en/eemcs/education/rules-guidelines/rg/
[4] University Scientific Integrity: https://www.utwente.nl/en/organisation/about/integrity/scientific-integrity/
[5] Netherlands Code of Conduct for Research Integrity: https://www.utwente.nl/en/organisation/about/integrity/scientific-integrity/downloads/netherlands-code-of-conduct-for-research-integrity-2018-uk.pdf
[6] European Code of Conduct for Scientific Integrity: https://www.utwente.nl/en/organisation/about/integrity/scientific-integrity/downloads/allea-european-code-of-conduct-for-research-integrity-2017.pdf
[7] EEMCS Fraud and Free-Riding: https://www.utwente.nl/en/eemcs/education/examination-board/fraud/
[8] Student Charter: https://www.utwente.nl/en/ces/sacc/regulations/charter/
[9] Harvard Guide to Using Sources: https://usingsources.fas.harvard.edu/
[10] Plagiarism in Academic Research and Education: https://www.utwente.nl/en/organisation/about/integrity/scientific-integrity/downloads/plagiarism-in-academic-research-and-education.pdf