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Cheating and plagiarism

Neglect, stress and ignorance of how source material should be used can lead to students copying other people's material into reports and essays, but that is not a valid reason if it becomes a disciplinary matter.

Cheating relates to using unauthorised means or tools to gain an advantage. Exchanging information with another person during an exam is also considered cheating. Plagiarism means submitting someone else's work or parts of someone else's work or code in your name.

Plagiarism is easier to detect than many people think. At a large number of Swedish universities and university colleges, automated text matching tools are used.

Advice on how to avoid plagiarism

Video about how students can avoid plagiarism

KTH Library and Centre for Academic Writing and Rhetoric have made a video to help students be aware of and avoid plagiarism.


Here is an extract from KTH's Handbook "Guiding students away from plagiarism" that can be found on this page.

Plagiarism in written assignments

Three kinds of student plagiarism are common in written work:

Copying wordings and ideas from published sources

If students copy words or ideas from a published source straight into their assignment without acknowledging the source, this is plagiarism. Students can also plagiarise when they copy ideas by making a summary or paraphrasing the original text (that is, by writing it differently) without acknowledging the source of the original idea or words.

Copying from other students

Students plagiarise in written and practical work by copying another student's work and then claiming or pretending it is their own.

Working too closely with other students

Most teachers encourage students to discuss their work. Collaborative work is a rich source of ideas and insights. It mirrors how the teachers work with colleagues and how the students will work professionally once they graduate from KTH. Yet university studies require that each student shows individually that they have met the learning requirements of the course. If they work so closely with other students on individually-assigned tasks that the final result turns out to be identical or near identical this is classified as unallowed collaboration. However, the line between cooperation and collusion is not always that clear.

Plagiarism in practical work and computing code

It is important that students ‘do their own work’ when they write computer code, when document an experiment, create a design or answer a mathematical problem. If they do not do these activities themselves, yet claim the results as their own, this is plagiarism.

Design work

Students designing new objects will draw on others ideas and be inspired by their creativity, however the work they hand in must be created by the student themself. This means students will need to modify, develop or change the ideas drawn from others to make them their own.

How to avoid plagiarism

To avoid plagiarism, always provide a source as soon as you use other people's research results, ideas or arguments. You also need to learn academic writing to know how to process information properly from different sources. You will also get information from your teachers about what to consider when writing an assignment or other work.

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Suspicion of cheating or plagiarism

Students who, with unauthorized aids or otherwise attempt to mislead the exam or when a student's performance is otherwise to be assessed, may lead to disciplinary action.

Disciplinary matters and how they are administered