Some students copy and paste, intentionally or not, and risk to be accused of plagiarism. This is not the evil of one country or one person. Mistakes are part of everyone's learning process. This is the reaction to this misconduct that differs from one country to another, from one university to another, from one teacher to another, and even from one parent to another. While it is easy to turn a blind eye, it is also possible to create a real learning opportunity when plagiarism occurs.



  1. Students plagiarise without knowing it and institutions lack maturity  on the topic
  2. Working groups and associations call for educational action
  3. A dedicated conference to share experiences and raise awareness
[REPLAY] Online conference with academic integrity experts
Studium antiplagiarism software

1. Students plagiarise without knowing it and institutions lack maturity  on the topic

In Europe, the perception of plagiarism is still mixed. Students have difficulties in knowing when they are right or wrong. This is the finding of the research "Exploring issues challenging academic integrity in South East Europe” where "Figure 2 shows the scenario where students copied 40% of their work without citation, but attempted to change some of it. 39.38% of the students in the study believe that this is not plagiarism. This study suggests that some students have a poor grasp of using sources and referencing."

Students' perception of plagiarism

Students need to be guided by their teachers and schools to learn research and writing methods. And yet, in different European countries, the level of maturity regarding academic integrity varies. The study "Comparison of policies for Academic Integrity in Higher Education across the European Union" clearly shows the areas of reflection and the progress made by countries on each topic:

Academic integrity maturity model
educational action with Compilatio

2. Working groups and associations call for educational action

Raising awareness of academic integrity at all levels is a real issue among education stakeholders. Which anti-plagiarism software should be used, how to deployed it, and with which associated usage? What should be included in the institution's policy and how to train and communicate about it?  What is the role of each stakeholder? 
These are the questions that the European Network for Academic Integrity (ENAI) is working on to promote academic integrity.

Dita Henek Dlabolova (ENAI Executive Manager) points out that :
'Almost every definition of plagiarism includes a note about failing to cite properly. Obviously, no one can cite properly without being taught about it. Also, good writing and working with sources is not something we are born with, but it is rather a craft that we need to learn. Taking another aspect: teachers are asked to check students’ texts for plagiarism. Hence, also the teachers need to acquire knowledge on how to recognize plagiarism or how to work with anti-plagiarism systems. Therefore, in order to prevent plagiarism and to increase the quality of academic works, all involved parties need to gain the necessary amount of knowledge and skills. In the European Network for Academic Integrity, we believe that education is the key aspect of the prevention of plagiarism.'


In addition, Dr Salim Razi (Director, Centre for Academic Integrity, Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Turkey) states that :

'Such institutions wrongly hope that campus-wide use of text-matching software will ensure detection of plagiarism automatically and delivering sanctions for the offenders will have solved the issue. Although it is true that text-matching software may help institutions cultivate a culture of academic integrity, special care should be given benefiting from pedagogical approaches in the implementation of text-matching tools. It is therefore essential to develop proactive and/or pedagogic academic integrity policies.' 

3. A dedicated conference to share experiences and raise awareness

The two experts mentioned above, together with Compilatio, a European specialist in plagiarism prevention, hosted an online conference on Tuesday 26 April on the subject 'Why an anti-plagiarism software is essential but not enough?'.
On this World Intellectual Property Day, participants described this moment of sharing as "thought-provoking”, "interesting", "useful", "well organized", "stimulating" and "brainstorming". 
For instance, we discussed tools and actions that are missing in some institutions. Here, participants indicated what they would need first:

conference Compilatio  to share experiences
[REPLAY] Online conference with academic integrity experts

Today, some institutions have access to anti-plagiarism software to check students' work. However, it is still essential to have training time for both students and teachers, as well as a policy on academic integrity. Here are some testimonies from the conference:  

  • 'I think that we need more literacy courses at our university. There are too many obligations left to teachers, and some of them do not expect their students to cheat, so they do not take care about this side of their educational work.'
  • 'Same here at my institution, we do not have AI (Academic Integrity) policy, however we started writing clubs to make awareness among students and try to structure AI culture for all stakeholders.'


We can't deny that setting up an educational plagiarism prevention approach is a big challenge, but in the meantime there are many resources available to help institutions, teachers and students. What ENAI and Compilatio recommend is to : 

  • define what is acceptable and what is not via a regulatory framework accessible to all
  • share the different levels of tips to avoid accidental plagiarism and interpreting similarity reports, 
  • organize training modules and workshops.

This will help students and teachers already involved in academic integrity.