Plagiarism – copying material from books and the internet and passing it off as original work – is widespread in British universities, if a recent survey of students at Cambridge University is to be believed.
Nearly half the students consulted in a poll conducted by The Varsity student newspaper admitted to plagiarism. The survey claimed that only one in 20 students admitting to this form of cheating had been caught.
There have been concerns that plagiarism is not being taken seriously by the universities. A report this year from the Higher Education Academy and Joint Information Systems Committee, quoted on The Times web site, found that even repeat offenders were unlikely to be excluded for cheating.
Only 143 students caught cheating were expelled, out of 9200 cases – despite almost all universities threatening expulsion as a sanction. The study found that the most common penalty was to have to re-submit work.