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Copyright at UNSW


Plagiarism occurs when someone else's material or ideas are presented as your own, whether it is intentional or not. Plagiarism can occur in written work, presentations, artworks or performances, and includes:

  • copying
  • inappropriate paraphrasing
  • collusion
  • relying too much on other people’s material
  • inappropriate citation
  • self-plagiarising

For more information, please see Common forms of plagiarism.

To avoid unintentional plagiarism and maintain good academic practice, it’s important to develop academic writing skills, such as:

  • using the knowledge gained through your research to form your own opinions in your own words
  • acknowledging the original author of any ideas or content that you quote, summarise or paraphrase
  • referencing sources in the appropriate referencing style, such as Harvard, APA or AGLC

For more information, please see The path to avoiding plagiarising and referencing.

Plagiarism is a serious breath of ethics at UNSW and is not taken lightly. There are serious consequences for students who engage in plagiarism. For more information, see the UNSW student code of conduct and Complaints Management and Investigations Policy & Procedure.


Contract cheating

Contract cheating consists of what are known as “outsourcing behaviours” which occur when a student:

  • pays a company to produce their assessment task
  • uses an unauthorised editing service
  • gets someone else to complete their assessment task, including family and friends
  • uses online file sharing services
  • gets someone else to take their exam

Contract cheating is a serious form of academic dishonesty which is classed as collusion at UNSW and is not taken lightly. As with other forms of plagiarism there are serious consequences for students who engage in contract cheating.

In addition to infringing university rules, there are potential long-term consequences including blackmail and being charged with fraud. For more information, please see ARC UNSW: contract cheating, the UNSW student code of conduct and the Complaint Management and Investigations Policy and Procedure.  

Need help?

UNSW staff and students can contact for assistance with a copyright query or to arrange a copyright information session.

Related resources

Information about Contract Cheating and how to get support

iThenticate for Researchers and Supervisors