Plagiarism and copyright


An important aspect of behaving with academic integrity is to make sure that you acknowledge all sources of information drawn upon in your academic work. It is important to make clear which are your words, ideas or artworks and which have been taken from others. Failure to do so will be seen as plagiarism. To avoid plagiarising the work of other people you should acknowledge each instance of another person’s ideas, artworks (including photos) or words using the appropriate referencing conventions in the style required by your school or department.

Watch this short video ‘What is plagiarism?’ In the video the authors of the book and online referencing tool ‘Cite Them Right’ discuss examples of plagiarism and how to avoid it.

What is plagiarism?


Our citing and referencing page has advice on referencing your academic work and the referencing styles required by different schools or departments of the University of Southampton.

Try this short learning activity

Allow approximately 5 minutes to complete this learning activity.

By the end of this activity you should be able to:

  • understand what referencing is and why it is important
  • understand when you must reference
  • find out which referencing style you must use


Another important aspect of academic integrity is to obtain credit or permission to use other academic work where appropriate. A responsible researcher observes the copyright of other authors. Copyright can be defined as: the exclusive and assignable legal right, given to the originator for a fixed number of years, to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material. Be careful, check what you can and cannot do with a ‘published’ work.

In general, for research you may use another author’s work as a source of information or inspiration provided that you acknowledge or give credit to the author and the work. This is provided that you do not intend to make your dissertation publicly available, for example on the web. You cannot use copyrighted works for a commercial purpose without the consent of the author.

For more detailed  guidance see the information  on our copyright page

If your dissertation or theses is going to be made publically available on the web then you will need to seek permissions to include third party copyright material. There is further information and guidance about seeking copyright permissions on the Theses: Copyright page of the library website.

The next section looks at research ethics and the University of Southampton Ethics Policy Statement.

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