PHYS 107/109 and Science One Policy on Academic Dishonesty

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UBC Policy

The following excerpt is taken from the UBC calendar's section on plagiarism.

"Plagiarism. Plagiarism is a form of academic misconduct in which an individual submits or presents the work of another person as his or her own. Scholarship quite properly rests upon examining and referring to the thoughts and writings of others. However, when excerpts are used in paragraphs or essays, the author must be acknowledged through footnotes or other accepted practices. Substantial plagiarism exists when there is no recognition given to the author for phrases, sentences, and ideas of the author incorporated in an essay. Complete plagiarism exists when an entire essay is copied from an author, or composed by another person, and presented as original work. Students in doubt as to what constitutes a case of plagiarism should consult their instructor."

There is no tolerance for plagiarism in any physics course. However, you may find yourself confused when trying to apply this policy to an open laboratory format that often involves working with partners or in groups. I'll offer further guidance here and you can always ask the instructor if you have doubts.

When working with a partner, the data that you present will be largely the same since you are working closely together. However, you must record your own data, do your own graphing etc... It is unacceptable, for instance, to simply copy down your partner's data after the experiment is done.

Some of your analysis may also be very similar since some collaboration on this might be mutually beneficial. However, I don't want you to simply copy your partner's analysis. For instance, I expect you to do your own work with computer software, not simply copy someone else's spreadsheet, graphs or Mathematica notebook.

You of course can also discuss many other details of the lab and this discussion will be reflected in some of your ideas. As a courtesy, it is a good idea to write down an acknowledgement of someone who has helped you with an idea. Most importantly, the text in your lab book and final reports must be entirely your own words. Any deviation from this standard will be treated very seriously.

Finally, a particularly serious form of dishonesty in a laboratory setting is the faking of results. The penalty for this out in the real world is most severe since science is completely dependent on the accurate reporting of experiments. For an example of how seriously this issue is taken in Physics, you might want to take a minute to read about a real-life physics scandal - the Schon Affair.