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Plagiarism on the rise at Swedish universities

Plagiarism on the rise at Swedish universities

Published: 18 Sep 2012 12:03 GMT+02:00
Updated: 18 Sep 2012 12:03 GMT+02:00

Some 800 students were suspended or received a formal warning due to cheating at Swedish universities last year, an increase of 5 percent compared to 2010, according to a new report from the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education (Högskoleverket).

“Plagiarizing has increased dramatically over the last decade. In 2001 there were only 68 cases,” said the agency’s legal expert Pontus Kyrk in a statement.

Plagiarizing is the most common form of cheating among university students, according to the study.

The largest number of disciplinary cases reported was at Blekinge Institute of Technology (Blekinge Tekniska Högskola) and the least at University of Gothenburg.

Of the detected cheaters, 639 were suspended and 151 received an official warning. Compared to 2010, the number of suspensions increased by 8 percent, while the issued warnings have decreased a little.

The number of students caught cheating has increased by 522 percent over the last ten years; from 127 to 790 cases. But as the number of students enrolled at Swedish universities have increased at the same time, the comparison isn’t completely fair.

Today, there are more than ten times as many cases of plagiarism compared with 2001.

However, according to the agency this can be explained in part by the increased awareness among the universities of this kind of cheating and the more advanced strategies to come to detect and come to terms with it.

“It is much more common today that universities use text matching tools to control the students’ work," Kyrk said.

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Your comments about this article

13:31 September 18, 2012 by Youdee
It might help if the students' first assignments were writing assignments that clearly define plagiarism and describe what EXACTLY must be done to avoid it. My son's first writing assignment at a US university dealt with global economics; the plagiarism issue was integrated into this assignment.
14:37 September 18, 2012 by isenhand
form my experience in working in academia, most students know what plagiarism is but they are under such pressure to succeeded that they take the risk anyway. I see a similar thing with research where researcher are under pressure to produce results that show they were right. So that if the result don't go as predicted they cheat. Of cause, results not going as expected is an opportunity to learn something new (the whole point of what research should be about) but it's not seen that way.
15:35 September 18, 2012 by Puffin
I am not convinced that the level of plagiarism has actually increased - more that Universities now have a more coordinated approach to detecting and dealing with it
17:54 September 18, 2012 by blursd
The most FLAGRANT act of plagiarism I've EVER seen in my entire life was at a university in Sweden -- on a Masters Thesis no less. Basically the entire thing (all 60 pages) was lifted from about four sources - there would be this fluid writing style and then a choppy and quasi-unintelligly connecting paragraph or two (the student actually wrote) to tie together the next page of plagiarized writing (in a completely different writing style). I mean it was so obvious and flagrant it was insulting she would even submit it for defense.
20:23 September 18, 2012 by Youdee
isenhand: This is one scenario: A researcher is doing a literature review, sees valuable information, and copies it into a file -- just when a patient needs emergency care or the phone rings or a student knocks on the door. The researcher forgets to reformulate the text and cite the source. This kind of thing happens all the time in various workplaces, which is why it's important for authors (and their co-authors) to double-check their work using plagiarism detection software (if the organization owns it).
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