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Text Matching Software Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Scope

(1) The University encourages and promotes academic excellence and integrity. The use of text-matching software is used by the University in this endeavour.

(2) The purpose of this Policy is to establish the University's requirements surrounding the use of text-matching software to:

  1. assist students in developing their academic literacy and good academic practice;
  2. support the University's Rules, Policies, Procedures and Guidelines concerning Academic Integrity and Academic Misconduct; and
  3. allow students and staff to identify text matches in student work and locate these on the internet.

(3) Text-matching software variously allows the comparison of electronically submitted papers with Internet content, published works and related proprietary and commercial databases, and other works submitted to the software, such as papers by other students in Australia and overseas.


(4) This Policy and Procedure applies to all SCU coursework awards and Higher Degree by Research and Professional Doctorate awards.

Section 2 - Definitions

(5) For the purpose of this Policy, refer to the Academic Board's Definitions Policy.

Section 3 - Policy Statement

(6) The University will make text-matching software (currently Turnitin) available to staff and students.

(7) Text-matching software will be used:

  1. in all SCU coursework award units unless the Head of School, in consultation with the relevant course coordinator and unit assessor, grants exemption; and
  2. prior to all Higher Degree by Research and Professional Doctorate theses being submitted for examination.

(8) Text-matching software may be used in coursework award units in two ways:

  1. text-matching software is used as the only method for assignment submission. Students submit to a text-matching assignment link and do not submit the assignment anywhere else; or
  2. students submit their assignment through an approved assignment submission system, with text-matching software available as an optional extra function. Students and staff can use the text-matching software to check student work, but assignment submission and return does not depend on the text-matching software.

(9) Text-matching software will be employed for Higher Degrees by Research and Professional Doctorate theses checking in accordance with the Text-Matching Software Higher Degrees by Research Procedures.

(10) Subject to clause (11), if the use of Turnitin text-matching software leads to the detection of plagiarism and possible allegations of academic misconduct, the University's Academic Integrity Policy (and Academic Integrity Guidelines) will be applied.

(11) Instances of text matches which are identified by text-matching software may not necessarily constitute Academic Misconduct. Decision-makers must exercise careful academic judgement in assessing instances of potential Academic Misconduct in the application of text-matching software.

(12) The University may submit any coursework award, Higher Degrees by Research, or Professional Doctorate assessment item to a text-matching database for electronic originality checking with or without a student's consent. In regards to whether a student's work may be stored in a text-matching database, the following applies:

  1. where student consent is provided, assessment items may be electronically stored in the originality checking service where possible for future checking; or
  2. where student consent to submit an assessment item for electronic originality checking is not provided, the assessment item must not be left on the database.

(13) Unless student consent is provided, unit assessors, or other academic staff involved in delivering or marking an assessment item, must not release SCU students' work to other universities in response to automated requests through the electronic originality checking service.

(14) Where an electronic originality checking service is used for a unit or an assessment task, all students must use the checking service as part of the assessment submission requirements.

(15) Wherever possible, text-matching software options must be set to allow students to check their work using the originality checking service before submitting the final version.

(16) Instructions for use, professional development and support must be provided to teaching staff (including unit assessors and their tutors and educational partners) and learning support staff.

(17) Instructions for the use of text-matching software and associated academic integrity educational resources must be provided to all students prior to them being required to use the system.