Rutgers University Department of Physics and Astronomy
Rutgers University has established policies concerning academic
integrity. Policies and resources can be found in detail at
Here we briefly review some aspects - This is not an exhaustive list!
- of the policy for both undergraduate
and graduate students in Physics and Astronomy.
- The scientific enterprise builds on the work of
predecessors. It is fair use to paraphrase or quote from earlier
work of oneself or others, giving proper credit through a citation
to the earlier work. Directly copying the words of another without
proper citation is an example of plagiarism, a violation of academic
integrity policy and perhaps legal copyright protection. This applies as
well to graphs, figures, pictures, etc. References to ``textbook science'',
long-established, well-known laws, principles, techniques etc., without citation
are accepted in the community, such as Newton's Law of Gravitation,
Momentum Conservation, or relativistic kinematics.
- Dishonesty is a violation of academic integrity. In classes,
you should take your own tests with only the materials allowed
(perhaps so-called cheat sheets, or calculators), and not take tests
for others. Non-group projects and homework should be your own work. In
research and lab measurements, the data should be measured
and analyzed to see what the measurement indicates; data should
not be made up, altered, or selectively analyzed, in an attempt
to reach a desired conclusion.
- Collaboration is an important part of the scientific
enterprise. In most courses, faculty encourage collaboration on
homework as it helps you learn; however, it is not right for you to simply
copy answers without understanding. Faculty might require such
collaboration to be identified. In research projects,
ethical collaboration requires that you identify those you worked
with on the project, commonly through co-authorship of papers for
major roles, or acknowledgments for more minor roles or perhaps for
oral presentations of results. Some journals require that the role
of each co-author be identified.
Examples of other violations of academic integrity and/or professional ethics
include interfering with the work of others, aiding the dishonesty
of others, misappropriation of resources, and using without
permission the unpublished data, results, or computer codes of
The Graduate School - New Brunswick publishes a brochure
Academic Integrity: Issues for Graduate Students.
Professional societies also have established policies concerning
The American Physical Society has a
The American Astronomical Society has an
standards for journal articles.
Questions about academic integrity should be addressed at a local
level first, if possible.
Within a classroom setting, you should initiate a discussion with
the faculty in the class, or with the undergraduate / graduate director.
Within a research setting, you should initiate a discussion first
within the research group.
Revised Dec 05, 2015