Students must follow good academic practice in all their studies. Academic fraud is a dishonest act or measure done or taken deliberately, out of negligence or with the intent to deceive in order to give a false impression of the one’s own or another person’s competence.
It is the responsibility of a teacher to address a student’s conduct immediately and appropriately if they suspect the student of misconduct related to teaching or research. The teacher must investigate the nature and extent of the fraud verbally or in writing, depending on the circumstances.
After the investigation, the teacher must take one of the following measures:
- transfer processing of the detected fraud to the Dean or Director of independent institute or service centre (Language Centre, Library, Centre for Lifelong Learning, Student and Learning Services) by submitting a written report
- guide and advise the student to take the appropriate corrective measures if, in the teacher’s assessment, the misconduct is minor or due to the student’s ignorance, or
- conclude that based on the investigation, there is no reason to suspect the student of academic fraud and inform the student verbally or in writing that the case is dropped.
The Dean of the faculty or the Director of the independent institute or service centre investigates the suspected fraud and decides on the use of appropriate investigation measures. The student must be informed in writing about which offence they are suspected of and reserved the right for a hearing on the matter. The primary means of hearing the student is by a written reply. If necessary, an oral hearing is held. The request for a reply or invitation to a hearing is sent to the student accompanied with an acknowledgement of receipt or by some other verifiable means. Other involved parties may also be heard on the suspected misconduct. If an oral hearing is held, it must be documented by means of a signed minutes of the meeting. The student may invite a support person to the hearing.
After the hearing, the Dean or the Director of the independent institute or service centre decides whether misconduct has taken place (if not, the case is dropped) and whether it is minor or severe and on possible follow-up measures. A violation may be considered minor when, for example, it is non-recurring and due to negligence or ignorance and has caused only minor damage. The Dean issues a written complaint for minor violations. If necessary, the Dean may also recommend that the teacher assign a failing or lowered grade for the study attainment in question. The person in charge of the course assigns the failing or lowered grade for the study attainment. The disciplinary action issued by the Dean or the Director of the independent institute or service centre is communicated to the student, teacher and head of department of the degree programme for information purposes and possible follow-up measures.
The teacher’s decision to assign a failing or lowered grade constitutes a decision related to the grading of a course which the student may appeal to the university’s Board of Appeal.
If, after hearing the student, the Dean or the Director of the independent institute or service centre finds the student guilty of severe misconduct, they must inform the Rector in writing and submit all documentation on the case to the Rector. When assessing the severity of the misconduct, factors to be taken into consideration are the repeated nature and extent of the fraud.
The Rector may issue a written warning to the student, propose to the Board that the student be suspended temporarily or decide that no misconduct has taken place.
The decision by the Rector or Board is communicated to the student, teacher and Dean or Director of the independent institute or service centre and Student and Learning Services for information purposes and possible follow-up measures.
Decisions on severe violations may be appealed to the Administrative Court of Eastern Finland. The decision must include appeal instructions. A decision of the Administrative Court that concerns a disciplinary action against a student referred to in Section 45 of the Universities Act may not be appealed.
Cases of suspected fraud that concern a thesis included in advanced studies and are detected before evaluation are processed in accordance with this university policy. If a suspected violation of good scientific practice is detected in a thesis included in an upper university degree after the thesis has been accepted, the case is processed in accordance with the guidelines of the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity. Notice of suspicion of violation of good scientific practice to the university’s Rector.
University of Eastern Finland procedure in cases of suspected fraud, diagram (Appendix)
According to Section 45 of the Universities Act, a student may be issued a written warning if the student:
- disrupts teaching
- behaves in a threatening or violent manner
- acts fraudulently or otherwise violates the university’s regulations
- refuses to submit a drug test certificate, as referred to in Section 43 d, or
- has used narcotics, based on the statement referred to in Section 43 d, for purposes other than medical treatment in a way which undermines his or her functional capacity.
If the act or omission is severe or if the student continues the disruptive behaviour referred to in subsection 1 above despite a written warning, the student may be suspended from the university temporarily for a period of up to one year.
According to Section 45 a 2 of the Universities Act, the decision to issue a written warning or temporary suspension of the student is made by the university’s Rector and Board, respectively. Before deciding on the case, the act or omission warranting the disciplinary action must be specified, the necessary evidence must be obtained, and the student must be reserved the right for a hearing on the matter.
Section 45 of the Study Regulations of the University of Eastern Finland states the following on the procedure in cases of academic fraud and disruptive behaviour.
“A study attainment may be rejected if a student is guilty of study-related or research-related misconduct, while completing the study attainment in question. The exam’s supervisor shall have the right immediately to remove from the exam any student who is suspected of cheating or otherwise disturbs the exam. The study attainment shall also be failed in cases where cheating is only discovered after the exam.
If cheating is suspected when an electronic exam system (e.g. EXAM) is used, the suspected cheating shall be evaluated by reviewing the video recording of the exam. If the exam supervisor has interrupted a student’s exam due to disturbance or suspected cheating, the supervisor shall enter the reason for the interruption into the student’s exam papers, and also whether the student admits or denies making the disturbance or cheating.
In a case where a student is suspected of cheating or disturbing an exam, they must be offered the opportunity to be heard. If proven, the student’s misconduct shall be reported in writing to the Dean or the Director of the academic unit concerned, who shall decide whether any further measures need to be taken. The Dean or the Director of the academic unit may, at their discretion, report the cheating to the Rector, who may take the disciplinary measure(s) referred to in Section 45 of the Universities Act.”
According to the Academic Rector's decision (22 December 2015) confirming the process description for the electronic plagiarism detector:
“Based on his or her expertise, the supervisor decides whether citations and quotations are in line with good scientific practices and thus acceptable. The decision must be made within two (2) weeks of returning the thesis (electronic form). If they are in order, the student is informed that the originality of the thesis has been confirmed and the process ends. After this, the student is free to submit the thesis to examiners. If the citations and quotations are not in order, the supervisor rules on the severity of the detected plagiarisms.
- Minor: The supervisor gives feedback to the student for correcting or finalising the thesis. The student corrects the thesis in accordance with the feedback. The student resubmits the corrected thesis for a Turnitin report. A corrected thesis may be resubmitted once for pre-examination and plagiarism detection.
- Severe: The supervisor initiates a process to investigate the suspected study-related or research-related misconduct.