Academic integrity for PGRs

Academic Integrity reflects a commitment to good study practices and shared values. It ensures your work is a true expression of your personal understanding and original ideas, while giving credit to others for their contributions. 

As part of your induction you will be required to complete an online Academic Integrity tutorial and test. The online, interactive tutorial and test is designed to give you an overview of academic integrity, and what good academic practice means during your research degree at Leeds, at the end there will be a test to check your understanding. You can find out more on the Research practice training and tests page.

At the University of Leeds, you are part of an academic community that shares ideas and develops new ones. As part of this, you need to position your research in the context of research by others. Academic integrity is about making sure you do this correctly and acknowledge the work of others, thereby avoiding plagiarism. 

The University library website offers a wealth of information about academic integrity and how to avoid plagiarism, which is relevant to your practice as a postgraduate researcher. 

What is plagiarism? 

The University defines plagiarism as “Presenting someone else’s work, in whole or in part, as your own. Work means any intellectual output, and typically includes text, data, images, sound or performance".

Importantly, plagiarism covers all work that you will produce. In extreme cases, this may take the form of submitting a thesis, a transfer report or other written or practical work, significant parts of which are simply copied from the work of another. It remains a serious matter even where it relates to minor elements and has been caused by poor standards of scholarship rather than intentional cheating. 

The University takes cases of plagiarism very seriously. Cases of plagiarism can ultimately lead to you being withdrawn from your research degree study. Where there is suspicion of plagiarism, the process steps are detailed in the University's policy Investigating Plagiarism in Research Work

In cases of suspected plagiarism, you may seek independent advice and support from the Leeds University Union Student Advice Centre.

Intellectual Property 

As a postgraduate researcher, you will have the potential to make discoveries that could have real benefits to business and society. This value, and your relationship to it, are covered by the University’s Intellectual Property (IP) policy. IP may be regarded as 'knowledge and its creative application’. 

The policy sets out the University’s position regarding the ownership of intellectual property (IP) developed by staff, students [including postgraduate researchers] and certain others, together with the procedures in place for commercialisation of University-owned IP. It covers all University related activities, including research and innovation and student education. 

These points illustrate what IP can mean and how it can relate to your work as a postgraduate researcher:

  • where the IP you generate is as part of an activity where a third party requires ownership, such as if you produce work as part of a placement or where research is sponsored and the sponsor requires ownership  
  • you generate IP that builds upon existing IP generated by University staff 
  • you generate IP jointly with University staff 
  • you are recruited on a specific understanding that, due to the sensitivity of the environment, your IP position is different. 

Each of these instances is covered in Section 7 of the University’s IP Policy. 


What copyright means and how it applies to your work as a postgraduate researcher can be confusing. 

You might hear terms like ‘fair use’ in reference to not seeking permission from copyright holders and have seen large portions of other people’s work presented in lectures. You also might wonder why copyright is even an issue when you are using material for educational purposes. 

Fair use is acceptable in certain cases, such as using material for private research or study. However, your thesis has the potential for far-reaching impact, so copyright is an important consideration. With that in mind, copyright should not be seen as a barrier to including material. 

When you submit your work, you also publish an eThesis (electronic thesis) online in the White Rose eThesis repository. As this is a form of electronic publication, you can only include material in your eThesis that you have copyright approval for or that you have permission from the copyright holder to use. Guidance on eThesis submission, inlcuding copyright and permissions considerations, is available from the eThesis page as well as the Submitting your Final eThesis page.