Ethics & Intellectual Property
All members of the University community share the responsibility for the academic standards and reputation of the University. Academic honesty is a cornerstone of the development and acquisition of knowledge. Academic honesty is a condition of continued membership in the university community.
Academic dishonesty, like other forms of dishonesty, is misrepresentation with intent to deceive or without regard to the source or the accuracy of statements or findings. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University; it is, furthermore, unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.
Simon Fraser University is committed to creating a scholarly community characterized by civility, diversity, free inquiry, mutual respect and individual safety. The code of student conduct is intended to define students' basic responsibilities as members of the academic community, to define inappropriate student conduct and to provide procedures and penalties to be invoked and applied if they engage in such unacceptable behaviour. Each student is responsible for his/her conduct which affects the University community.
The University code of academic honesty and good conduct is contained in Policy S10.01.
Code of Academic Integrity and Good Conduct
1.0 Preamble: Statement of Principles
1.1 Simon Fraser University is committed to creating a scholarly community characterized by honesty, civility, diversity, free inquiry, mutual respect, individual safety and freedom from harassment and discrimination.
1.2 Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community. This Code shall not be construed so as to unreasonably limit peaceful assemblies, demonstrations or the free expression of ideas.
1.3 All members of the University community share the responsibility for the academic standards and reputation of the University. Academic integrity is a cornerstone of the development and acquisition of knowledge. It is founded on principles of respect for knowledge, truth, scholarship and acting with honesty. Upholding academic integrity is a condition of continued membership in the university community.
1.4 Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.
“Academic Integrity” refers to the values on which good academic work must be founded: honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility. Academic integrity includes a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation or deception. Such acts of dishonesty violate the fundamental ethical principles of the University community and compromise the worth of work completed by others. The terms “academic integrity” and “academic honesty” are used interchangeably in this policy.
“Firearm” refers to any device consisting essentially of a straight tube to propel shot, shell, or bullets by the explosion of gunpowder. For the purposes of this policy, “firearm” includes an imitation firearm, or a part of a firearm.
“Member of the University community” means any employee of, student at, or volunteer working for Simon Fraser University and includes any faculty member, temporary or sessional instructor, or volunteer member of a University body.
“Offensive weapon” means any article made or adapted for use to cause injury to a person or property, or is intended by the person having it with him/her to be used for to cause injury to a person or property.
“Scholarly activities” include credit and non-credit courses, projects, essays, theses and research.
“University related activities” include any activity operated under University auspices at any location, including on-line activities (e.g., dialogue on social networking websites) that involve or refer to the University, to University activities, or to members of the University community.
4.1 Academic Integrity Requirements for Students
4.1.1 Notification of Standards of Academic Honesty
a. Students have a responsibility to ensure they are familiar with the generally accepted standards and requirements of academic honesty. Summaries of these must be published in the University Calendar. Ignorance of these standards will not preclude the imposition of penalties for academic dishonesty.
b. Faculty members have a responsibility to inform their students at the beginning of each semester of the criteria for academic honesty that pertain to a class or course, including the format for acknowledging the thoughts and writings of authors that is acceptable to the underlying discipline. Faculty should also impart other relevant information, such as the acceptable level of group work in the class or course.
c. A draft paper, proposal, thesis or other assignment may be subject to a penalty for academic dishonesty, providing the instructor or supervisor informed the student(s) before the work was submitted, that drafts are subject to academic honesty requirements.
4.1.2 Forms of Academic Dishonesty
The following acts or omissions constitute academic dishonesty and are prohibited.
a. Plagiarism, including:
i. submitting or presenting the work of another person, including artistic imagery, as that of the student without full and appropriate accreditation;
ii. copying all or part of an essay or other assignment from an author or other person, including a tutor or student mentor, and presenting the material as the student’s original work;
iii. failing to acknowledge the phrases, sentences or ideas of the author of published and unpublished material that is incorporated into an essay or other assignment.
b. Submitting the same, or substantially the same, essay, project, presentation or other assignment more than once, whether or not the earlier submission was at Simon Fraser University or another institution, unless prior approval has been obtained from the instructor to whom the work is being submitted.
c. Cheating in an examination, including
i. the unauthorized sharing of material such as textbooks during an “open book” examination;
ii. concealing information pertaining to the examination in the examination room, or in washrooms or other places in the vicinity of the examination room;
iii. using course notes or any other aids not approved by an Instructor during an examination; or,
iv. the unauthorized possession or use of an examination question sheet, an examination answer book, or a completed examination or assignment.
d. Submitting as one's original work an essay, project, thesis, presentation or other assignment, or part thereof, that was purchased or otherwise acquired from another source, unless the work is commercially available data, images, or other intellectual property the source and acquisition of which is properly and fully described and cited by the student and approved by the course Instructor or supervisor.
e. Cheating in assignments, projects, examinations or other forms of evaluation by:
i. using, or attempting to use, another student’s answers;
ii. providing answers to other students;
iii. failing to take reasonable measures to protect answers from use by other students; or
iv. in the case of students who study together, submitting identical or virtually identical assignments for evaluation unless permitted by the course Instructor or supervisor.
f. Impersonating a candidate or being impersonated in an examination.
g. Falsifying material that is subject to academic evaluation.
h. Submitting false records or information, in writing or orally, including the falsification of laboratory results or research findings.
i. Engaging in misrepresentation, including falsifying documents, to gain a benefit or advantage in a course including the submission of a forged or altered medical certificate or death certificate.
j. Engaging in any action intended to disadvantage students in a course including destroying, stealing, or concealing library resources.
k. Stealing, destroying or altering the work of another student.
l. Unauthorized or inappropriate use of computers, calculators and other forms of technology in course work, assignments or examinations.
m. Misconduct in research as defined in Policy R 60.01.
4.2 Good Conduct Requirements for Students
The behaviours enumerated below are prohibited.
4.2.1 Disruptive or Dangerous Behaviour
a. By word or action
i. disrupting University activities without just cause;
ii. creating a situation that endangers or threatens the health, safety or well-being of any individual;
iii. harming, injuring or threatening any person.
b. Engaging in
i. initiation ceremonies or other rituals that are dehumanizing or degrading, including the initiation ceremonies associated with sports teams and clubs, or
ii. individual or collective acts of intimidation or retaliation against another person(s).
c. Making or conspiring to make
i. vexatious, frivolous or malicious complaints against a member of the University community;
ii. frivolous or unnecessary requests or demands of a member of the University community after being asked to cease and desist;
4.2.2 Damage, Destruction and Theft
a. Possessing or using University property, the property of any member of the University community, or property belonging to a third party acquired in connection with a University activity, without appropriate consent or authority;
b. Misappropriating, destroying or damaging University property or resources, or the property of others on any of the University campuses;
c. Defacing any University building or property;
d. Removing books or other library or archival material without authorization; or,
e. Defacing, mutilating or deliberately misplacing library or archival materials, or engaging in other actions which deprive other members of the University community of their opportunity to have access to the academic resources of the library or the University Archives.
4.2.3 Fraud, Misuse, and Impersonation
a. forging, misusing or altering any University document or record in paper or electronic form;
b. obtaining any textbooks, study aids, equipment, materials or service by fraudulent means;
c. submitting a manufactured, forged, altered, or converted document, including a forged or altered medical certificate or death certificate, to a University official, with intent to deceive;
d. Impersonating an instructor, student or other member of the University community.
4.2.4 Unauthorized Entry or Presence
Entering or remaining in any University building or facility or entering, remaining in, or allowing others to have access to areas designated for faculty or staff without proper authorization, contrary to express instructions from a person in authority such as an instructor, an administrator, or a security officer.
4.2.5 Violation of University Policies
Contravening University policies, including the Fair Use of Information and Communications Technology Policy (GP 24), the Human Rights Policy (GP 18) and the Confidentiality Policy (I 10.10).
4.2.6 Misuse of Disciplinary Procedures
Falsifying or misrepresenting information or causing others to falsify or misrepresent information which either leads to or is presented at an internal disciplinary hearing.
4.2.7 Firearms, Explosives and Offensive Weapons
Keeping or carrying a firearm, including a registered firearm, the ammunition for a firearm or other weapon, an explosive device or substance or any other offensive weapon without the knowledge and written permission of the Director of Campus Security.
4.3 Illegal Conduct
A criminal conviction or civil court judgement for behaviour that is University related constitutes misconduct under this Policy.
5.1 This policy covers the conduct of undergraduate and graduate SFU students involved in any kind of University-related activities, scholarly and otherwise.
5.2 This policy covers matters of academic dishonesty in University-related scholarly activities involving SFU alumni when the matters occurred prior to graduation and were unknown at the time of graduation.
5.3 The forms of general misconduct and academic dishonesty set out in this Code include attempts to engage in misconduct or dishonesty, as well as aiding and abetting misconduct or dishonesty.
6.0 Roles and Responsibilities
The roles and responsibilities for administering this policy are set out in S10.02 Principles and Procedures for Student Discipline.
7.1 This policy is administered under the joint authority of the Vice President, Academic and General Counsel.
Procedures for General Misconduct
1. A support person may accompany a student to any meeting concerning disciplinary matters for general misconduct.
2. If the Chair of a Department or another University official, including the Director of Campus Security, believes that a student has engaged in general misconduct other than academic dishonesty, the Chair or University official may prepare a written report of the incident and forward the report to the Associate Vice-President Students or designateSimon.
3. When the report is prepared by a University official other than the Director of Campus Security, a copy must be sent to the Director of Campus Security.
4. If the misconduct involves a form of harassment, the written report of the investigation conducted under the auspices of GP 18 (Human Rights Policy) will be sent to the Associate Vice-President Students or designate, who is the responsible officer for students.
5. Upon receipt of the report, the Associate Vice-President, Students may impose interim measures while the incident is being resolved, investigated or decided. Such measures will be precautionary, not disciplinary, and may include, but are not limited to: the exclusion of individuals from all or any part of the University campuses, limiting proximity to specific individuals, limiting participation in campus activities, or limiting the use of the University’s IT and communication network. The Associate Vice-President, Students will reassess the interim measures weekly.
6. The Associate Vice-President Students or designate must give the student the opportunity to meet and discuss the situation, and may take one or more of the following courses of action:
i. seek an informal resolution;
ii. recommend the student receive counselling or other professional assistance and, if necessary, assist the student in obtaining counselling or other professional services;
iii. issue a formal written reprimand to the student;
iv. assess and recover costs to rectify the damage or loss caused by the student;
v. require the student to write a letter of apology to any person adversely affected by the student’s behaviour;
vi. require the student to perform up to 50 hours of community service;
vii. terminate the student’s scholarships or other financial support;
viii. refer the matter to the University Board of Student Discipline (UBSD).
7. The Associate Vice-President Students or designate must notify the student in writing of the action that will be taken.
8. If the Associate Vice-President Students or designate, takes action under 5(ii) through 5(vii) above, the student must be notified in writing that a copy of the documentation associated with the incident and a record of any actions taken will be retained by the University and that, in the event of any further reports of misconduct, the record may be used in determining the action to be taken for the subsequent misconduct.
9. In the case of 5(ii) through 5(vii) above, the student may dispute the facts of the incident by referring his or her case to the UBSD. In such cases, the student must state in writing and within three (3) weeks of the date of notification by the Associate Vice-President Students or designate, his or her reasons for disputing the facts.
Procedures for Falsified Documents or Other Forms of Misrepresentation
1. A support person may accompany a student at any meeting concerning disciplinary matters under this section.
2. If the Registrar has reasonable grounds to believe that a document has been falsified or a misrepresentation made that may create an incorrect perception of a student's academic position or credentials, the Registrar must give the student an opportunity to meet and discuss the situation, and may take one or more of the following courses of action:
i. issue a formal, written reprimand to the student and place a copy of the reprimand on the student’s University file;
ii. deny the student admission to the University if the student has not yet been admitted;
iii. require that the student write a letter of apology to any person adversely affected by the falsification or misrepresentation;
iv. change any grade that the student may have received as a result of the falsification or misrepresentation;
v. recommend that the student receive counselling or other professional assistance; or,
vi. if the Registrar believes that a more severe penalty should be imposed, forward a report of the incident to the UBSD with a copy to the student.
3. If the Registrar takes action under 2(i) through 2(v) above, the student must be notified in writing that a copy of the documentation associated with the incident and a record of the action taken will be retained by the University and that, in the event of any further reports of misconduct, the record may be used in determining the action to be taken for the subsequent misconduct.
4. If an Instructor has reasonable grounds to believe that a student in his or her course has submitted a document that has been falsified, or has made a misrepresentation to gain a benefit or an advantage in a course, including the submission of a forged or altered medical certificate or death certificate, the Instructor must confer with the Chair of the Instructor’s Department and the Registrar to decide whether the misconduct should be dealt with as a case of general misconduct, or as a case of academic dishonesty, or as both.
5. If the Instructor, the Chair and the Registrar decide that the falsification or misrepresentation should be dealt with as general misconduct, the Registrar must proceed under Appendix 1 of this policy.
6. If the Instructor, the Chair and the Registrar decide that the falsification or misrepresentation should be dealt with as academic dishonesty, the Instructor must proceed under Appendix 3 of this policy.
7. If the Instructor, the Chair and the Registrar decide that the falsification or misrepresentation should be dealt with as both general misconduct and academic dishonesty, the matter must be dealt with by the Registrar under Appendix 1 of this policy. The Registrar may then impose any academic penalty recommended by the Instructor or the Chair and section 2 of this Appendix in addition to any of the penalties for general misconduct listed in section 5 of Appendix 1.
8. A student who disputes the facts of the case may refer his or her case to the UBSD for a hearing to determine the facts. The student must submit his or her request in writing within three weeks of the date of notification by the Registrar.
Procedures for Academic Dishonesty
1. Every academic unit should have at least one academic integrity advisor who can assist faculty with the handling of academic dishonesty cases.
2. A unit’s academic integrity advisor and/or the Chair of a Department may consult with another departmental academic integrity advisor, the Chair of another department, and/or the Academic Integrity Coordinator in the Office of the Registrar about cases of academic dishonesty involving a particular student, to determine whether the student has committed other acts of academic dishonesty, and related matters.
3. If an Instructor believes that a student in his or her course has engaged in academic dishonesty, the Instructor must outline the nature of the concern to the student in a timely manner and the student must be given the opportunity to discuss the matter with the Instructor.
4. If an Instructor is not available to handle the case, the Chair of the Department or his or her delegate, will take over the role of the Instructor.
5. If the Chair of the Department is the course Instructor, an Associate Chair or other appropriate administrator within the department must take over the role of the Chair.
6. A support person may accompany a student at any meeting concerning disciplinary matters under this section.
7. If an Instructor finds that a student has engaged in academic dishonesty, the Instructor may, after consulting with the departmental Academic Integrity Advisor or Chair, impose one or more of the following penalties:
i. give the student a warning;
ii. require the student to redo the work, or to do supplementary work;
iii. assign a low grade for the work;
iv. assign a grade of “F” for the work.
8. The student, the Chair of the Department and the Registrar must be informed in writing of the nature of the dishonesty and the decision in a timely manner. The student must be advised by the Instructor that the report will be retained by the University and that, in the event of any further reports of academic dishonesty, the report may be used to determine a penalty for the subsequent academic dishonesty. See Appendix 4 for a sample of the report form, copies of which are available from the Office of the Registrar, departmental academic integrity advisors or departmental offices.
9. If the Chair of the Department receives information that a student has been involved in more than one case of academic dishonesty, or believes that the academic dishonesty deserves a penalty more severe than that imposed by the Instructor, or the Instructor believes that a penalty is warranted beyond that provided for in section 7 above, the Chair may impose a different penalty.
10. Before imposing a penalty, the Chair must give the student an opportunity to discuss the matter and, after reviewing the facts of the case and any previous case or cases, may impose one or more of the following penalties:
i. issue a formal reprimand to the student;
ii. assign a grade less severe than “FD” (failed – academic dishonesty) for the course, including a grade of “F”;
iii. assign a grade of “FD” (failed – academic dishonesty) for the course.
11. The Chair must inform the student in writing of his or her decision, with a copy to the Instructor and the Registrar. The student should be advised that the report will be retained by the University and, in the event of any further reports of academic dishonesty, the report may be used to determine a penalty for the subsequent case of academic dishonesty. See Appendix 4 for a sample of the report form, copies of which are available from the Office of the Registrar, departmental academic integrity advisors or departmental offices.
12. The Chair may delegate any of the Chair’s responsibilities under this section to an Associate Chair or other appropriate administrator within the department, excluding the imposition of penalties.
13. If the Chair believes that the academic dishonesty deserves a penalty beyond that provided for in section 10 above, the Chair may impose one of the penalties listed in section 10 and also refer the case to the University Board on Student Discipline (UBSD) with a recommendation that a more severe penalty be imposed.
14. The Chair who refers a case to the UBSD may recommend that a specific penalty or penalties be imposed by the UBSD.
15. If the Registrar receives a report of academic dishonesty that has resulted in the imposition of a penalty and subsequently determines there are reports of other incidents from the same academic unit involving the same student, including previous reports of academic dishonesty, the Registrar must notify the Chair of the academic unit involved and refer the matter back to the Chair for action under sections 7, 10 and/or 13 above.
16. If the Registrar receives a report of academic dishonesty that has resulted in the imposition of a penalty and subsequently determines that there are reports of other incidents of academic dishonesty from other academic units involving the same student, including previous reports of academic dishonesty, the Registrar must notify the Chairs of the academic units involved. The Registrar must then consult with the Chairs or Instructors who submitted the reports to ascertain their views on an appropriate academic penalty in light of the multiple reports of academic dishonesty.
17. Following the consultation mentioned in section 16, the Registrar must give the student an opportunity to discuss the matter and, after reviewing the facts of the case or cases and any previous case or cases, may impose one or more of the penalties listed in sections 7 or 10, or impose a penalty and refer the case to the UBSD in accordance with sections 13 and 14.
18. If the Registrar imposes a penalty under section 17, the Registrar must notify the student in writing of his or her decision, with copies to the Chairs of the affected academic units. The student should be advised that the report will be retained by the University and, in the event of any further reports of academic dishonesty, the report may be used to determine a penalty for the subsequent case of academic dishonesty.
19. If a student wishes to dispute the finding of fact of the Instructor, the Chair of the Department or the Registrar, the student may refer his or her case to the UBSD, in writing, stating the reasons for the referral, within three weeks of the date of notification by the Instructor, the Chair, or the Registrar.
Official Transcript Withheld
20. If a case is referred to the UBSD by the Chair of a Department or, in the case of student misconduct other than academic dishonesty, by a University official, the student's official transcript will not normally be made available to the student until the case is concluded.
21. In a case not referred to the UBSD, if the student wishes to dispute the severity of the penalty, the student may forward his or her case to the Senate Committee on Disciplinary Appeals (SCODA), in writing, stating reasons, within three weeks of the date of notification of the penalty.
22. If a student receives a grade of FD, the Registrar will automatically change the grade to F once two years have elapsed since the student’s graduation if the student did not commit further acts of academic dishonesty following the imposition of the FD grade.
Maintenance of a Registry
23. The Registrar shall create and maintain a Registry containing information about students who commit acts of academic dishonesty, incidents of academic dishonesty, the penalties imposed for acts of academic dishonesty, and any other relevant information.
In most graduate programs, the student completes original scholarly research as part of the graduate program. The generation of new knowledge through scholarly research is one of a university's main functions in society. In most cases, the research is reported in a thesis which is presented and defended at the end of the program.
In some Master's programs, the research component is more limited in scope and the work constitutes a project or two extended essays, which are presented and examined, either through a formal defence or a review of the written work, at the end of the program. In some other Master's programs, a research component is contained in the course work and there is a final Field Examination based on the areas covered by the coursework.
Students have an obligation to make the results of their research accessible (above and beyond distribution of the thesis) to an appropriate audience through publication. The form of publication will vary according to the discipline and level of the program but may include books, journal articles and conference presentations.
In exceptional circumstances, the results of the research may be withheld temporarily because of pending patents or licences or because of financially sensitive information. In no case may the results be withheld indefinitely. Please see Graduate General Regulation 1.11.3 and University Policy R10.01: External Research Grants and Contracts, clauses 4.6-4.8.
Financial support for a student's research is usually provided by the student and/or by the Senior Supervisor, through research grants and contracts.
The major granting councils — the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) — encourage such use of grants received by faculty members under their research grants programs; both the costs of the research itself (e.g. equipment, supplies, travel) and research assistantships for the student may be supported. Faculty members are encouraged to apply to external funding agencies for grants to support their research and the research of students working under their supervision.
Some departments have modest programs of awards to support travel by graduate students to perform research and/or to attend conferences to report on their research.
Ownership of Intellectual Property
The result of research is the generation of new knowledge. The "ownership" of that new knowledge, especially when it is knowledge with commercial implications and/or results in scholarly publications, is a sensitive issue. The question of ownership in the context of the student-supervisor relationship is often complicated by the close collaboration between supervisor(s) and student during the course of the research. It is further complicated by the fact that the University and possibly an outside agency provide resources (e.g. space, library, equipment, supplies) in support of the research.
At Simon Fraser University, unlike many other universities, the person (student, staff or faculty member) who generates patentable new knowledge is the owner of that knowledge; the University makes no claim on it, unless the University is asked to help with the patenting of the idea [see Policy R30.02]. The main federal and provincial agencies which support university research through research grants (NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR and SCBC) also make no claims on the results. On the other hand, copyrightable new knowledge (e.g. books and software) is usually owned jointly by the author and the University; consult Policy R30.01.
Research contracts with government agencies or private companies often stipulate that the rights to commercial exploitation of a discovery belong in full or in part to the sponsoring agency. Because it is University policy that the rights to a patentable discovery belong to the discoverer(s), the University will approve contracts containing such stipulations, as long as they do not restrict the ultimate publication of the results (see Graduate General Regulation 1.11.3).
Please see R30.03: Intellectual Property Policy for full details.
Graduate Students and Intellectual Property
The question which is most likely to cause difficulty is the calculation of the degrees of "ownership" held by the student and by the supervisor(s) who are involved in the research. There are no University regulations governing this area and research contracts normally do not differentiate among the University researchers as to which of them retain the rights not claimed by the sponsoring agency.
It is therefore very important that students and their supervisors reach agreement, in advance, on the principles under which the "ownership" of patent and license rights and the authorship of resultant publications will be decided. Because of the uncertainties intrinsic to research, it is often not possible to agree in advance on the rights to specific discoveries.
There is very wide variation among the disciplines in the style and nature of supervision and in the degree of involvement of the supervisor(s) in the research. Therefore, it is not possible to provide further guidance that would be generally useful; some departments have their own policies in this area and students should consult the graduate program chair.