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1. Introduction

Dear colleagues,

pedagogical efforts bring both successes and failures, same as most human endeavours. We wish to experience predominantly those moments when our students’ activities bring us joy and incentives for our own development. What we wish to avoid, on the other hand, are situations when we as teachers encounter students’ attempts to cheat. This is a phenomenon which affects perhaps all educational systems and levels. In higher education practice, apart from copying during examinations, we also encounter unethical practices in the area of academic writing, the most noticeable of which is plagiarism. If we as supervisors fail to detect plagiarism and the student obtains an academic award, a large portion of the shame is attributable to ourselves. A later exposure of the plagiarism threatens the good name of the university and the specific department; and, the expertise of the particular supervisor is also questioned.

Therefore, we created this handbook, which should provide clear yet sufficiently comprehensive guidelines for situations that may arise in connection with plagiarism in the day-to-day academic routine. The handbook offers the opportunity to consider not only the aspects of originality in student work and how to explain the importance of source referencing to students and forms of plagiarism, but also how to recognise plagiarism and what software tools can be used for this purpose. Further, the handbook describes applying penalties for plagiarism. Finally, we attempt to summarise the fundamental antiplagiarism advice from a teacher’s perspective into several practical pieces of advice.

We do not assume that experienced supervisors of final theses are unfamiliar with any of the handbook’s contents. The purpose of this handbook is to provide a compact and concise overview of how to present the issue of plagiarism to students in an easily comprehensible way. The handbook will also help you prepare for their questions concerning the issue of plagiarism and academic writing. A different, abridged, but more accessible version is available for students themselves.

We would like to express our thanks to the dozens of our colleagues who read this text and shared their remarks with us. Their feedback led to improved understandability in many parts of the text. Since we want this handbook to be concise, we will not incorporate all the remarks directly, but we will publish additional materials on http://plagiatorstvi.vse.cz/. On this website, it will be possible to continue adding comments and suggestions, which will emerge from applying this handbook in everyday practice.

We hope that this handbook will find its place in your library or on your computer, and we wish you as few students as possible who would want to cheat you – and ultimately themselves.

Authors