Academic fraud

On this page you can find explanations on what is considered academic fraud and plagiarism according to the rules and legislation of the University of Tartu.

Academic fraud is

  • in an assessment of learning outcomes, the use of any materials, help, or AI-based applications that the lecturer has not explicitly permitted;
  • requesting and using unauthorised assistance, for example, prompting, copying
    others’ work, using other student
    ’s help during individual assessment;
  • sharing of knowledge, which is not permitted by teaching staff;
  • participating in the assessment of another student, unless it is allowed;
  • presenting the work of another person under your name or deliberate use of parts
    of it without proper academic referencing
    (plagiarism) or
  • submission of the one’s own work again in the same or another course, unless the
    teaching staff has allowed it.

See also videos about academic fraud created by Faculty of Social Sciences


What is plagiarism?

The most common cases of plagiarism involve the use of unreferenced sources. The original text may be presented as a student’s own work either word-for-word or changed in some way.

When producing academic work, all publications, fundamental viewpoints, ideas, quotations, formulae, numerical data and images by other authors must be referenced. There is no need, however, to reference generally accepted views.

Academic fraud also includes using a chat tool or another AI-based application without proper reference, or to an extent not agreed on with the lecturer. A chatbot is not the (co‑)author of the text but rather a tool to compose the text. For more information on citing a chatbot, see the University of Tartu guidelines for using AI chatbots for teaching and studies.

When adding references, you should keep in mind the purpose which the work fulfils, for example whether you wish to convey an idea or argue against someone’s point of view. There are essentially two options: citation (using quotation marks or italics) or referencing (expressing the ideas of the original text in your own words without quotation marks). You should avoid committing unintentional plagiarism, for example by rewording text without references or using too many quotations in your own work.

There are several different styles for adding references, and you should use the style which is most common in your field. It is important to research the relevant requirements set by your field or faculty/institute before writing any academic papers.

Members of University of Tartu can use the Ouriginal plagiarism detection system, with which it is possible to check the originality of written work, i.e. to compare it with both Estonian and English material on the internet and in various databases. The aim of Ouriginal is to prevent plagiarism and raise awareness of creative theft. The university has the right to check students’ written work using a plagiarism recognition system by uploading it to the Ouriginal database.

Ouriginal detects textual matches between the work being checked and text on the internet as well as in databases connected to the Ouriginal system. The member of the teaching staff can then check whether the student has referenced correctly, and in the event that plagiarism is detected can explain to the student what they have done wrong. Ouriginal can be used to review work submitted in any Moodle course via an assignment, forum or workshop if the staff member has been authorised to carry out such checks.

Students can use the Ouriginal plagiarism detection system via Moodle courses or by sending an email to the staff member or supervisor’s Ouriginal email address, adding the file to be checked as an attachment. It is also possible for a staff member or supervisor to log into Ouriginal and upload the student’s work to be checked.

In some academic units, a specific person has been assigned to check final theses with Ouriginal, so students who wish to check their thesis should get in touch with their programme manager or supervisor. You should allow time for any duplication detected in Ouriginal to be checked and corrected, so do not leaving checking text to the last minute.

Guide to the Ouriginal system:


What are the consequences of committing academic fraud?

  • There is a committee in each faculty or institute (see contacts below) to deal with cases of suspected academic fraud or misconduct.
  • A member of the teaching staff who discovers academic fraud shall give a warning to the student in the event of a violation or make a referral to the committee to deal with the case in the event of a more serious violation. The student has the right to submit a letter of explanation within five working days and request that the case be considered by the committee (more info about appealing a decision).
  • The committee will notify the student about the proceedings, give them an overview of the facts known to the committee and ask them for an explanation of the case.
  • The committee can propose that the student be issued with a warning, a reprimand, or be exmatriculated.

If a student commits academic fraud and receives a reprimand or exmatriculation proceedings are begun, the grade of the relevant course is marked as an F, or a “fail” in the case of a pass/fail evaluation, and in this case there is no right to re-evaluate the grade for this course. In the event of a warning, the member of the teaching staff has the right to fail the student for the course or lower the grade.

In addition to academic fraud, a student can also be exmatriculated for other cases of misconduct (e.g. forging documents, violating generally accepted standards of conduct or intentionally committing a criminal offence). A student who has been exmatriculated for misconduct can apply to be rematriculated once two years have passed since their exmatriculation.

Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Head of committee Kadri Simm
Contact: Heddy Haljak,;

Faculty of Science and Technology

Head of committee Heiki Kasemägi
Contact: Kairi Terreping,

Faculty of Medicine

Head of committee Andre Koka
Contact: Rene Kärner,

Faculty of Social Sciences
Institute of Education

Head of committee Pille Nelis

Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies

Head of committee Heiko Pääbo

Institute of Social Studies

Head of committee Avo Trumm
Contact: Mari-Liis Tikerperi,

Institite of Psychology

Head of committee Annegrete Palu
Contact: Kertu Saar,

School of Economics and Business Administration

Head of committee Kertu Lääts
Contact: Anneli Kütt,

School of Law

Head of committee René Värk

Narva College

Head of committee Aet Kiisla

Pärnu college

Head of committee Monika Kumm

Contacts as of 18.04.2022


  Academic fraud is regulated by the Study Regulations.


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