Document Type


Publication Date



Plagiarism may distress universities in the US, but there is little agreement as to exactly what constitutes plagiarism. While there is ample research on plagiarism, there is scant literature on the content of university policies regarding it. Using a systematic sample, we qualitatively analyzed 20 Carnegie-classified universities that are “Very High in Research.” This included 15 public state universities and five high-profile private universities. We uncovered highly varied and even contradictory policies at these institutions. Notable policy variations existed for verbatim plagiarism, intentional plagiarism and unauthorized student collaboration at the studied institutions. We conclude by advising that the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AACU) and others confer and come to accord on the disposition of these issues.


Author Accepted Manuscript version of an article published in:

McGrail, E., & McGrail, J.P. (2015). Exploring web-based university policy statements on plagiarism by research-intensive higher education institutions. Journal of Academic Ethics, 13(2), 167-196. DOI 10.1007/s10805-015-9229-3.