Finns target master plagiarists

February 1, 2002

Guidelines aimed at cutting plagiarism will be drafted in Finland during the coming spring to cover dissertations at universities and diploma work at technical universities.

The move was triggered by the case of a student who downloaded someone else's work from the internet to submit for a dissertation.

Raija Sollamo, deputy vice-chancellor of Helsinki University, will be chair of the group of university chancellors preparing the guidelines. He said:

"We don't think this is a particularly widespread problem yet - but that is precisely the reason we want to nip it in the bud."

The group will draw up basic guidelines as to what a dissertation should include and how it is to be presented.

The system of supervision will be reviewed so that the responsibility for producing original work will be shared more equally between the student and the supervisor. The chancellors will also examine the grades system.

About 12,000 dissertations at masters level are produced every year in Finland. The amount of funding universities receive from the government depends, among other things, on the number of dissertations and theses that an establishment has conferred.

Recommendations for guidelines will be presented in March.

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