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Universitätsbibliothek Mainz

Misconduct and Fraud

Academic integrity often becomes an issue when it comes to breaches of good academic practice - be it plagiarism in an essay, forms of data manipulation or the impediment of others’ research activities. Here you can find further information on forms of misconduct and on how to deal with fraud.

What is academic misconduct?

Academic misconduct refers to all violations of academic standards which can give the impression that study, examination, or research work has been carried out that has in fact not been done. This includes, in particular, misrepresentation of data, findings, and results, breaches of the intellectual property of others, or the impediment of others’ research activities. We are referring to academic misconduct in case of professional researchers, whereas violations in the course of studies are governed by examination regulations and fall under the term “Fraud”.

An overview of which actions and activities are classified as scientific misconduct can be found in the Regulations for Safeguarding Good Scientific Practice at JGU (PDF). Information on fraud can be found in the Examination Regulations FAQ and in the Guide to Dealing with Fraud (for JGU employees only).

How often does this happen?

Wörterbucheintrag zum Begriff Plagiat
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Research into academic misconduct is still in its infancy in some respects - reliable figures are therefore few and far between. However, the results of the FAIRUSE study by Bielefeld University (2009–2012) can be used as benchmarks for student misconduct. For example, the researchers involved came to the conclusion that around 37% of the students surveyed had cheated in an exam at least once a semester and that around 18% had submitted at least one plagiarism. Academic misconduct in the strictest sense of the word appears to be less common, but the risk of loss of confidence and the damage to knowledge production are undoubtedly higher here.

A brief overview of the frequency of various forms of misconduct can be found in our Toolbox (PDF).

We have also compiled literature on academic misconduct for you.

What can I do?

JGU takes a preventative approach towards academic misconduct - the focus is on information and the transfer of skills. Where there is suspicion of academic misconduct or of an act of fraud by students, it is important to take deliberate action and to coordinate measures with the responsible authorities.

The most important information and advice on how to deal with fraud in a legally compliant way can be found in the Guide to Dealing with Fraud (for JGU employees only).

If you suspect scientific misconduct in a thesis or other research work, contact the Research Ombudsman at JGU or the national body The German Research Ombudsman. Further contact points can be found on the website for good scientific practice at JGU.

Information on the technology-based detection of plagiarism and a short tutorial on manually detecting fraudulent acquisitions can be found on HTW Berlin’s Plagiarism Portal.


We are happy to advise you on options for preventing misconduct, for detecting plagiarism, and for procedures for suspected academic misconduct.

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Esther Reineke
Esther Reineke
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Tina Rotzal
Tina Rotzal