Press release: European Network for Academic Integrity (ENAI)

Press release: European Network for Academic Integrity (ENAI)

European Universities Benefiting From Quarter of A Million Euro Investment To Stop Students From Cheating

Twelve higher education institutions from eleven European countries were successful in the Erasmus+ Strategic Partnerships bid with a project focused on sharing experience and development of educational materials related to academic integrity.

European universities struggle with plagiarism and other problems in European Academia, such as ghostwriting, exam cheating or corruption. Research studies show that both severity of the problems and the ways they are addressed vary country from country. Universities cannot rely on technical tools only. Detection of academic misconduct is a complex issue, and universities can learn from each other`s experience.

Within a three-year project, annual conferences will be held in Czechia, Turkey and Lithuania to provide a platform for sharing best practices, workshops and presentation of research conducted in this area. Training events with workshops will take place in Slovenia and Latvia.

Moreover, intellectual outputs will be produced: Educational materials about academic integrity for higher education teachers and students, a tool kit for cross-sector cooperation in terms of academic integrity, and a handbook for improvements in academic integrity (including glossary, general guidelines and self-evaluation tests for students, teachers and institutions). The overall budget of the project is approx. 280 000 EUR.

Tomas Foltynek, the coordinator of the project from Mendel University in Brno, Czechia, says: "Educational materials developed within this project will be particularly useful in relation to prevention of breaches. Our courses will, for example, teach students how to cite and reference correctly to prevent unintentional plagiarism. Other courses will help teachers to design their classes in a way that discourages students from academic misconduct. General guidelines will help institutions to establish their processes to ensure integrity in academic activities."

The vision of the project team goes much further. Within the project, the European Network for Academic Integrity will be established as a European platform for promoting academic integrity issues, sharing experiences, ideas and materials to help higher education institutions prevent academic misconduct and promote academic and research integrity. The idea of creating a European platform is prompted by a need to develop institutional skills to manage academic ethics and promote academic integrity through networking and exchange of good practices.

The project will also use inspiration from experience outside Europe. Associate Professor Tracey Bretag, the Director: Academic Integrity at the University of South Australia, is an external advisor to the project. She says: "I believe that the project results will have implications well beyond Europe. I especially like the cross-sector cooperation which connects universities with high shools and with the business sector on integrity issues. This innovative approach has a great deal of potential to influence both academia and the business sector."

Project consortium consists of twelve institutions: Mendel University in Brno (Czechia) as a coordinator, University of Konstanz (Germany), Mykolas Romeris University (Lithuania), Coventry University (UK), Nottingham Trent University (UK), Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University (Turkey), Riga Technical University (Latvia), University of Insubria (Italy), University of Maribor (Slovenia), University of Nicosia (Cyprus), University of Porto (Portugal) and Slovak Centre of Scientific and Technical Information (Slovakia).

Tomas Foltynek from the Faculty of Business and Economics, Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic have been dealing with plagiarism since 2008. He was involved in EU-funded project "Impact of policies for plagiarism in higher education across Europe" and has organized conferences and workshops about plagiarism since 2013. Tomas Foltynek is a member of the Ethical committee of the Higher education council in the Czech Republic and member of Steering group of Pan-European Platform for Ethics, Transparency and Integrity in Education established by the Council of Europe.