Academic Integrity Guidelines 

for Information Security Conferences,

Presentations, Publications, and Other Outputs

This document gives guidelines that can be used in Cybersecurity and Information Security conferences, whitepapers, and other published media. The aim is to give an initial set of baseline integrity requirements for the publication of information security and cybersecurity research and other outputs.

We have based these guidelines on existing guidelines - although our source material is intended for use with students in an academic setting, our guidelines aim to recast these ideas for the cybersecurity industry.

The aim is to establish guidelines and conventions for good practice in the industry with a view to defining actions that colleagues can undertake in order to mitigate plagiarism.

What is Academic Integrity?

When members of the community read the work of others, share and develop ideas, and publish new ones, we have to bear in mind the way in which we interpreted, understood, and combined existing ideas with new ones to produce an original piece of output. We do this to honour the ideals of fairness, honesty, and respect for other researchers and colleagues in the industry. This, put simply, is academic integrity.

One of the key ways in which we enact such integrity is the avoidance of plagiarism by correctly acknowledging the work and effort of our colleagues.

What is Plagiarism?

We start this discussion by defining what ‘copying’ means in an academic sense (from [2]); put simply, copying is the conscious act of presenting someone else’s published work as one’s own. Plagiarism is then the act of copying published work, in whole or in part.

Plagiarism can be defined more explicitly in the following examples (please note, this list is not exhaustive - taken from [2, §2.6]):

How should we cite and reference to avoid plagiarism?

In the definitions above it becomes clear that the following guidelines should be followed:

If these guidelines are followed then it should be generally clear to any reader when work has been used from other publications, who did the original work, and where it can be located for verification of any claims.

Why should we fight plagiarism?

There are many reasons we should identify and call out plagiarism, but we will give some important ones here, from [1]:

  1. Others in the community and industry can be confident in the critical analysis being put forward genuinely comes from those who are publishing/presenting the work.
  2. We can gain some knowledge of the independence of the work from external influences, e.g. commercial influences.
  3. That the misdeeds of others are not going to undermine your own work, effort, and insight by the misrepresentation of your work.

Educating yourself about what constitutes plagiarism is the best way to ensure you do not fall afoul and are not accused of it.

Collusion

Academic integrity can also be compromised if you do joint work with others in a collaboration, but then proceed to present it as your own - which is collusion. This is potentially misleading, and may lead to accusations of plagiarism or duplication of work. As such, where a group of people have worked on a project, this should be clearly stated in the authorship descriptions of the publication/output. More information can be found in [2]

Accidental or Minor Errors in Referencing and Citation

Sometimes people do make genuine mistakes. Some examples of these include (from [2]):

Though none of these inherently constitute plagiarism, they do run the risk of not meeting the standards of academic integrity we stated above. As such, care should be taken to avoid such pitfalls in the interests and spirit of integrity.

Plagiarism and Copyright

Sometimes, just acknowledging work is not enough. Owing to restrictions due to copyright law, you should also check whether permission is also required to utilise someone’s work within or as part of your own.

Authors have the onus and duty to make themselves aware of where and when copyright applies and permission should be sought for the work/output they are producing. Please refer to local laws in the area you wish to publish for more detail.

For UK considerations see [2] and https://www.gov.uk/topic/intellectual-property/copyright 

Recourse and Sanctions

Accusations of plagiarism are incredibly serious - they indicate that the values and ethics we defined earlier have not been adhered to, and that the integrity of an author is in question. As such, they will not be taken lightly under investigation by an assigned Committee.

Let ‘the Committee’ denote any group of people who have oversight for a conference, event, publication, journal, or other output that an author wants to have their work featured at/in. The Committee has various avenues of recourse following an accusation of plagiarism.

At the discretion of the Committee, accusations will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Following on from this, the committee has available to it a number of actions, which include (but are not limited to):

The Committee should take accusations and the ensuing investigations very seriously and proceed carefully and thoughtfully through a thorough assessment of any accusation of plagiarism.

References:

The following guidelines were used as influential examples and resources for formulating this set of guidelines:

[1] https://library.leeds.ac.uk/info/1401/academic_skills/46/academic_integrity_and_plagiarism/

[2] https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/media/livacuk/tqsd/code-of-practice-on-assessment/appendix_L_cop_assess.pdf