Research Support

Integrity in Research: Information for Graduate Students

The University of Toronto and the research community at large view issues related to academic integrity and research misconduct extremely seriously.   Graduate students, like everyone else involved in research, are expected to be familiar with, and adhere to the most current University of Toronto and affiliated hospital guidelines and policies relating to graduate research.  Students should refer to the full versions of the policies and guidelines outlined in this document at the links provided.

The Graduate and Life Sciences Education Office acknowledges its debt to Dr. David McKnight, Associate Dean, Equity and Professionalism for providing material in this document.

What is Research Integrity?

Research integrity is the cornerstone of investigation at the University of Toronto.  It is learned behaviour and is based on universal principles.  The Singapore Statement on Research Integrity, drafted in 2010 at the 2nd World Conference on Research Integrity, articulates 4 principles that are fundamental to the integrity of research.


in all aspects of research


in the conduct of research

Professional courtesy and fairness

in working with others

Good stewardship

of research on behalf of others

Graduate students are expected to embrace these principles and use them as a guide to carry out and communicate research discoveries and to utilize these discoveries to improve the health of the population, either directly or indirectly. 

The Singapore Statement is reproduced by permission and the entire statement is at the end of this document.

Why is Integrity in Research Important?

Researchers should aspire to the highest level of academic integrity and adhere to codes of behaviour and practices that ensure they develop good habits in their careers as scientists. 

The cost of research misconduct is immense;

  • it devalues research and undermines science inquiry
  • erodes the public’s trust in research
  • It is expensive and time consuming to investigate and correct
  • It can inflict irreparable damage to reputations and careers  

What is Considered Academic Misconduct at the University of Toronto?

Students should build their repertoire of best research and academic practices early in their career.  Being familiar with what is considered misconduct will help avoid the pitfalls.

The University of Toronto has two major policies that pertain to both academic misconduct in a broad sense and research misconduct specifically.   As a graduate student, you should be familiar with these documents:

The Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters states it is an offence for a student to knowingly engage in:


Type of Offence Example(s)
  • Copying an idea from a website, book, or another source without a reference to say where you copied it from
Forgery, fraud, altering documents
  • Misrepresentation of experimental data
  • Inappropriate selection of results
  • Inappropriate use of controls
  • Getting a medical note to miss a test/exam when you aren’t really sick
  • Changing an answer on a test that has been marked
Unauthorized Aid (giving or receiving)
  • Bringing a cell phone into a test or exam
  •  Emailing your assignment to a friend who might copy from it
  •  Having study notes in your pocket during a test or exam (even if you don’t use them)
  • Working together on an assignment that is supposed to be your own work
  •  Allowing an “editor” to change your work or add material, rather than just suggesting places which need work
  •  Writing a test for a friend, using their TCard
  • Using a friend’s iClicker to answer questions for them when they aren’t in class
False or Concocted References
  • Making up a reference to a book that doesn’t exist
  • Citing an incorrect source
Submitting work for which credit has already been received.
  • Submitting the same essay to two different courses
  • Copying paragraphs from one of your older essays into an essay for a current course

Adapted from: Office of Student Academic Integrity, Faculty of Arts & Science, Academic Integrity: A Quick Guide,  accessed October 18, 2011.

While the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters deals directly with fabrication, falsification and plagiarism as related to requirements, such as course work, the Framework to Address Allegations of Research Misconduct pertains to research misconduct of graduate students and faculty.   It lists 16 types of research misconduct.