In the academic world it is essential to have a grasp of issues pertaining to plagiarism and copyright. Here we give you the basics.


To plagiarize means using somebody else's work or ideas and presenting it as your own. 
When students plagiarize, they typically:

  • Use someone else’s text and only substitute a few words for synonyms, change the word order or grammar. This is considered as plagiarism regardless of if references are provided or not.
  • Use another person’s work and present it as their own.
  • Copy and paste text from a web page without citing or referencing the source.
  • Use another author’s text and rephrase it in their own words but without providing a reference.
  • Use their own previously submitted text in a new study assignment without referencing the original work. This is called self-plagiarism.

To make sure you avoid plagiarizing, use appropriate and correct citing and paraphrasing practices when writing academic texts.

What happens if a student has plagiarized?

Plagiarism is a serious offense against good academic practice and can if worse comes to worst result in temporary suspension from studies by decision of The Disciplinary Board at Linköping University. 

A student who is suspended may not participate in lectures, laboratory sessions, seminars, exams, tutorials, assignments, and may not have access to LiU's computer labs. The suspension may also affect payment of student support.

Plagiarism detection systems used at LiU

Linköping University can submit student texts to Ouriginal, which is a plagiarism-checking tool for teachers. Submitted texts are checked against a very large database of material taken from the Internet, published material and student material.

Plagiarism-check of publications at a higher scientific level and theses, can be done using Similarity Check which check against academic sources such as journal articles and the Internet. At LiU, Similarity Check is only used on behalf of doctoral students and researchers.

NoPlagiat self-study tutorial 

To promote students’ knowledge of copyright and abilities in citing and referencing, Linköping University Library has created a self-study tutorial, called NoPlagiat. LiU teachers have the option to incorporate NoPlagiat as part of their courses in Linköping University's learning platform Lisam.

Linköping University Library advice LiU students and employees on issues relating to copyright.

What is copyright?

Copyright governs how you are allowed to use someone else's work. It gives the creators, copyright holders, of a work the right to decide how their work may be used.

Copyrighted material can be:

  • a text
  • a recorded speech
  • a computer program
  • an artistic work of some kind
  • a chart, figure, or an image
  • an audio or a video recording

Material available in print and on the Internet are both protected by copyright.

You need the copyright holder’s permission to use copyrighted material, for example in your student thesis if it is published online. The copyright holder can for example be an author, a photographer, an artist or a composer.

Copyright in Sweden is valid throughout the lifetime of the copyright holder and 70 years after the copyright holder has died.

You are the copyright holder for your student thesis.

Are students allowed to copy and share copyrighted material?

Through agreements concluded between Swedish universities and Bonus Copyright Access, teachers and students are permitted to share and distribute copyrighted material for educational purposes at the University by:

  • Digitally saving it on the University's closed network (e.g. Lisam).
  • Using copied material in presentations such as PowerPoint presentations.
  • Saving and distributing digital presentations at the University's closed network and via email to registered students.
  • Handing out paper copies to registered students.
  • Copy a limited number of pages of a work for private use, which includes studies. In accordance with the agreement with Bonus Copyright Access, it is allowed to copy 15 per cent of a publication, but never more than 15 pages.

Are students allowed to reuse copyrighted material in their assignments?

You may always quote and reference texts that someone else has created without permission from the copyright holder, but to a reasonable extent, and what is required by context and with proper reference.
If you want to use images, figures or charts that someone else has created, different rules apply depending on how your text will be published:

  • If your text is only to be submitted for examination and not distributed in print and/or electronically, no permission is required from the copyright holder. This includes submitting a printed copy of a work to your teacher or uploading your report in Lisam.
  • When a student thesis is distributed publicly in print and/or electronically outside the university, permission is required from the copyright holder to reuse photos, diagrams and figures in your thesis.
  • If you are unable to obtain the permission of the copyright owner, the work cannot be reused in your thesis.

How do I know which material on the Internet I am allowed to reuse without the copyright holder's permission?

Some content on the Internet is provided with a license agreement through Creative Commons (CC), which tells you how you are allowed to use the material, based on the copyright owner's wishes, without having to ask for further permission. Credit must always be given to the creator of the work.

When reusing material with a CC license, a reference must always be given, which should contain a link to the proper CC license. 

Read more about Creative Commons

Contact us

If you have questions about plagiarism or copyright issues you are welcome you contact us:

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