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The Université de Lyon's anti-plagiarism action

A lack of citation skills and the misuse of "copy-paste" are to blame in many plagiarism cases. To avoid this, the Université de Lyon and its institutions lead awareness campaigns to provide practical advice and highlight the rules that must be observed to avoid penalties.


Plagiarism is everyone's business! This campaign is mainly for students, but it is also of interest to all staff at the institutions, whether they are lecturers, researchers or administrative staff. The campaign is part of a more global scheme including a charter for good practice, specific training actions, the use of tools dedicated to detect plagiarism and guidelines regarding academic sanction.

Ten good practices to follow (in French)

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Plagiarism is very risky!

Proven plagiarism cases are studied by the disciplinary departments of institutions who often have to decide what penalties to impose. Plagiarism is a serious offence, so the penalties can be very severe. For example, the following is a decision taken by the French National Higher Education and Research Council (CNESER) (April 2015):

Given [...] that on the basis of the case file, the public law dissertation by Mr. XXX contains several plagiarized pages, whereby the person on trial copied an article published by Mr. YYY word for word, without using quotation marks or referencing the sources [...], Mr. XXX will be excluded from all higher education institutions for five years.

Cite your sources correctly to avoid plagiarism

Plagiarism consists of knowingly or unknowingly taking ownership of another person's work. This is why the person reading your work must be able to differentiate between what is written by yourself and information borrowed from other authors. You can ensure this by:

  • Citing, by putting an extract from the original text in quotation marks and italics;
  • Rewriting the information you have taken from a source in your own words (paraphrasing);

In both cases, you must immediately specify the name of the author in your text, then add additional details in your final bibliography, in accordance with the citation rules used by your institution.

To avoid accidental plagiarism, we recommend that you use special software while researching or reading to easily create an archive of useful references and then include them in your work (referencing, citations, etc.). Citing sources correctly takes a little time, so don't leave it until the last minute!

How is plagiarism detected?

There are several ways for a lecturer to detect plagiarism in work handed in by a student.

  • "Manually": when they are marking the work, several clues could alert them to plagiarism, such as a change in writing style, or a lack of referencing, etc.
  • "Automatically": by using similarity detection software that searches for similarities between the student's text and texts available online or in connected databases, etc. This software then gives the lecturer a similarity percentage (not the same as plagiarism) and an analysis of the "similar" elements it found.

Most of the Université de Lyon's institutions use the Magister software by Compilatio (Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, Université Lumière Lyon 2, Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3, Université Jean Monnet, ECAM Lyon, École Centrale de Lyon, ENISE, ENSAL, ENSSIB, ENS de Lyon, ENTPE, INSA Lyon, ISARA Lyon, Sciences Po Lyon, Université catholique de Lyon & VetAgro Sup).

The Université de Lyon's anti-plagiarism campaign was launched in September 2015. The texts used in the campaign were written collaboratively by members of the Université de Lyon's plagiarism workgroup. The graphics were created by Morgan Attia, a student at the Institut de la Communication (ICOM) at the Université Lumière Lyon 2.

NB: All documents available to download on this page are the property of the Université de Lyon. However, member institutions of the UdL are free to use these files (e.g. photocopying), provided that the integrity of their contents is respected.

If you have any queries, please contact the Université de Lyon's communication department:

communication@universite-lyon.fr