I completed my dissertation a few weeks ago, and submitted it the night before it was due and thus did not check it on turnitin etc for similarity reports. However, on Friday night I received an e-mail basically saying that my work was being 'withheld' from marking as a result of an 'allegation of academic misconduct'. They did not tell me what this allegation was, and all that was attached to this e-mail was the University's general statement of academic misconduct and what it can entail, and a letter addressed to me saying the exact same as the e-mail.

I looked on turnitin, and there is a similarity report of 39%, though it is entirely just the reference list at the end, and the ethics clearance documents (which take up about half the page count and had been previously submitted in order to have them checked months ago).

I was wondering if anyone had any experience with this sort of thing; for example, if it was automatic due to the high similarity score? They said that I won't know the verdict until I either get summoned to a discussion to essentially fight my case, or I get given my grade back, which is making me increasingly anxious as I do not know what the allegation would be for, if not for the similarity score (and since it's been three weeks since I submitted it, I would assume it would have been flagged up for that automatically before this.)

Any kind of help/reassurance is greatly appreciated.

  • 8
    I don't think there's much we can say. Either you plagiarized and you should worry, or you didn't and shouldn't. You should never be submitting your own work to a plagiarism checker. Either you plagiarized and the checker may or may not show it, or you didn't plagiarize and you already know that.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented May 9, 2021 at 21:41
  • 2
    Does this answer your question? What to do when wrongfully accused of cheating? Commented May 9, 2021 at 22:20
  • 1
    I think that you should know if you plagiarised something. Being not the case, unless you have misbehaved in some other circumstances, I think you should relax. The flow of actions taken by the university seems to me unfair as for more information could have been provided to you, already. At least on which area you are alleged of misconduct. Also, these things I keep reading on SE are new to me. I guess in some environment plagiarism in thesis should have been the norm, otherwise I don't understand.
    – Alchimista
    Commented May 10, 2021 at 8:56
  • See also What to do if accused of cheating/misconduct at university?.
    – Ben
    Commented May 10, 2021 at 10:39

1 Answer 1


Firstly, "the verdict" should be something that happens after you have had a chance to hear the allegations and respond, not prior to you being summoned. In any half-decent university misconduct process, there is no need for the student to guess in advance what the alleged misconduct might be; if the matter proceeds then you will be informed (in writing) of the nature of the alleged misconduct at an appropriate time, and you will then have a chance to respond after reading the allegation against you and having time to digest it. Until then, you are not required to do anything. Stay calm, and don't try to pre-empt the process by guessing --- for more advice, see detailed advice on dealing with misconduct allegations.

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