For an assignment we were told

"You may make use of any code from the lab classes, even code appearing in the solutions".

Would it be recommended I cite the lab code I have used or not?

  • 7
    Cite it where. exactly?
    – Buffy
    Dec 17, 2021 at 12:55
  • @Buffy I was either going to comment it next to the code I used or in the report I have to submit with the code. Dec 17, 2021 at 13:07
  • 4
    Where, meaning in a publication or in a class assignment? Dec 17, 2021 at 13:24
  • 2
    See this question.
    – Dan Romik
    Dec 17, 2021 at 15:40
  • This is a sort of Pascal's wager. If the professor doesn't expect you to cite, and you do anyway, you lose nothing except a little bit of time (probably less than you spent typing this question). If the professor did expect you to cite, and you don't, you suffer eternal damnation (well, not quite, but close). So... Dec 19, 2021 at 0:07

2 Answers 2


For something not for publication, citation may not be necessary. But you seem to be asking about an assignment that will be evaluated/judged by a professor. In such a case, self-protection suggests that it is safer to cite than not.

You don't want to end up in the situation in which you lose points that you could easily have gotten by taking a bit more care.

The informal definition of plagiarism in the classroom context is quite different from that in the wider academic world. I suggest citing, even if quite informally: "taken from code of lab exercise x" or something.

For context: In the world of research and publication, you also have "permission" to quote (sparingly) from the work of others. But citation is required.

Likewise, extending the work of others is permitted, but the earlier work needs to be cited.

The permission there may not be explicit from the authors but from the system itself. So, it isn't vastly different.

But professors can be picky.


If you must submit a list of cited works with your assignment, then it won't hurt to cite.

However, if not, then you could simply cite it informally as a comment. Something like \\ Taken from the lecture notes.

Best advice is to just ask. If I were to guess whether or not to cite, I would say no. You typically don't cite course work unless it's a very formal report -- you wouldn't include an APA reference for a midterm, for instance. However, best practice is, if in doubt, ask, since you won't get into any trouble/lose any marks for doing so.

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