European Network for Academic Integrity

Topics: Blog, Spotlight

I remember the time when I first came across the issue of academic integrity. It was October 2010 at the IPPHEAE project (Impact of Policies for Plagiarism in Higher Education across Europe) kick-off meeting. Mendel University in Brno was invited to share its experience with the development of a plagiarism detection tool. At that meeting, I realized that the concept was much more complex than just plagiarism and that UK universities were dealing with issues that Czech universities were not even aware of.

The project identified huge gaps in institutional and national policies, but also many examples of good practice. And, more importantly, a willingness to share this practice and learn from others’ experience. The group of enthusiastic people gathered 12 European partners to apply for an Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership project 3-year grant funded by the European Union. We called our project the “European Network for Academic Integrity” (ENAI). Within this project, we have founded an independent legal body (NGO) that establishes a sustainable network and conducts the following activities:

  1. Annual Conferences. After three conferences in Brno, Czechia (2013, 2015, 2017), we moved to Ephesus, Turkey (2018). The next conferences will be in Vilnius, Lithuania (2019) and Dubai, United Arab Emirates (2020).
  2. Training Events. At these events, we intensively develop educational materials and other project outputs, and offer lectures and workshops available to all (one of which was also broadcasted  by the Council of Europe).
  3. Educational Materials. We have developed lot of materials ourselves, but also collated from the internet. A significant part of our materials is devoted to teaching and learning resources that can be used with students in different study contexts.
  4. Academic Integrity Guidelines. These Guidelines were developed with partners from UK to Cyprus and from Portugal to Latvia, with representatives from computer science, biomedicine, social sciences and other areas. The Guidelines include a glossary of terms with explanatory details and recommendations for higher education institutions.
  5. Relationship Maintenance. We have relationships with like-minded organizations, such as Netherlands Research Integrity Network, European Network of Research Integrity Offices, and ICAI. With ICAI, we agreed on mutual recognition of membership for discounted conference fees. ENAI members pay the same fee as ICAI members at the ICAI conference and vice versa. So, if ICAI members want to come to Lithuania, they will be charged as an ENAI member.
  6. Researcher Platform. We are working on providing a set of good practices for conducting academic integrity research and to developing a set of questions, which can be used across countries and over time so the results will be comparable to each other.
  7. Plagiarism Detection Tool Testing. This activity will enable users to determine which of these systems suits best to their needs.

We see that our work is useful and appreciated. Our membership has more than doubled to 25 members from 19 countries. Our close cooperation with Council of Europe’s ETINED platform will help formulate recommendations for all European states. Our mission is to provide resources, educational materials, research evidence and a platform to share and gain the experience from others.

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About the Author
Dr. Tomáš Foltýnek is senior researcher for plagiarism detection and semantic analysis at the University of Wuppertal, Germany. He is also an assistant professor at the Department of Informatics and Academic integrity coordinator of the Faculty of Business and Economics, Mendel University in Brno, Czechia. He is representing Czechia in the Council of Europe’s Pan-European Platform for Ethics, Transparency and Integrity in Education (ETINED) and President of the Board of the European Network for Academic Integrity.
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