Plagiarism can be considered one of the most important topics related to scientific work. Previous research has indicated that plagiarism occurs more often in countries with the lower level of scientific output measured in number of papers cited in top journals. These countries in the same time have in most of the cases longer tradition of scientific research. Plagiarism, like any other fraud, can be fought in three manners. First, educational actions can be implemented in order to increase awareness of academic honesty, and these actions can start as early as in the first years of elementary school. Second, preventive actions can be implemented in the form of the plagiarism detection software that indicate to professors that students attempt to use other authors’ work. Number of these software are widely used at the universities, like TurninTin. Third, sanction measures can be implemented against those that have already published or submitted papers with plagiarism.
Plagiarism policy of scientific journals is clearly communicated with the scholars usually over the journal website, while scientific journals often follow the practice defined by the organizations such as The Committee on Publication Ethics. However, the question remains on how the students are informed about the plagiarism, paraphrasing and citing sources. University website is often one of the most important information sources during higher education. It is often practice that plagiarism is part of the student legal ethical framework, such as the Student code of ethics.
Current practice of Croatian universities related to education of students about academic honesty has not been investigated, to our best knowledge. In order to shed some light to this topic, we pose two research questions as the following: (i) Are students of Croatian universities informed about the academic honesty over the universities websites?; (ii) What is the content on these information? In our study, we analyze the websites of Croatian universities in order to find information about plagiarism that is intended for students. We look for three forms of information related to plagiarism: (i) sanctions related to plagiarism; (ii) information on how to report academic honesty in student work; (iii) educational materials on plagiarism and academic honesty intended to teach students on what are examples of best practice. After the introduction, we describe the methodology of the research, including web content data collection, coding scheme and data analysis. The main method of the research will be searching the faculty websites using specific keywords related to plagiarism. The collected data will be analysed in order to estimate the intensity of the communication of universities with students about academic honesty. Our results will be compared with the results from the random sample of universities from one of the European countries.