Inadequacies in the reference practices of a Master’s thesis were not plagiarism

A university was notified of an alleged plagiarism concerning a Master’s thesis in social sciences accepted at the university. In the preliminary investigation, it was concluded that the literature review in the thesis contained a few faults in the reference practices but no actual plagiarism. 

The person who made the notification asked TENK to issue a statement on whether the university had acted correctly when limiting its investigation to the disputed parts only and whether the author of the thesis was guilty of plagiarism.

In its statement, however, TENK concluded that the preliminary investigation had been conducted correctly and the university had justifiably limited the preliminary investigation to the object of the original RCR notification alone. This was also justifiable as the preliminary investigation showed no signs of more extensive fraud than had been notified.

According to TENK, the inadequacies in the reference practices of the literature review were not enough to constitute plagiarism, and the inadequacies should have been taken into account in the assessment of the thesis.