According to the International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI), academic integrity is all about Honesty, Trust, Fairness, Respect, Responsibility, and Courage (https://www.academicintegrity.org/fundamental-values/)
It is essentially a matter of professional, and even personal, ethics and morals and is achieved through the observance and application of a universally shared and agreed-upon set of best practice standards and principles (or values, to emphasize the ethical connotation) that guide all scholarly practices and help sustain trust in their output, which is knowledge production. The principles apply to all members of the academic community, or academia, without distinction, including students as scholars-in-training.
A lack of academic integrity is sometimes confused with plagiarism, which is, however, a very reductionist view, as plagiarism is but one manifestation of this much more complex issue. In fact, academic integrity is a multifaceted concept that cover a wide suite of academic practices and as such can be difficult to peg down in any unambiguous terms. Indeed no final and authoritative definition has so far materialized.
Instead, academic integrity is often understood and discussed in the negative by pointing to concrete instances or examples of no or inadequate academic integrity. Such instances are also known as academic misconduct or malpractice and include, but are not limited to, cases of plagiarism and self-plagiarism, falsification and fabrication of data, as well as copyright and data protection violations.
Consequences of academic misconduct
Academic integrity violations are often about gaining an advantage in some way and may be either intentional or accidental. Consequences may be both philosophical, political, and personal and may range from loss of trust in individual contributions, like a specific research paper, or in entire research communities that have somehow been compromised, to poor or even harmful policy- and decision-making, to reputational damage and career disruptions. For a student, non-compliance may in very grave cases result in suspension.
Thus, to have and to demonstrate academic integrity is to avoid falling into the pitfalls of misconduct and malpractice. In what follows we will take a closer look at what that means exactly.
Joshua Kragh Bruhn - firstname.lastname@example.org