CWSF Academic Integrity

1. Organization & Governance
Policy Number: 
Policy Section: 
Ethical Conduct
Approved by: 
NJC, NPAC, Executive Director
Date Approved: 
Tue, Jan 24, 2006
Date Effective: 
Date Last Amended: 
Thu, Apr 26, 2018
Date of Next Review: 
Sun, Oct 31, 2021

1 Preamble

1.1 YSC is committed to the highest standards of academic integrity.

1.2 While there are several forms of academic misconduct, plagiarism is very serious and is by far the most common example of academic integrity.  YSC defines plagiarism as ‘submission of the work of another as if it were your own’.

1.3 Some examples of plagiarism:

1.3.1 Failure to attribute authorship when using sources such as written or oral work, computer codes/programs, artistic works, scientific and technology projects, graphical representations, diagrams, videos, and images.

1.3.2 Downloading all/part of the work of another from the Internet and submitting as your own.

1.3.3 The use of a document prepared by any person other than the individual claiming to be the author.

1.4 Plagiarism is committed when you do not acknowledge using someone else'swork. This includes using words or phrases, ideas or thoughts of others. It also includes copying computer code, experiment results, falsifying data, citations or other text. In addition, submitting your own previously submitted work is called self-plagiarism.

1.5 Plagiarized materials can come from any source including - encyclopedias, web pages, books, journal articles, email, talks or lectures, etc.

2 Process

2.1 This policy will be activated by an accusation of academic misconduct against a CWSF finalist. This accusation cannot be anonymous and must provide some initial details. It may come from a member of the community or from the CWSF judging team as they process projects and as projects are judged at the CWSF.

2.2 Once the policy is activated the matter will be kept as confidential as possible and only those persons identified in the policy will be privy to the particulars of the accusation and ensuing process. At the outset, the YSC office will be notified of the particular case so as to ensure that no prize monies, or other awards, are given to a finalist until a hearing is held and the matter is resolved.

2.3 Information about the potential violation will be compiled by the manager of the judging team, or other person as assigned by Executive Director. This information will be as complete as possible and will be provided to the hearing panel through the Executive Director.

2.4 A hearing panel will be comprised of a Chair, appointed by the Executive Director, a judging person appointed by the National Judge in Chief and a member of the Board. None of these panel members will have any involvement with gathering information of the potential violation. If they do, then they will be replaced by the Executive Director with appropriately qualified people.

2.5 This panel will, in a timely fashion, meet and recommend action to be taken to the Executive Director. If before the CWSF, they will normally render a decision within one week, and if possible in time to potentially change travel plans. If at the CWSF, they will normally render a decision before the Awards ceremony, if at all possible. If after the CWSF, they will normally make a decision within 10 working days. Any delays to these normal times must be discussed with, and approved by, the Executive Director.

2.6 The hearing will review information provided by the judging team, through the judging team manager, which is collected independent of the judging member of the panel. If possible, the regional Chief Judge and/or regional science fair committee Chair will be contacted for any relevant information and context.

2.7 Where possible, the finalist, and their delegate, will be present at the hearing. Failing this, then they will be available via electronic means. The finalist and their delegate will provide their account of the matter and will have an opportunity to respond to any and all information provided about the potential infraction. Once the hearing is scheduled, failure of the finalist or the delegate to appear will not cause the hearing to be cancelled.

2.8 A detailed record of the panel hearing will be kept until after the matter is completely finalized. If the finding is that there was no academic misconduct then this record will be destroyed.

2.9 Once the Executive Director receives the finding of the panel then a final decision will be communicated to the finalist, delegate, National Judge in Chief and Chair of the Host CWSF Committee within 24 hours. Using the principles of natural justice, appeals will only be considered based upon Section 5 in YSC Appeals Policy 1.5.3. If such an appeal is valid, policy 1.5.3 will be followed for the appeal.

3 Sanctions

3.1 Sanctions for a finding of academic misconduct may include, depending upon the perceived severity of the academic infraction:

  • Attendance at CWSF, but finalist is ineligible to win awards;
  • Loss of any awards from the CWSF;
  • Disqualification from the CWSF;
  • Suspension from all Youth Science Canada activities for a designated period of time;
  • Publication of the decision;
  • Suspension from the CWSF and immediate transport home at the parent’s/guardian’s expense;
  • Other sanctions as may be considered appropriate for the offence.