Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity Business plans Guidelines - recommendations

How to ethically use articles and reports from databases licensed by a library?

This question is quite astute as it allows me to consider both academic integrity as well as complying with copyright and licensing requirements. I’m periodically asked whether one can send an article or a report from a licensed database by our University Library to someone outside of our University’s library. The gist:

Don’t share, just cite

Source: Olivier Charbonneau, Senior Librarian, Concordia University (Montréal)

To expand on this simple guideline I can provide the following insight: our licensing agreements with most of our vendors do not allow members of the University Community to send the verbatim or full reports to parties from the external community. So, please do not forward PDFs from our licensed databases outside of our University. Caveat: anything on the “free web” – such as websites/reports from governments – are free to share in full (as per the Canadian Copyright Act).

I know this is unfortunate but I offer you a silver lining: members of the university community are allowed to read, learn and cite from reports or articles from our licensed databases to draft summaries or briefs. In addition, you can cite from multiple sources to craft a really powerful synthesis of a complex business topic. This resulting paper is your own, as long as you cite short but salient passages from reports or articles our licensed databases and provide the source in a proper bibliography (footnotes and/orendnotes).

This advice stems from a simple ethical rule in research: if you share a single source in full, this is usually called stealing… but if you cite salient but short passages from multiple sources and provide proper references, this is called research. The resulting research paper is yours: the authors of the research paper own the copyright of the resulting paper with citations and can leverage or mobilize it as they wish, like selling it to a client or posting it on the free web.

This is the ethical rule in authorship, in line with various complex copyright or licensing requirements, that exemplifies best practices for the university community. In addition, it also provides for a “value-added” service for business analysis: selecting and arranging salient business insight in a research brief. Believe it or not, this is what you are groomed to do in our business school. Your question exemplifies best practices, that of validating with a colleague how best to proceed given a novel or uncertain context.

In addition to the above insight, please allow me to point out the following resources I’ve created to support Canadian entrepreneurs:

1. I have created a “quick list” of best resources on the free web for entrepreneurship research on this post on my work blog: Researching a business plan using free sources

2. My “expanded” list of resources, with licensed databases from our collection, is on the Library website: Entrepreneurship research guide

In closing, please note that this summer, I shall be overhauling my research guides and corresponding YouTube tutorials, so these sources will shift in the coming months, as fast as this humble librarian (and single dad from an undisclosed location deep in the Montréal Suburbs) can crank out web and video Open Educational Resources. Please consult my work blog,, for updates.

Academic Integrity Open education

According to the Quuen’s Gazette:

A group of Ontario universities have collaborated together to create, a free online professional skills training website that’s tailored to graduate students’ distinct experience. Funded by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities through the Productivity and Innovation Fund, the site cultivates skills and abilities needed to thrive both during and after a student’s degree program.

I looked at the website and it seems it is only accessible from Ontario. One could request access, see:

If you don’t live in Ontario, you’ll still have access to all of the other offerings of, and we are working as quickly as we can to give access to the modules for students from across Canada and around the world. If you’re a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow at a university outside Ontario, and you’d like your university to get access, just talk to your graduate dean (or equivalent), and have them contact us at We are working out a range of different membership and partnership options to make the modules accessible to as many graduate students and postdocs as possible, so that everyone can benefit. also have a blog, which I added to my RSS feeds.

Academic Integrity Information Technology

Apple watch and academic integrity

Beyond being a simple object of desire, the announced Apple Watch will be in classrooms around the world soon enough, as Rebecca Koening from the Chronicle of Higher Education points out.

I love some of the comments made by the experts she interviews, in particular Teresa Fishman, director of the International Institute for Academic Integrity at Clemson University as well as David M. Levy, a professor in the Information School at the University of Washington, who teaches a class called “Information and Contemplation.” Both advocate for a shift in teaching strategies.

And, yeah, I really desire an Apprle Watch althought I am not certain I would effectively use it in my daily life. And of course, you’re always better off waiting for the secound iteration of any Apple tech, you wouldn’t want to pay a high price to debug their device… this is the cost of Apple love.

Academic Integrity Videos

More academic integrity / plagiarism resources

I’ve recently watched a great video about paraphrasing from the Lehman College’s Leonard Lief Library, located via Sheila Webber:


Another colleague of mine has been trying to create their own plagiarism / citation videos in French using simple tools, like a voice over of a presentation. The videos are interesting but the sound could be a bit better.

Another colleague highlighted this simple website from Dr. Lipson, a Political Science professor at Concordia University (where I work), where he guides students through Plagiarism.

In addition, a colleague of mine indicated that this book on academic authorship discusses plagiarism:
Belcher, Wendy Laura, 2009. Writing your journal article in 12 weeks: A guide to academic publishing success, Sage Publications: Thousand Oaks, USA. Pages 161-163.