Higher Education

, Volume 74, Issue 5, pp 815–831 | Cite as

Patterns and predictors of academic dishonesty in Romanian university students

  • Bob IvesEmail author
  • Madalina Alama
  • Liviu Cosmin Mosora
  • Mihaela Mosora
  • Lucia Grosu-Radulescu
  • Aurel Ion Clinciu
  • Ana-Maria Cazan
  • Gabriel Badescu
  • Claudiu Tufis
  • Mihaela Diaconu
  • Amalia Dutu


Academic dishonesty in higher education is an increasingly visible problem throughout the world and in Romania in particular. A total of 1127 university students from six public Romanian universities were surveyed for their experiences and beliefs with 22 behaviors that might be considered academically dishonest. A five-factor solution to the frequencies of these behaviors was interpretable and accounted for more than half of the total variance. How acceptable students believed the behaviors were and how often students witnessed other students engage in these behaviors were consistent predictors of the frequency of the behaviors, with small to medium effect sizes. Demographic predictors of these behaviors, including gender, academic specialty, year in school, institution, grade average, and scholarship status, predicted very little variance in the behaviors. Implications and limitations of the study, as well as limitations of research in the field, are discussed.


Academic integrity Academic dishonesty Romania University 


  1. Abbott, Alison. (2012). Romanian scientists fight plagiarism. Retrieved August, 18, 2015, 2015, from
  2. Abbott, Alison. (2013). Romanian science in free fall. Retrieved August, 18, 2015, 2015, from
  3. Abbott, Alison. (2015). Scientists protest Romanian decree on PhD revocation. Retrieved August 18, 2015, 2015, from
  4. Agence France-Presse. (2015). Moldova’s prime minister resigns over ‘fake diploma’ scandal. Retrieved August 18, 2015, 2015, from;_ylt=A0LEVwkATXtV2lwAj_pXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEyYmZ1ZmJzBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDQjAzOTZfMQRzZWMDc2M-.
  5. *Akbulut, Yavuz, Sendag, Serkan, Birinci, Gurkay, Kilicer, Kerem, Sahin, Mehmet C., & Odabasi, Hatice F. (2008). Exploring the types and reasons of Internet-triggered academic dishonesty among Turkish undergraduate students: development of Internet-Triggered Academic Dishonesty Scale (ITADS). Computers & Education, 51, 463–473.Google Scholar
  6. *Ali, Wan Zah Wan, Ismail, Habsah, & Cheat, Tan Tien. (2012). Plagiarism: to what extent it is understood? Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 59, 604–611.Google Scholar
  7. Anderman, E. M., & Danner, F. (2008). Achievemenet goals and academic cheating. Revue Internationale de Psychologie Sociale, 21(1), 150–180.Google Scholar
  8. Andrei, T., Teodorescu, D., Stancu, S., & Oancea, B. (2009). Some features of the non-academic behavior in the Romanian universities. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 1, 1964–1968. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2009.01.345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Baciu, L. L., Bunda, N. R., Andreea, I., & Asandului, M. (2010). Motivation and performance in higher education systems. The case of Romanian universities. Metalurgia International, 15(2), 67–72.Google Scholar
  10. Badea-Voiculescu, O. (2013). Attitude of Romanian medical students towards plagiarism. Romanian J Morphol Embryol, 5(3 Supplement), 907–908.Google Scholar
  11. Bailey, Jonathan. (2012). The plagiarism insanity in Romania. Retrieved August 18, 2015, 2015, from
  12. Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. Neew York: Freeman.Google Scholar
  13. *Bermingham, Vera, Watson, Susan, & Jones, Martin. (2010). Plagiarism in UK schools: is there a postcode lottery? Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 35(1), 1–15.Google Scholar
  14. *Bisping, Timothy O., Patron, Hilde, & Roskelley, Kenneth. (2008). Modeling academic dishonesty: the role of student perceptions and misconduct type. Journal of Economic Education, 39(1), 4–21.Google Scholar
  15. *Brimble, M., & Stevenson-Clarke, P. (2005). Perceptions of the prevalence and seriousness of academic dishonesty in Australian universities. Aust Educ Res, 32(3), 19–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Brown, B. S., Weible, R., & Olmosk, K. E. (2010). Business school deans in student academic dishonesty: a survey. Coll Stud J, 44(2), 299–308.Google Scholar
  17. *Chapman, Keneth J., Davis, Richard, Toy, Daniel, & Wright, Lauren. (2004). Academic integrity in the business school environment: I’ll get by with a little help from my friends. Journal of Marketing Education, 26, 236–249.Google Scholar
  18. Chertok, I. R., Azulay, B., Emily, R., & Gilleland, D. (2014). Academic integrity in the online learning environment for health sciences students. Nursing Education Today, 34, 1324–1329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (Second ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  20. Cole, Miles. (2013). Corruption in universities: a blueprint for reform. Retrieved August 18, 2015, 2015, from
  21. *Colnerud, Gunnel, & Rosander, Michael. (2009). Academic dishonesty, ethical norms and learning. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 34(5), 505–517.Google Scholar
  22. Comsa, M., Tufis, C. D., & Voicu, B. (2007). Romanian academic system: teachers’ and students’ opinions (pp. 128). Bucharest, Romania: Soros Foundation Romania.Google Scholar
  23. de Lambert, K., Ellen, N., & Taylor, L. (2006). Chalkface challenges: a study of academic dishonesty amongst students in New Zealand tertiary institutions. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 31(5), 485–503. doi: 10.1080/02602930600679415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Desalegn, A. A., & Berhan, A. (2014). Cheating on examinations and its predictors among undergraduate students at Hawassa University College of Medicine and Health Science, Hawassa, Ethiopia. BCM Medical Education, 14(89).Google Scholar
  25. DeVellis, R. F. (2012). Scale development theory and applications (Third ed.). Los Angeles: Sage.Google Scholar
  26. Engler, J. N., Landau, J. D., & Epstein, M. (2008). Keeping up with the Joneses: students’ perceptions of academically dishonest behavior. Teach Psychol, 35, 99–102. doi: 10.1080/00986280801978418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. European Higher Education Area. (2015). Bologna Process—European Higher Education Area. Retrieved October 17, 2015, 2015, from
  28. Farnese, M. L., Tramontano, C., Fida, R., & Paciello, M. (2011). Cheating behaviors in academic context: does academic moral engagement matter? Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 29, 356–365. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.11.250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Gallant, T. B., Van den Einde, L., Ouellette, S., & Lee, S. (2014). A systematic analysis of cheating in an undergraduate engineering mechanics course. Sci Eng Ethics, 20, 277–298. doi: 10.1007/s11948-013-9435-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Galloway, Andrew. (2013). The culture of plagiarized dissertations in Romania—a call for inquiry in the humanities—and beyond. Retrieved August 18, 2015, 2015, from
  31. Hantz, Peter. (2012). Romania—a country where plagiarism in medical sciences is tolerated. Retrieved August 18, 2015, 2015, from
  32. Happel, S. K., & Jennings, M. M. (2008). An economic analysis of academic dishonesty and its deterrence in higher education. Journal of Legal Studies Educationq, 25(2), 183–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ives, B. (2003). Effect size use in studies of learning disabilities. J Learn Disabil, 36, 490–504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Ives, B., & Badescu, G. (2015). Romanian scholarly productivity: recent history and recommendations. High Educ Res Dev, 34(5), 926–941.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. *Jensen, Lene Arnett, Arnett, Jeffrey Jensen, Feldman, S. Shirley, & Cauffman, Elizabeth. (2002). It’s wrong, but everybody does it: academic dishonesty among high school and college students. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 27, 209–228.Google Scholar
  36. Jurdi, R., Hage, H. S., & Chow, H. P. H. (2011). Academic dishonesty in the Canadian classroom: behaviours of a sample of university students. Can J High Educ, 41(3), 1–35.Google Scholar
  37. Karassavidou, E., & Glaveli, N. (2006). Towards the ethical or the unethical side? An explorative research of Greek business students’ attitudes. Int J Educ Manag, 20(5), 348–364. doi: 10.1108/09513540610676421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kauffman, Y., & Young, M. (2015). Digital plagiarism: An experimental study of the effet of instructional goals and copy-and-paste affordance. Computers & Education, 83, 44–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Koul, R., Clariana, R. B., Jitgarun, K., & Songsriwittaya, A. (2009). The influence of achievement goal orientation on plagiarism. Learn Individ Differ, 19, 506–512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. *Krueger, Linda. (2014). Academic dishonesty among nursing students. Journal of Nursing Education, 53(2), 77–87.Google Scholar
  41. Kucuktepe, S. E. (2011). Evaluation of tendency towards academic dishonesty levels of psychological counseling and guidance undergraduate students. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 15, 2722–2727. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.04.177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. LaDuke, R. D. (2013). Academic dishonesty today, unethical practices tomorrow? J Prof Nurs, 29(6), 402–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. *Levy, Elliott S., & Rakovski, Carter C. (2006). Academic dishonesty: a zero tolerance professor and student registration choices. Research in Higher Education, 47(6), 735–754.Google Scholar
  44. *Lin, Chun-Hua Susan, & Wen, Ling-Yu Melody. (2007). Academic dishonesty in higher education—a nationwide study in Taiwan. Higher Education, 54, 85–97.Google Scholar
  45. Marinas, Radu-Sorin. (2014). Romanian PM gives up doctorate after years of plagiarism allegations. Retrieved August 18, 2015, 2015, from
  46. Miller, A., Shoptaugh, C., & Wooldridge, J. (2011). Reasons not to cheat, academicintegrity responsibility, and frequency of cheating. The Journal of Experimental Education, 79, 169–184. doi: 10.1080/00220970903567830.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. *Moberg, Chris, Sojka, Jane Z., & Gupta, Ashok. (2008). An update on academic dishonesty in the college classroom. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, 19(1), 149–176.Google Scholar
  48. Morris, R. C. (2012). The relative influence of values and identities on academic dishonesty: a quantitative analysis. Current Research in Social Psychology.Google Scholar
  49. Mungiu-Pippidi, Alina. (2011). Civil society and control of corruption: assessing governance of Romanian public universities. International Journal of Educational Development, March 2011.Google Scholar
  50. Munoz-Garcia, A., & Aviles-Herrera, M. J. (2014). Effects of academic dishonesty on dimensions of spiritual well-being and satisfaction: a comparative study of secondary school and university students. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 39(3), 349–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Murdock, T. B., & Anderman, E. M. (2006). Motivational perspectives on student cheating: Toward an integrated model of academic dishonesty. Educational Psychologist, 41(3), 129–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. National Public Radio staff. (2015). Academic foul: some colleges accused of helping athletes cheat. Retrieved August 18, 2015, 2015, from
  53. Newsromania. (2013). The rector of Ovidius University in Constanta was arrested. Retrieved August 18, 2015, 2015, from
  54. Nonis, S., & Swift, C. O. (2001). An examination of the relationship between academic dishonesty and workplace dishonesty: a multicampus investigation. J Educ Bus, 77(2), 69–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Ogilvie, J., & Stewart, A. (2010). The integration of Rational Choice and Self-Efficacy theories: A situational analysis of student misconduct. The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 43(1), 130–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Olafson, L., Schraw, G., Nadelson, L., Nadelson, S., & Kehrwald, N. (2013). Exploring the judgment-action gap: College students and academic dishonesty. Ethics & Behavior, 23(2), 148–162. doi: 10.1080/10508422.2012.714247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. *Owunwanne, Daniel, Rustagi, Narendra, & Dada, Remi. (2010). Students’ perceptions of cheating and plagiarism in higher institutions. Journal of College Teaching and Learning, 7(11), 59–68.Google Scholar
  58. *Park, Eun-Jun, Park, Seungmi, & Jang, In-Sun. (2013). Academic cheating among nursing students. Nurse Education Today, 33, 346–352.Google Scholar
  59. Patall, E. A., & Leach, J. K. (2015). The role of choice provision in academic dishonesty. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 42, 97–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Popescu, I. (2014). Another Romanian politician suspected of plagiarism. Retrieved August, 18(2015), 2015.Google Scholar
  61. *Rakovski, Carter C., & Levy, Elliott S. (2007). Academic dishonesty: perceptions of business students. College Student Journal, 41(2), 466–481.Google Scholar
  62. *Rettinger, David A., & Kramer, Yair. (2009). Situational and personal causes of student cheating. Research in Higher Education, 50, 293–313.Google Scholar
  63. Romania Insider. (2014). Pro-Dean at Bucharest’s economic university, investigated for bribery. Retrieved August 18, 2015, 2015, from
  64. Schiermeier, Quirin. (2012a). Conflicting verdicts on Romanian prime minister’s plagiarism. Retrieved August 18, 2015, 2015, from
  65. Schiermeier, Quirin. (2012b). Romanian panel calls prime minister a plagiarist. Retrieved August 18, 2015, 2015, from
  66. Sendag, S., Duran, M., & Fraser, M. R. (2012a). Surveying the extent of involvement in online academic dishonesty (e-dishonesty) related practices among university students and the rationale students provide: one university’s experience. Comput Hum Behav, 28, 849–860. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2011.12.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. *Sendag, Serkan, Duran, Mesut, & Fraser, M. Robert. (2012b). Surveying the extent of involvement in online academic dishonesty (e-dishonesty) related practices among university students and the rationale students provide: one university’s experience. Computers in Human Behavior, 28, 849–860. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2011.12.004Google Scholar
  68. Stan, L., & Turcescu, L. (2004). Politicians, intellectuals, and academic integrity in Romania. Problems of Post-Communism, 51(4), 12–24.Google Scholar
  69. Stein, Letitia. (2015). University of North Carolina put on probation over academic fraud scandal. Retrieved August 18, 2015, 2015, from
  70. Strauss, Valerie. (2015). SAT cheating scandal broadens with indictment of 15 Chinese nationals. Retrieved August 18, 2015, 2015, from
  71. Stroe, Daniel. (2013). Romanian publisher gets prison sentence for plagiarism. Retrieved August 18, 2015, 2015, from
  72. Teodorescu, D., & Andrei, T. (2009). Faculty and peer influences on academic integrity: college cheating in Romania. High Educ, 57, 267–282. doi: 10.1007/s10734-008-9143-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. The Associated Press. (2012). Romania: plagiarism scandal ensnares prime minister. Retrieved August 18, 2015, 2–15, from
  74. Unal, E. (2011). Examining the relationship between pre-service teachers’ ethical reasoning level and their academic dishonesty levels: a structural equation modelling approach. Educational Research and Reviews, 6(19), 983–992. doi: 10.5897/ERR11.259.Google Scholar
  75. UNESCO Institute for Statistics. (2015). International standard of classification: fields of education and training 2013 (ISCED-F 2013)—detailed field descriptions (pp. 96). Montreal, Canada: UNESCO Institute for Statistics.Google Scholar
  76. Urdan, T. (1997). Achievement goal theory: Past results, future directions. In M. L. Maehr & P. R. Pintrich (Eds.), Advances in Motivation and Achievement (Vol. 10, pp. 99–141). Greenwich, CT: JAI.Google Scholar
  77. *Watson, George, & Sottile, James. (2010). Cheating in the digital age: do students cheat more in online courses? Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, XIII(I).Google Scholar
  78. Webometrics Ranking of World Universities. (2015). Ranking web of universities: Romania. Retrieved October 12, 2015, 2015, from
  79. Wigfield, A., & Eccles, J. S. (2000). Expectancy-value theory of achievement motivation. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25, 68–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Yang, S. C., Huang, C.-L., & Chen, A.-S. (2013). An investigation of college students' perceptions of academic dishonesty, reasons for dishonesty, achievement goals, and willingness to report dishonest behavior. Ethics & Behavior, 23(6), 501–522. doi: 10.1080/10508422.2013.802651.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Zaharia, R. M. (2009). Performance of academic research in Romania: the view of academics from Bucharest University of Economics. Transformations in Business & Economics, 8(3), 145–163.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bob Ives
    • 1
    Email author
  • Madalina Alama
    • 1
  • Liviu Cosmin Mosora
    • 2
  • Mihaela Mosora
    • 2
  • Lucia Grosu-Radulescu
    • 2
  • Aurel Ion Clinciu
    • 3
  • Ana-Maria Cazan
    • 3
  • Gabriel Badescu
    • 4
  • Claudiu Tufis
    • 5
  • Mihaela Diaconu
    • 6
  • Amalia Dutu
    • 6
  1. 1.University of NevadaRenoUSA
  2. 2.Academia de Studii EconomiceBucharestRomania
  3. 3.Universitatea TransilvaniaBrasovRomania
  4. 4.Universitatea Babes-BolyaiClujRomania
  5. 5.Universitatea din BucurestiBucharestRomania
  6. 6.Universitatea din PitestiPitestiRomania

Personalised recommendations