Maintaining Academic Integrity in the Digital Age

Video credit: Maintaining Academic Integrity in the Digital Age – posted by The Digital Tattoo Project on YouTube



With the internet, looking for information online has become an indispensable part of our research process for academic tasks. However, it is important to remember that digital content, just like physical content, needs to be correctly cited and attributed to the appropriate author(s). The use and careful citation of content found through online sources are expected from university students to not only maintain academic integrity, but also to become responsible digital citizens.

According to the B.C. Post-Secondary Digital Literacy Framework under the B.C. provincial Digital Learning Strategy, undergraduate students are expected to be able to: 

  • “identify, differentiate, and appropriately use different types of online information, including scholarly information, information from general web searches” (p.28), and
  • “understand and follow academic integrity guidelines, including citing sources and avoiding plagiarism in digital learning spaces” (p.26). 

As digital citizens, individuals should be able to “mindfully choose online content that is consumed” (p.28), “use content appropriately based on its source, and understand and respect intellectual property rights” (p. 26). This highlights the importance of appropriately selecting, using and citing online sources, no matter as a university student and as an internet user.

The recent development of Generative AI (GenAI) tools has also posed concerns about upholding academic integrity and responsible digital citizenship in this new age of Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI text generators such as ChatGPT and Gemini can produce well-structured, human-like written text with nearly perfect grammar. They can also provide detailed responses to a wide range of inquiries. From literature to daily tips, historical events to scientific research, these tools seem to know everything. However, the credibility of AI-generated text is also challenged as GenAI tools lack the ability to fact-check the information in their responses and has been known to hallucinate citations. For example, ChatGPT made up a false case for a lawyer in his legal research that was brought to the court, revealing the unreliable nature of using AI tools to conduct research. What’s more, the responses generated are also subject to copyright infringement, as GenAI tools use public content for training without seeking the original creator’s consent.  

All these incidents point to the responsible use of digital content in academic research and the digital realm. Along with creating appropriate citations for online sources used, students should ensure the accuracy of the online information included in their own work, no matter from their own research or AI generators. This is key to maintaining academic integrity and responsible digital citizenship. 



The Digital Tattoo Project encourages critical discussion on topics surrounding digital citizenship and online identity. There are no correct answers and every person will view these topics from a different perspective. Be sure to complete the previous sections before answering the questions.

  • How has the digital age impacted research in academic contexts? 
  • How does copyright influence how you use online information? 
  • In what ways do you think Gen AI tools have impacted online research for academic work?

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