Disclosure date: 16 January 2012
Reference: FOI2012/004 Disclosure - SOAS
1) The number of similarity alerts received from UCAS by the university in each of the past five academic years.
2) The number of applications rejected after receiving similarity alerts from UCAS by the university in each of the past five academic years.
3) The number of applicants flagged via similarity alerts from UCAS who were accepted for places at the university in each of the past five academic years.
4) The number of applicants rejected by the university due to suspicion of cheating/plagiarism/fraud in each of the past five academic years.
4b) Please provide details of the reason applications being cancelled.
5) Please provide details of the University’s policy on dealing with similarity alerts from UCAS.
1) The School does not hold any relevant information.
2) The School does not hold any relevant information.
3) The School does not hold any relevant information.
4 & 4b) There is no dedicated central record maintained of the reasons why applications are rejected. In order to provide this information, it would therefore be necessary to go through the file for each applicant to extract the relevant information. The main records relating to applications are destroyed after a year, so the information for four of the past five academic years is not held. In respect of the remaining year, there are approximately 6 – 7,000 applications made in each year.
Assuming that a member of staff spent one minute looking at each file, it would take over 100 hours to go through all the files. Based on the £25 allowed under the relevant regulations, it would therefore cost upwards of £2,500 to provide this information for one year. This exceeds the £450 ‘acceptable limit’ allowed under the regulations. Under section 12(1) of the Freedom of Information Act, the School is not obliged to provide requested information where it estimates that to do so would exceed the ‘acceptable limit’.
5) The School does not have a policy on dealing with similarity alerts. The School handles each application based on its own individual circumstances. The School’s Admissions Policy, which may be of interest to you, can be found on our website at http://www.soas.ac.uk/admin/governance/policies/file37362.pdf.