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When writing a scientific text, for example, as part of your degree project, you need to know the basic principles of academic writing. It is important that you reference, cite and use sources in a correct and consistent manner so that the source of your information is clear. You must clearly differentiate your own reasoning from that of others. The failure to reference correctly may result in plagiarism.

Manuals for Referencing Styles

In order to correctly apply a reference style, you may need to use a manual. The library holds printed manuals, for example, the Chicago Manual of Style, MLA Handbook and the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. You may also use the following freely available manuals, however keep in mind that these are not as detailed as the printed manuals.

Chicago Style
Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide online

MLA (Modern Language Association)
Purdue OWL: MLA Formatting and Style Guide

APA (Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association)
Purdue OWL: APA Formatting and Style Guide

What is the Harvard system?

According to Professor Eli Chernin, the Harvard system is a way of citing references by author and publication year in parentheses in the text of scientific articles. He calls this method the author-year system (The "Harvard System" : A mystery dispelled). If you want to use an author-year system when you are writing an academic text, you can use e. g. APA.

Reference Management Programmes

There are several different programmes available for managing references. These programmes enable you to retrieve reference from different databases and collate them in pdf format. You can also for example, create citations and literature lists in your documents, allowing you to keep better track of your references. Below are two reference management programmes we recommend.

Zotero – for students
Zotero is a reference management programme that you can download for free. 

EndNote – for staff
The university provide access to staff members wishing to use EndNote. EndNote guides provide help with getting started and using the programme. In order to download EndNote to your computer, send an email to inkop@du.se together with a requisition so that the University can purchase the programme for you.

Contact the library at bibinfo@du.se if you need help with EndNote or Zotero.


When you create a work, for example, your dissertation, it is automatically protected by the Copyright Act (1960:72). You are therefore entitled to determine how your work may be used. Others are not entitled to claim the content of your work as their own, disseminate it or copy it freely. When you use other people's work, it is important that you also abide by copyright laws.

Rules for Copying

The right to copy is limited according to the Copyright Act. Students and teachers have the right to copy and disseminate copyrighted material for educational purposes since the university has license agreement with Bonus Copyright Access. The license does not entitle you to copy and disseminate audio or moving image files.

How much digital material are you permitted to copy and disseminate?
You may download, photograph or print out a maximum of 15 A4 pages of digital material per item, student/teacher and calendar year.

How much printed material are you permitted to copy and disseminate?
For printed material, the 15/15 rule applies. This means that you can copy and scan up to 15 percent, but no more than 15 pages per item, student/teacher and calendar year.You may however copy up to three extra pages if necessary in order to complete a section.

How much are teachers permitted to copy?
Teachers are permitted to copy material for their students according to the 15/15 rule so that students receive their copies and the teacher may retain some copies. You may also make a paper copy of a book without considering the 15/15 rule, however you are not permitted to copy and save the book in digital form.


Plagiarism is the act to taking someone else's work and passing it off as your own. Plagiarism is considered a violation of proper academic practice and may lead to the suspension of your studies. To avoid plagiarism, it is important that you reference and cite correctly when using other people's texts.

Refero is a web-based teaching tool that helps you understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. You may also find the Urkund plagiarism manual useful. 

At Dalarna University, teachers use SafeAssign to check for cases of plagiarism in students' work (manual SafeAssign (pdf)).

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