The Oxbridge Editing Blog 5th October 2023

Five Tips for Avoiding Being Falsely Accused of AI Use

5th October 2023
Speak right now to our live team of English staff

When editing your academic work, you may contemplate using AI to ease your workload. However, knowing that universities use screening mechanisms to penalise AI-assisted edits may make you worried. The potential risk of being detected and penalised may deter you from using this approach. Yet, the apprehension doesn’t end here. Even without the use of AI, you can find yourself falsely accused of its use, as discussed in the previous post. This post will explore five tips for avoiding being falsely accused of AI use.

1. Follow university guidance on AI use

Most universities have guidelines on acceptable AI use. In the context of academic editing, this may include restrictions on using AI for checking grammar and spelling, enhancing content, and proofreading your work, as these could undermine the development of your writing skills. Be aware of these guidelines and make sure you communicate your understanding of them if somebody wrongly suspects you of AI use.

2. Keep artefacts of your editing process

When you edit an academic paper, you’ll naturally brainstorm on how to refine and enhance existing content. You’ll probably have to edit and change your paper a few times before it’s finished. A great way to protect yourself from being accused of using AI is to keep your brainstorming notes, drafts, and revisions. These materials are proof that you have edited the work yourself. Keep these and show them to your professors if they falsely accuse you of AI use.

3. Follow content requirements

Your professor will give you clear requirements that your academic work must fulfil. Usually, these requirements are quite specific and your academic edit will be tailored to meet them. Note that AI cannot fully comply with such detailed requirements. By ensuring that you meet them in full, you can substantiate the authenticity of your edited work, differentiating it from content generated by AI.

4. Cite AI use

If you decide to use AI when editing academic work, such as to re-write paragraphs and check spelling and grammar, be sure to cite it! Current guidelines state that any use of AI should be clearly explained in a footnote. If you include a footnote of this kind, you will protect yourself from being penalised for AI use and falsely suspected of using it to edit the whole work.

5. Make sure your own style stands out

An academic paper written and edited by you will be in your own style and voice. This unique voice and style will run through all papers you have submitted to a university. To avoid being falsely accused of AI use, ensure that your style and voice are evident in the work you have edited. Your professor can then compare your new paper to the ones you submitted previously and conclude that the work was indeed produced by you.

A key message

In the era of increased use of AI detection, you may get easily accused of having used AI even though this accusation is false. This is because AI detection is unreliable and results in high false positive rates. This blog post offered valuable advice for protecting yourself from these baseless accusations and demonstrating the genuineness of your academic edits. In our next post, we will explore five ways AI can help you edit your work while maintaining your academic integrity.