Generative AI and Referencing

The Library is working to produce further resources to support referencing of GenAI and have updated the Referencing guide: Harvard Bath.  In all situations, you will need to ensure that your students understand what constitutes acceptable use of generative AI tools in the context of your assessments.

Referencing AI in written work

Where you permit students to use generative AI in assessed work (particularly for assessment category Type B), students should be informed that they need to acknowledge how they have used it as part of their assessment submission and, if necessary, provide in-text citations.  

The guidance below does not override any specific guidance Departments may have around referencing or submission of work, and instead is intended to act as a ‘default’ approach that course teams can use as a starting point to refine further, if required. For instance, requesting that the students include the prompt(s) they have used, the output obtained, how the output was changed (e.g. submitting a track-changed copy of a word document). 

1.AcknowledgeRather than referencing each time GenAI has been used to edit a word/sentence or to provide suggestions (after all, we do not require students to reference where they have used an AI spell-checking tool or Grammarly to amend the phrasing of a sentence), the general use of generative AI can instead be acknowledged by including an ‘Acknowledgements’ section in any piece of academic work where it has been used as a tool to assist in the process of creating or refining the work.

As per our academic integrity statement, the final output, must remain the student’s own work. They must retain authorial responsibility.  
The minimum requirement to include in acknowledgements is as follows: 
  • Name and version of the generative AI system used; e.g. ChatGPT-3.5
  • Publisher (company that made the AI system); e.g. OpenAI
  • URL of the AI systemBrief description (single sentence) of context in which the tool was used. 
  • Confirmation work is the student’s own.
I acknowledge that this work is my own, and I used ChatGPT 3.5 (Open AI, to summarise my initial notes and to proofread my final draft only. 
2. Intext CitationsFirst, GenAI tools are not ‘authors’ in the traditional sense of the word, nor do they generate original ideas in and of themselves (currently!) To that end, they can not be held responsible for their output. 
Second, we wish students to learn how to use GenAI tools appropriately. This means not using such tools to draft entire passages of text (which students then try to pass off as their own), or to continually quote or paraphrase from a GenAI tool as if is some high-quality original source of received wisdom. 
However, there may be times (especially for assessment category Type C), where it is appropriate for students to provide an in-text citation. For example, where there is reference to a formally published output generated by AI, where it is required by the academic department, or where a student has not identified a primary source of the information despite the issues with relying on generative AI as a secondary source of information (which may be considered poor academic practice).  
Given the point of a reference is to point back to a retrievable source, we would suggest staff advise students, where possible, to also include a retrieval URL – not just to the tool, but to the conversation the student had with the tool itself. ChatGPT, for instance, can provide a sharable URL to the prompt/conversation – for other tools you can download the conversation and so this could be included in an appendix. 
See the Library’s guidance for Harvard and AI

Further Support

Related Articles