News & Updates

Quality Assurance around Ghostwriting/Essay-Mills

by Adam Crowther | Mar 19, 2021


Dear students,


We understand that students have a number of assignments and important deadlines hanging over them. With this in mind the Quality Assurance Office at DBS would like to provide students with an update around Academic Integrity and in particular issues relating to Ghostwriting and Essay-Mills.

Please view the updates in full below:

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity can be defined as "compliance with ethical and professional principles, standards, practices and consistent system of values, that serves as guidance for making decisions and taking actions in education, research and scholarship" (NAIN Lexicon of Common Terms).


Ghostwriting/ Essay-Mills

Essay Writing Services reach out to learners offering 'assistance' with their assignments. It is important to note that these services are (1) committing academic impropriety by offering to write assignments for students (therefore breaching DBS assessment regulations), and (2) breaching Irish law, which bans essay writing services or offering these services.

To accept the help of these services would constitute a breach of our assessment regulations, and where identified, would be escalated to the Academic Impropriety Committee, with recourse to penalties up to and including withdrawal from a learner's programme.

These services try reach learners through LinkedIn (where many learners note they are studying at a particular institute), or other social media platforms, including directly through Whatsapp. This is an additional concern because it would constitute a GDPR breach if a learner's details were made available to an external agent (in this case, this breach is committed by the agency, and the individual who gave them access to another learner's details). These agencies are therefore in breach of two legal regulations, in addition to our assessment regulations. Any individual found to be providing this information would be subject to significant disciplinary and legal penalties.


Why are these services a problem?

1) The marks an assignment receives are to reflect that a learner has achieved the Learning Outcomes of the module - if this is not a learner's work, their grades are falsified, and their final award is fundamentally fraudulently achieved.
2) If it appears that a learner has passed an assignment they have not in fact passed, they may be moved to a stage of their programme which they will not be prepared for, and will subsequently fail out there.
3) If graduates leave the College with falsified awards, they will be hired on the basis of skills they do not have, and any employment may quickly be reviewed and terminated as a result.
4) A graduate with falsified results, failing to complete what their degree says they should be able to do in the workplace, will result in a devalued perception of a DBS award, not only for that graduate, but all past and future graduates, having a significant impact on other learners and their future employment prospects.
5) These services pretend to offer assistance and support, but they hide disclaimers in tucked away parts of their websites, so they try evade blame if a learner is accused of misconduct, leaving the learner to suffer from institution assessment regulation penalties.
6) These services can and have resorted to blackmail to extort money out of learners, as they are aware their service breaches education regulations, and any acceptance of their offer can be recorded and used against a learner or graduate, threatening their enrolment, or even their career after they graduate - this is a lifetime risk for any learner who accepts this service.

Where do I find acceptable supports for my academic work?

The College has a number of resources to support learners with their academic work.
The Library hosts a range of academic referencing classes and guides.
There are multiple support classes available.
SESU offers workshops for learners on a number of topics.
If assignments will be late due to Personal Mitigating Circumstances (like poor health, etc), there are the Assignment Extension Requests, or PMC processes available, on the Ticketing System.
For learner welfare support, Student Services have further resources available.

What do I do if I am approached by one of these services?

If a service or individual makes contact offering to write your assignments for you, take a screenshot of any contact information that may be included (e.g. a whatsapp profile or email address), and the message(s) they have sent you, and forward these to exams @
The College will escalate these reports to the national body dedicated to protecting academic integrity and standards in Irish Higher Education.
Once the screenshots/ details are captured, you can block the service/ individual contacting you.

We know most of our learners are undertaking their programmes within the assessment regulations, however we wished to ensure all learners are aware of the strategy these predatory services are using, to avoid being exploited, as well as ensuring the integrity of DBS awards more generally by helping us identify these services and report them to the appropriate bodies.