Academics rely on each other's work to create new ideas, new theories, and to advance their field. A new theory will be more readily accepted if it can be backed up someone else's accepted previous research. In turn, a theory is considered more reliable the more times people use it, test it, and build upon it, adding new evidence to support it. In order for this to work, everyone has to be able to trust that the authors are being honest about what research they have done and where they found their information. Without this trust, the entire system breaks down. If you can’t trust your sources, you can't learn from them. You can't build on them. With no trust, a field cannot thrive.
Practising academic integrity guarantees this basic level of trust. It makes sure, at the very least, that everyone is being truthful about their findings, theories and sources.
Even though it's widely held that academic integrity is very important to the health of any academic or creative community, there are still many examples of what happens when academic integrity breaks down. Here is a list of just a few examples of what happens when academic integrity breaks down.