Plagiarism detection systems

These interfaces are typically online-based systems that support the detection and prevention of plagiarism and academic dishonesty. Detection systems usually consist of large database archives of previously-submitted work, current and archived Internet websites, and work submitted by a student's peers. These programs analyze the student's submitted paper against this massive databank, and typically provide a report scoring the originality and potential of plagiarism in a student's work.


One of the leading plagiarism detection systems in use today is Turnitin. This software package compares a user's submitted file to all similar files in the company's massive database. When the analysis is complete, the instructor is provided with an easy-to-read report that illustrates what percentage of the student's paper Turnitin considers to be original work. A sample report can be seen here. An important feature of this detection software is its compatability and integration with learning management systems (LMS's). By linking with software suites such as Blackboard, WebCT, and even open-source LMS programs such as Moodle, Turnitin offers educational institutions a simple, seamless method to accept, evaluate, and check the integrity of student work.

In an article from 2002 The Chronicle for Higher Education points out some negative feedback regarding the use of Turnitin. Turnitin adds submitted work to its database of information to check against for plagiarism and some feel that this may be a violation of copyright law. In this article John Barrie, the creator of Turnitin, states that "In no way do we diminish students' ability to market their work," and claims Turnitin effectively helps to protect the work of students.

This article points out that not all plagiarism detection services add submitted work to their databases, but rather search websites, journals, and other published works for similarities as noted above.


Although not as sophisticated as other PDSs, "Googling" has been showing in studies to be an effective an inexpesive tool in checking for plagiarism. This was reported on by the Technology Learning Council at Huntington University. For schools without access to the more expensive systems, training in how to use Google as an effective plagiarism detection system should be given.

The Cultural Plagiarism Revolution:

A March 1, 2004 report indicates that two New York Times editors resigned for their rolls in reporter Jayson Blair's plagiarism and fabrication of facts in stories for the Times. The story illustrated just how dangerous and easy it is to plagiarise. It also illustrated how prevalent it has become in the information age and it is not just limited to educational institutions. iThenticate is a program that is being marketed to not only education institutions but also to corporations, government entities, and lawyers.

Here is a video that discusses the Ann Culter allegations:

Here you see even Washington has gotten caught up in the issue:

Even these videos that were found on YouTube would probably be deemed copyright infringement!!!