links for instructors
To help understand the
extent of the problem, see:
Plagiarism in an On-Line World" --an article with useful
suggestions and further links (created by Julie J.C.H. Ryan, a graduate
teaching assistant at George Washington University).
Suggestions for identifying
"cyberweasels"--and for adopting a pedagogical approach to this problem
--a good place to start. The site from which this evolved was developed
and run by a student, Greggory Senechal (from Carleton University in Ottawa),
which should help counter the cynicism that this problem engenders. When
Senechal graduated the site was taken over (and modified) by volunteers.
Harris makes some good suggestions in "VirtualSalt."
Leland's plagiarism site makes some good suggestions
and includes links to help show the extent of the problem.
Free programs and suggestions
for identifying "cyberweasels:"
* Note: Recent
articles in the Chronical and other sources have suggested that
there is a questionable relationship between these sites and certain on-line
Bloomfield's research persuades me that this is not a problem;
however, I am deeply troubled by the issue of intellectual property connected
with many of these sites. See below.
You can also
try typing a distinctive phrase into your
favorite search engine and following the leads it gives you. I have
found a simple Alta Vista search to be very productive (it found the correct
source in each trial, even when I used quite unremarkable phrases).
sure you search for the phrase rather than each individual word and
that you use quotation marks around the phrase!!
Issues of concern with some plagiarism software
Those you pay for (individual
and site licenses)
Verification Engine (EVE)-- This program requires students to hand
in papers electronically and checks them automatically against papers available
This program requires students to hand in papers electronically and checks
them automatically against papers avaialable on-line and in a database
of papers. The company keeps a copy odf each paper it checks to add
to its database. (*see below).
it is important to identify both accidental plagiarists and "cyberweasels"
so that we can teach them to use sources correctly while they are in college
(rather than their learning the hard way when they are famous authors),
many of these sites seem to many Writing Program Administrators and writing
teachers to run roughshod over the rights of ALL students. A representative
of Turnitin.com recently explained to me that when a university signs a
contract with this company, it signs over the intellectual property rights
of all student papers to the company. He assured me that while the
papers are indeed kept on file by the company, they are "only used to catch
plagiarists." I do not believe that any university has the right
to sign over student's intellectual property rights. This is especially
troubling if students are unwittingly giving papers to companies that then
use them to support thir own proffits (part of Turnitin.com's pitch is
that in addition to checking the Internet for copied material they also
have a "huge database of student papers." They charge colleges and
universities to use this database but they do not reimburse the students
for papers they are often required to submit to the service by universities
that have signed the contract). Hopefully someone will challenge
this issue in the courts soon! In the meantime, if you are thinking
of paying for a service like this, I recommend EVE,
which does not keep copies of papers it checks. Ideally, though,
I think we should address this issue pedagogically.
If you want to read
more about this, check out
Reviews of online
plagiarism detection services:
Books and articles about
Sandra Jamieson, Drew University.
Please tell me
about other sites I should include here.
Last updated, March 2002.