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Plagiarism Detection FAQ - Staff Guide

Should I check Similarity Reports in Turnitin before marking?

Whether you consider the Similarity Reports before marking is a matter to be agreed at School level. Please discuss with your Academic Integrity Lead.

Is there an ideal or recommended % score for the similarity index?

No, whether or not work is plagiarised is always a matter for academic determination and should never be based solely on the similarity index. There is no ideal or expected level, as this can vary greatly according to the settings chosen and the nature of the assignment. A zero % match is not the ideal, as academic writing is expected to include matches and references to external sources. Indeed a zero match is highly unusual in normal practice and may result from inappropriate settings and filters, or from a deliberate attempt by the student to avoid plagiarism detection.

Should I check all assignments or just those with a percentage match detected to other sources?

All Similarity Reports should be checked.

Is there a recommended setting for exclusions on the Turnitin reports?

The recommendation is now 0% exclusions. Further advice on best practice is available.

What do I do if I find suspected plagiarism in a historic case?

If plagiarism is suspected in a historic case, advice should be sought from the Student Cases Team.

What happens when I receive a request via Turnitin to release a student paper?

Requests via Turnitin to release a student paper may be responded to. Permission has been given by students to share papers on registration and on submission of coursework, through the Declaration of Academic Integrity.

The standard declarations of academic integrity to be signed at Registration and on submission of coursework are available from Student Cases.

Since all instructors on a module receive the request, schools should agree where the responsibility for responding lies to avoid multiple responses. This person should first make a judgement as to whether a response is appropriate. If responding to a paper request, you may need to read through the text in the automatically generated email to remove any text that may identify the student, institutions or other participants. If in doubt about the efficacy of a request, advice should be sought from the Student Cases Team. No response is necessary if a decision is made to reject a paper view request.

Can I use Turnitin to run a similarity report on something other than student's work?

The Turnitin licence restricts use for checking student assessment only. As a result it's not possible for academics to run module content, their own papers or any other materials through Turnitin to utilise the plagiarism feature.


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