Canadian University Rejects Plagiarism Detection Service

The Chronicle Herald reports that Mount Saint Vincent University has outlawed the use of the popular plagiarism detection service. The service has been instituted at other Canadian Universities in the past several years due to the rise of digital plagiarism.

The announcement is timely for me as I just finished facilitating a workshop on academic integrity, digital plagiarism and intellectual property (presentation available for download). One of the things I stress throughout the workshop is that when you come to the point of policing the problem, you’ve already lost the battle. does just that … policies incidents of digital plagiarism, and I feel that resources and efforts need to be placed at earlier intervention points instead.

I’ve included a graphic from my presention to help you understand what I mean:

Intervention points for eliminating digital plagiarism

In practice, there are three approaches toward eliminating digital plagiarism. Academic integrity/character approaches, preventative approaches (e.g., assignment design, learning vs. grades, elimination of competition) and policing/detection approaches (e.g., And with these, there are three junctures for applying these approaches. I think the rest is self-explanatory.

4 thoughts on “Canadian University Rejects Plagiarism Detection Service

  1. We use the service mainly as a teaching tool. We allow students to register and submit their work and receive the report showing their degree of plagiarism. They can then modify their work in those areas that are suspect before submitting.

  2. I’ve heard of this type of use in theory, Dave. I’ve always thought that it would be an excellent way of helping students understand the practicalities of paraphrasing and citing, without crossing the line. It’s great to hear that this is something that is happening in practice. Thanks for sharing.

  3. It’s better to have solved the problem in the first two stages, but without actually carrying out the third and attempting plagiarism detection, it’s difficult to assess how effective the first two stages have actually been. I think plagiarism detection can be useful in the feedback and peace of mind that it gives to teachers who have done a good job preventing it.

  4. Pingback: Teaching and Developing Online » Blog Archive » Rejects Plagiarism Detection Service

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