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Text-matching software: Turnitin.com

Turnitin is an Internet-based service created at the University of California, Berkeley. Essentially, Turnitin scans submitted works for similarity to material in public web-sites, academic journals, papers purchased from an essay mill, etc., and to essays and assignments concurrently or previously submitted to Turnitin, which are stored in a database. Through Turnitin, matches of as few as 8 consecutive words can be detected. After scanning, sections of a submission are outlined in colour in an originality report to the course instructor.

Turnitin does not determine if plagiarism has occurred. The determination of a potential breach of academic honesty and the decision to proceed with a charge is made entirely by the professor.

Turnitin is available to all full-and part-time York instructors for their use on a voluntary basis. Although intended to encourage students to prepare assignments in an academically acceptable manner, Turnitin is only one of the tools that can be used to enhance academic integrity in courses. Many articles emphasize the need to promote academic integrity through a variety of academic and policy mechanisms which include ensuring that the principles of natural justice and fairness are maintained (see for example the Oxford Brookes University report on Plagiarism ).