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Turnitin system - how does it work?

brianmore 1 | 1  
Oct 22, 2006 | #1
Can anyone tell me how exactly system works? I live in the UK and our school don't use it. Is it for free (being a student, can I check if my paper is not plagiarised)? I couldn't find pricing info on their website.


beatrice    - | 68   Freelance Writer
Oct 22, 2006 | #2
As far as I know only universities or other institutions can subscribe to Turnitin system. I don't think individuals can check their papers for plagiarism. I think it's very expensive for a regular student.

Oct 22, 2006 | #3
You should read the article at Essay fraud about how Turnitin and teachers violate students' intellectual property rights.

beatrice    - | 68   Freelance Writer
Oct 22, 2006 | #4
Interesting and scary story.. For some reason I've always thought Turnitin is a non-profit "open project." I actually found out about Turnitin when I first visited website - but now I see they link out several times directly from their homepage to their commercial website ( so their "goal" has been commercialized.

OP brianmore 1 | 1  
Oct 24, 2006 | #5
So basically they store information provided by its users and then compare the results, correct? Do they also compare "live" results from web pages (just like a search engine?).
Oct 24, 2006 | #6
Yes, Turnitin also copies and stores Web content without permission. Unlike search engines, Turnitin gives absolutely nothing back to Webmasters. Turnitin just steals copies of copyrighted Web pages for their own profit, and TurnitinBot uses up Webmasters' bandwidth. You can read a lot more here:


I think Turnitin is in some serious legal trouble.
Dylan - | 130  
Oct 24, 2006 | #7
I'm in the UK too and my uni uses it on a voluntary basis. Students are given personal log-in details and encouraged to run their essays through Turnitin before handing them in.

I've never put my essays through as I don't want them stored for all eternity in Turnitin's database.

I have heard too that students have been accused of plagiarism when they've used part of one of their own essays to write a later essay (i.e. when you're building on earlier work). Seems silly that you can be accused of plagiarising yourself!
Major 38 | 1,346 ☆☆☆☆  
Oct 28, 2006 | #8
OK, this is what I've just realized. Assume an essay company writes a paper for me.

Most of these companies claim that "before sending the paper to the client, we scan papers for plagiarism using advanced anti-plagiarism software, including Turnitin".

So yet before they send me the paper, this paper is likely to be in the anti-plagiarism corporations databases and it would be of no use for me! If turnitin and such keeps the scanned papers and then my teacher runs the paper again, it will show the paper is plagiarized! LOL

Is that right?
Dylan - | 130  
Oct 28, 2006 | #9
Yes, if they do use turnitin to check for plagiarism then the essay remains in turnitin's database and if someone tried to submit that essay then it would come up as 100% plagiarised.

Which site were you referring to? They must be quite stupid if they are bragging that they were scanning essays through turnitin before selling them to students.

I've not seen any company that actually says they use turnitin software to check the essay though; the sites that I've seen all say they use some form of anti-plagiarism software to check the essay before providing it but I've not yet seen turnitin actually named as that software. I gather that access to turnitin is also quite costly and I think many essay companies are actually low budget operations (if not total scammers) so I doubt that they'd stretch to subscribing to turnitin anyway.

The essay company I like to use say they have their own anti-plagiarism software, which may or may not be true (could be running a couple of sentences through google for all I know!), and they guarantee that the essay will never be stored in an online database. It's good enough for me.
Major 38 | 1,346 ☆☆☆☆  
Oct 28, 2006 | #10
I'm not into essay writing business, but this is what I assumed when I read something like that: "We scan papers using anti-plagiarism software" - after all turnitin and similar systems is in this category, isn't it? Using a local software on your local computer should be "safe", but submitting a paper through an online software would be way too risky.
Dylan - | 130  
Oct 28, 2006 | #11
Yes, all depends what their anti-plagiarism software is ....

Any anti-plagiarism software that doesn't store a copy of the paper in its database is okay if the student is planning to submit the purchased essay in its entirety as their own work. Turnitin is the only anti-plagirism software that I'm aware of that actually stores a copy of all scanned work in its online database.

Like I said earlier, any essay company would be stupid to run papers through turnitin before selling them to students - many companies say their don't condone plagiarism but I doubt that any would want it known that they were selling you a product (an essay) that cannot be turned in as your own as they've already stored a copy in an online database that is globally available to schools, colleges and universities. It would be commercial suicide.

I'm never sure how much faith to place in anti-plagiarism guarantees. I suspect many companies don't check their writers' work at all and some may do no more than checking a couple of key sentences in google. I guess it is up to the student to check anything they buy and satisfy themselves that they are happy with the essay. I tend to use what I buy as a framework and then rewrite it so that it is more my language and style anyway - I'm sure it still counts as being plagiarised when I hand it in though.
Nov 16, 2006 | #12
Patriot Act: d=2
fraudfighter - | 10  
Apr 06, 2007 | #13
Just use, it's free.
Major 38 | 1,346 ☆☆☆☆  
Apr 06, 2007 | #14
Right, use it for free and they will use the essay you scan and/or resell it in the near future.
Apr 06, 2007 | #15
Major, you're right. owns
Dylan - | 130  
Apr 06, 2007 | #16
Interesting. I didn't know that.

I had a look on the website and couldn't see whether they say they do or don't retain essays. If they are a free service and don't retain essays in their database then I don't see what the commercial benefit to the organization is in hosting the site.

I wouldn't upload an essay here or anywhere else. You never really know what the site users are doing with the information uploaded. Imagine writing an original paper and submitting it to your uni, only to find out that or similar identified it as plagiarised because one of these paper scan sites had stored and then re-used the paper.

Maybe scammyessay would be a more apt name ;-)
Apr 06, 2007 | #17

Major 38 | 1,346 ☆☆☆☆  
Apr 07, 2007 | #18
Really, I checked their website and don't say anything about privacy. It's usually not a good sign.
fraudfighter - | 10  
Apr 09, 2007 | #19
Why do you think UK Essays own scanmyessay?
Dylan - | 130  
Apr 09, 2007 | #20
I don't know for sure that they do - but they operate from the same address.

I was looking at the website again and noticed that there is no company registration number (which UK company law requires to be published on the website if the company is a registered business) and there is no physical address. The only contact point is an email address.

So, in the absence of info on their website, I did a whois on them. The registrant of the website is:

Registrant: Ltd Ltd (

38B Church Drive
NG15 9FF
Tel: 0845 4 65 01 65

Coincidently, Academic Answers Limited (who own Degree Essays UK / / / also operate from 38B Church Drive, Ravenshead, Nottingham. Indeed, Academic Answers used this address as their official business address in a complaint they made to the Nominet UK Dispute Resolution Service.

I'm intrigued that say their software is "funded privately" so they have no reason to charge people for using their service. I find it hard to believe that a company would pay to fund the development and distribution of a free service to detect plagiarised essays without getting any economic benefit from doing this.

Did anyone else notice that at around the same time as has appeared, launched an essay bank where you can buy stored essays?

I'm sure that this is a total coincidence and that there is no connection between these two events.
Apr 09, 2007 | #21
Haha, no connection at all!
Major 38 | 1,346 ☆☆☆☆  
Apr 12, 2007 | #22
So there was a case against turnitin - there's still no verdict yet, is there?
Apr 12, 2007 | #23
No, it's early.
thewriter12 - | 4  
Oct 13, 2008 | #24
Attached on merging:

does anyone knoe if someone can turnin my essay and see if it has been plagarized??
sleepless - | 3  
Oct 23, 2008 | #25

i need to submitt my assignment to my uni and i want to check it through turnitin. is it possible anyone can lend me username and password for that as i dont have it. kindly email me at

thanks in bunddle
Oct 23, 2008 | #26
No. Only teachers and academic institutions have access.

lend me username and password

LMAO! Sure, let's all "lone" our passwords to complete strangers. Unbelievable. Would you like my SS#, too?
sleepless - | 3  
Oct 23, 2008 | #27
Well i never ment to offend you. i dont mind if you can check it for me. i
Oct 23, 2008 | #28
i dont mind

Well then, since YOU don't mind . . . .

It's not going to happen.
sleepless - | 3  
Oct 23, 2008 | #29
Thanks for your wonderful help. I hope someone else may be happy to help me.
Oct 23, 2008 | #30
I guess you don't understand, so I'll repeat:

Only teachers and academic institutions have access.

Nobody can/will give you access--end of story.
Joe1199 - | 5  
Nov 17, 2008 | #31
There is no username/password. Its through your school and you submit through your schools website
Matrick - | 4  
Dec 05, 2008 | #32
turnitinused web pages that don't even exist anymore and accused my paper of plagirism. can anyone explain this to me please?
Dec 05, 2008 | #33
Did anyone else notice that at around the same time as has appeared, launched an essay bank where you can buy stored essays?

Excellent work! This strikes me as exactly the same as how the owners/promoters of from Ukraine launched

Nothing beats a free source of incoming essays to resell!
Major 38 | 1,346 ☆☆☆☆  
Dec 05, 2008 | #34

By using the Viper software you acknowledge that Academic Answers Limited will store a copy of all documents processed by the program and documents submitted by other users will be compared to such copies and you agree that any right you may have to remuneration for such use of documents to which you hold the copyright is waived.

So when you submit your essay through their system, you basically give up copyrights to your own work; who in their right mind would voluntarily use such thing like "plagiarism scanner" or "plagiarism detector" :)
alice 2 | 62  
Dec 08, 2008 | #35
I can't believe it!!! I guess this is they way to add essays to their essay bank....
the_devill - | 10  
Sep 22, 2010 | #36
TurnItIn (UK) doesn't appear to be that intelligent - it matches sentences and words to what it holds in its databases. You can avoid spurious returns by only submitting the pertinent parts of the essay (IE: no need to include the references/bibliography page as that will result in 'hits' being found in their database).
jinny1 1 | 2  
Nov 13, 2010 | #37
turnitin is quiet expenisive
kusman - | 1  
Feb 04, 2011 | #38
Can anyone tell me whether the professor is going to submit your work to Turnin it (dissertation) in parts or just once at the end of the work? I mean for every part I show to the professor to get a feedback, will it be submitted directly to that software? Or once I complete the whole thesis , then it will be submitted?

Feb 04, 2011 | #39
kusman, it's up to the professor.

Why are people this stupid allowed in institutions of higher education?
2MockingBird 1 | 64  
Feb 05, 2011 | #40
Why are people this stupid allowed in institutions of higher education?

Because everybody else, including you, is more stupid.

Forum / General Talk / Turnitin system - how does it work?