News

Turnitin, Wikipedia team up on copyright

By Laura Devaney
November 2nd, 2015

Partnership runs Turnitin software on Wikipedia pages to screen for potential copyright violations

copyright-violationsTurnitin has announced a collaboration with the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that supports Wikipedia and its sister projects, and the Wikipedia community to help protect and preserve free knowledge.

Turnitin’s software now runs alongside the existing bots on English Wikipedia, helping to screen pages and identify potential copyright violations on the site.

Wikipedia’s volunteer editors aim to ensure Wikipedia is a place for accurate, reliable, and free knowledge. Over the years, wikipedians have created policies, guidelines and tools to ensure content on the encyclopedia meets high standards, including those on protecting copyrighted works.

This collaboration, which has been developed with input from members of the English Wikipedia community and the Wikimedia Foundation, now enhances that process using Turnitin’s content-matching technology.

Turnitin’s technology works along with a copy-and-paste detection program developed by the Wikipedia community named EranBot, first envisioned by Wikipedian James Heilman (User:Doc James) and later developed by Wikipedian Eran Rosenthal.

“As an openly licensed free encyclopedia, Wikipedia respects copyright the same way traditional publishers do. In fact, each contributor in our community is a copyright owner who chooses to freely license his or her own work,” said Jake Orlowitz (User: Ocaasi (WMF)), head of the Wikipedia Library, the program dedicated to helping editors access reliable sources to improve Wikipedia. “Turnitin now gives us access to a more sophisticated system for flagging potential copyright violations.”

As a result of the program, which went live on English Wikipedia in April 2015, thousands of new edits are checked each day which generates roughly 100 flags for Wikipedia editors to further investigate using Turnitin’s customized reports. Turnitin, alongside EranBot, helps maintain Wikipedia’s high content standards and guards for copyright abuse. The bot also has the unique ability to learn, so it will only become more accurate over time.

Turnitin can more deeply match content from web sources–including academic publications and journals–using its progressive algorithm. EranBot, with Turnitin technology, now looks at edits individually, and in near real-time, whereas previous technology could only evaluate entire articles. While helping catch violations, these combined tools give Wikipedia communities the ability to provide feedback to editors and further help them in understanding copyright.

The Wiki Education Foundation, which supports the use of Wikipedia in higher education contexts, is also working with Turnitin to check edits made by students developing articles through Wiki Ed’s Classroom Program. This complements Turnitin’s efforts to teach students how to differentiate quotation from citation, and how to appropriately paraphrase and use source material.

“Wikipedia is the most widely used resource in both academic and non-academic contexts,” said Chris Caren, CEO of Turnitin. “We’re excited that Wikipedia has chosen to collaborate with us, so that we can help in their effort to ensure the overall quality of their content.”

Wikipedia and EranBot:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Turnitin
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:EranBot
Wiki Education Foundation: wikiedu.org

Turnitin iThenticate: www.ithenticate.com

Material from a press release was used in this report.

About the Author:

Laura Devaney

Laura Devaney is the Director of News for eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism. When she isn't wrangling her two children, Laura enjoys running, photography, home improvement, and rooting for the Terps. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura http://twitter.com/eSN_Laura