Turnitin Debunks Myths Surrounding Plagiarism on the Web

Social networks and educational sites are the top sources for unoriginal content in student papers

OAKLAND, Calif. – April 28, 2011 – iParadigms, creators of Turnitin and the leader in originality checking and plagiarism prevention, today announced the results of a new plagiarism study which shows that social and user-generated web sites are the most popular resources for student copying, followed by academic and homework-related sites. Surprisingly, cheat sites and paper mills comprised less than 15 percent of the total resources used and showed the most significant decline over the period examined.

The study examined which Internet sites students rely on for unoriginal content in their written work by classifying 110 million content matches in 40 million student papers that were submitted to Turnitin over a ten-month period (June 2010 to March 2011). The study does not determine if the cites were correctly sourced, only that the material matched existing material in Turnitin’s index of more than 14 billion pages of web site content.

“Students are being raised in a digital culture where sharing, re-using and copying is routine,” says Chris Harrick, vice president of marketing at Turnitin. “Educators face a challenge in educating students that originality matters when it comes to critical thinking and writing. Plagiarism prevention services such as Turnitin can reduce unoriginal content in student writing by 50-75 percent while helping to develop students’ critical thinking and writing skills.”

The full study, entitled “Plagiarism: Myths and Realities,” can be downloaded at

The study findings include:

 Plagiarism is going social
One-third of all content matched in the study is from social networks, content sharing or question-and-answer sites where users contribute and share content.

 Legitimate educational sites are more popular than cheat sites
One-quarter of all matched material is from legitimate educational web sites, almost double the number that comes from paper mills or cheat sites.

 15 percent of content matches come directly from sites that promote and benefit from academic dishonesty
Paper mills and cheat sites are the third most popular category for matched content.

 Wikipedia is the most popular site for matched content
Wikipedia remains the most popular single source for student-matched content on the Web, comprising seven percent of matches in the months examined. The other most popular sites, in order, are,,,,,,

 Educators with the knowledge and tools can address the growing problem
Educators who employ the proper tools and technologies can significantly mitigate plagiarism. For example, institutions with widespread adoption of Turnitin see a reduction in unoriginal content of 30 to 35 percent in the first year. By the fourth year, many institutions see levels of unoriginality fall by up to 70 percent.

About iParadigms LLC
iParadigms, LLC is the world’s leading provider of web-based solutions for plagiarism prevention. The company’s products include Turnitin, used by educators worldwide to check students’ papers for originality, to enable web-based peer review and for digital grading of student work. iParadigms’ iThenticate solution is the leader in plagiarism detection in research, publishing and many other commercial markets. The company’s solutions check millions of documents each month and are used in over 100 countries. iParadigms is headquartered in Oakland, CA with an international office located in Newcastle, United Kingdom. iParadigms is backed by Warburg Pincus. and

iParadigms Media Contact:
Chris Harrick, Vice President of Marketing
Phone: +(1) 510.764.7579

Christine Allman
Phone: +(1) 410.975.9638

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