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Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.

The plagiarism-checking software iThenticate is being made available to the UNC research community. We recommend using iThenticate as a writing tool to help ensure that scholarly and research documents such as manuscripts, theses, dissertations, and grant applications follow proper citation practices. Documents should be evaluated prior to submission to journals, funding agencies, or academic repositories.

The process for using iThenticate is simple and relatively fast, taking only about 5-15 min to scan each document.

  1. iThenticate users upload a document into their private cloud-based iThenticate accounts.
  2. iThenticate compares all text in that document to the text from an extensive and continually updated library of published materials and websites.
  3. iThenticate generates an interactive report to highlight the text from the user’s document that match text from outside published texts.

This report can be exported and provides an overall similarity score, the percentage of the user’s document that matches text from the library of published materials. Evaluation entails reviewing each of the identified similarities in the text and identified source document to determine which require correction. Once the text is corrected, you can upload a new version and scan again to determine if each of the true positive similarities have been resolved.

iThenticate offers training videos, a user guide, and a comprehensive list of FAQs through their website.

How iThenticate can help you

If you are faculty, a postdoctoral fellow, or research staff: iThenticate helps you detect un-cited or improperly cited material in manuscripts, grant proposals or other written documents so that you can correct the text before it is submitted. This is particularly useful because publishers and funding agencies, such as NSF and NIH, use plagiarism detection tools to screen manuscripts or grants upon submission.

You can use iThenticate to screen student dissertations, theses and final papers before submission or committee review. If you do so, you must be transparent and inform students in advance.

If you are a graduate student: iThenticate can serve as a learning tool, to help you identify sections of your writing that may need additional editing or re-writing when the tool detects matches to other published texts.

You can use iThenticate to screen dissertations, theses, and other research and scholarly works before submission or committee review.

Special thanks to the Duke Office of Scientific Integrity for assistance in developing this guide, and to Vincent Van Der Pas for the header photo (CC BY-SA 2.0).