Trends in Plagiarism for 2017-2018

Jonathan Bailey, in one of his August article published in Plagiarism Today, gives us five trends for the coming school year around the issue of plagiarism.  The first one is about essay mills which are about to get a lot more attention from schools but also from goverment who will try to shut them down. The second trend will focus on the issue of students’ privacy when submitting their work to a detection software.

I’m baffled by the next trend which will integrate plagiarism detection into the evaluation process « making it more akin to checking for grammar or spelling mistakes« . I think that a teacher who finds plagiarism would stop the evaluation process since the paper cannot be graded if it has been plagiarised… The student must have consequences from redoing the paper completely or partially to getting an F.

Fourth trend: plagiarism detection technology will be integrated into the writing process. Students will revise and correct their papers and check for plagiarism before handing it in. For students who use this software to check their paper, it will be reassuring to know that they have written their essays without mistakenly plagiarizing.

The last trend is a growing intolerance for plagiarism. While that is hardly surprising, what is really sad to see is that there is no trend on better educating our students on what is plagiarism and how to avoid doing it.


Using Automatic Paraphrasing to Avoid Plagiarism

What will students do to avoid plagiarism? Using automatic paraphrasing according to an article in Plagiarism Today (Jonathan Bailey, 23rd of March, 2017) produces sentences that « barely make sense » yet more and more students rely on it. Basically, what the tools do is swap words for synonyms with results like this sentence  » The cat rode on the boat » being transformed into these: « The feline used the ship./ The tabby floated on the trawler. / The calico sailed on the vessel. » The author mentions that this is cheating. I don’t agree because the students can use the tools to paraphrase and give their reference. This is not cheating. However, the outcome is that students, while not plagiarizing by coping and pasting, are still not learning how to write proper sentences.

If you are curious about trying an automatic paraphrasing tool, you can go to this website:





Essay mills undermine students’ achievement

More and more students are buying themselves a university diploma. It’s not cheap but it certainly is easy. Yet another article about essay mills (Daniel Maxwell, Asian Correspondant, ‘Essay mills’ damage academic standards, undermine learner achievement) laments the fact that students are not learning as much as they could if they wrote their own papers. One solution proposed is the criminalization of buying a paper and submitting it as your own. « University students caught submitting essays they bought online will be fined and receive a criminal record ».

So much time, money and effort will be spent trying to catch these students. Let’s spend the money trying to teach them how to write instead. Let’s invest in writing centers, tutorials and students will develop the skills to write their own papers…

Outils gratuits pour repérer le plagiat

Dans son article, Clémence Jost (ArchiMag, 01-03-2017, Plagiat : 3 outils gratuits pour repérer les copiés-collés) présente trois outils gratuits pour repérer le plagiat. Attention, ce ne  sont pas des outils pour le professeur qui veut détecter le plagiat dans les travaux de ses étudiants mais des outils pour vérifier si quelqu’un d’autre s’est approprié votre contenu ou vos images.

Avec Positeo, vous pourrez vérifier si le contenu de votre site web se retrouve dans d’autres pages web. PlagSpotter fait à peu près la même chose tandis que Pixsy permet de repérer les utilisations illégales de vos images, et photos. Vous pouvez donc commencer à défendre vos droits d’auteur avec ces outils!

Merci à Jacky de m’avoir recommandé cet article!


Professeurs en guerre?


Dans son article sur PlagScan publié le 13 octobre 2016, Fidel Navamuel présente cet outil comme « l’arme fatale contre le plagiat« . « Autant dire que c’est un outil que certains de vos étudiants ne vont pas aimer. Ne pas aimer du tout« . Tout au long de l’article, l’auteur a recours à des expressions comme redoutable efficacité, passages douteux ou litigieux, juger de la sincérité… C’est à croire que les professeurs sont en guerre contre les étudiants.

P.S. L’outil n’est pas gratuit.

In this French article, the author Fidel Navamuel presents a new tool to detect plagiarism using vocabulary that indicates that teachers are at war with students… Is that the impression we want to give or do we want to teach them something?