Using Internet based paraphrasing tools: Original work, patchwriting or facilitated plagiarism?

Ann M. Rogerson, Grace McCarthy, International Journal for Educational Integrity, Mar 03, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes
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A 'paraphrasing tool' is a piece of software which will take a sentence (or paragraph, etc) and rewrite it so that it says the same thing, but using different words or phrasing. A range of paraphrasing tools has become available online, and the authors of this paper explore whether their use constitutes a new form of plagiarism. Sometimes their use will stand out (eg. "phrasing that included 'constructive employee execution' and 'worker execution audits' for an assessment topic on employee performance reviews") but often they will not. And services like TurnItIn demonstrate "apparent inability" to identify paraphrased work. So is it plagiarism? It's not clear it is, and it's not clear it isn't.

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