Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Plagiarism Detection Tools Offer a False Sense of Accuracy

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

This is not the first time someone has said this, and it won't be the last, as it becomes apparent that plagiarism tools - whether based on AI or not - are an unreliable indicator of the originality of a paper. Numerous factors play into this - that there are only so many ways to make a point, that there are various ways to reference an original source, that the reuse of a phrase may be incidental rather than core to the paper. And so on. I mean, I wrote the preceding sentences off the top of my head, after having read the article, and yet I couldn't swear that they are 100% original and would pass a plagiarism checker. Would it matter if there was some overlap? Should I check everything I write against TurnItIn? You know what would be better than a system that makes blanket assertions of cheating? A system that simply inserted a link to the original text. Then it doesn't matter what out intentions were, doesn't matter whether we used quotation marks, doesn't matter whether we were 'cheating'.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: May 18, 2024 7:03 p.m.

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