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Did you know that you have the right to refuse to use Turnitin.com?

Turnitin.com is a for-profit service that scans assignments for potential sources of plagiarism. Assignments are checked against other internet sources, including papers submitted to Turnitin.com by students. Once students submit their assignments, these assignments become a part of the Turnitin.com database.

Educational institutions purchase Turnitin.com service using student money and then help promote the Turnitin.com database growth by asking students to submit their assignment to Turnitin.com. Essentially, this service uses your intellectual property for profit. Many institutions, such as Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Dalhousie, have decided against using Turnitin.com for this reason.

After students submit their assignment to Turnitin.com, the assignments are matched against any other sources in the Turnitin.com database, including assignments submitted in the past, internet sources, online books, newspapers and journals. Subsequently, an “originality report” is created that shows any duplication in the assignment.

It is an absolute must that students know how to reference correctly since incorrect or incomplete use of quotations will indicate these sections as suspicious in the originality report. Turnitin.com does not take into account incorrect referencing or work that was not purposely plagiarized. However, many students are not professionals in terms of utilizing referencing techniques especially for students who do not use certain citation styles on a regular basis. Referencing errors could lead to serious charges of plagiarism and academic misconduct, which could affect your entire academic career.

It is important to note that students have the right to refuse to submit their work to Turnitin.com despite instructions from their instructor. If an instructor requires students to submit assignments to Turnitin.com, he or she must provide the following:

1. A course outline that states whether Turnitin.com will be used in the course. 

2. If so, the syllabus should indicate an alternative option and clearly state that the use of Turnitin.com is not mandatory.

Other Universities who have stood up against Turnitin.com:

A McGill student won an academic appeal case after he was assigned a failing grade for refusing to submit his assignment to Turnitin.com:




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