Anti-Plagiarism Software

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I have recently been asked to research the use of anti-plagiarism software used by law schools.

Fortunately, I found a great guide on the Educause website that compares all the software: http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/SER07017B.pdf 

I posted my question to Teknoids as well as emailing it persons in several law schools.  Here is what I found out:

Turnitin seems to be the most popular.  It is used by the following law schools:

  •  Christ College of Law

  • Law School, University of Bloomington

  • Pepperdine – School of Law

  • University of Arizona, College of Law

  • George Mason University, School of Law

  • St. John’s University – School of Law

  • Walsh College of Law, American University

  •  California Western School of Law

  • Barry University, School of Law

  • College of Law, Syracuse University

  • New York Law School

  • Cardoza School of Law, Yeshiva University

  • School of Law, Campbell University

  • University of Colorado at Boulder, School of Law

  • American University, Washington College of Law

  • Wake Forest

  • St. John’s University 

  • Western New England College

  • University of Oklahoma

  • Villanova

Here are some of the issues with Turnitin:

In September 2006: [T]hree professors at Grand Valley State University in Michigan posted a letter online arguing that Turnitin “makes questionable use of student intellectual property.” The University of Kansas last week decided to let its contract with Turnitin expire because of cost and intellectual property concerns. And the intellectual property caucus of the Conference on College Composition and Communication, an organization of 6,000 college-level educators, is debating whether such services “undermine students’ authority over the uses of their own writing” and make them feel “guilty until proven innocent,” according to a draft position statement.

One law school that uses Turnitin responded:

“I always warn our professors that Turnitin rarely, if ever, picks up law school plagiarism. My experience has been that a prof needs to log into Westlaw (or Lexis) and take a significant amount of time punching in suspect phrases in their TP-ALL database. I’ve unfortunately have had to do this for some articles that have been turned in for my courses. I found the original articles eventually, but it took hours of detective work. However, I don’t think many of our profs have the time or inclination to do this much searching. “

Another said:

“I created a document that was entirely plagiarized from law reviews and court opinions.  Neither Turnitin nor Eve caught any of the plagiarism.”

Yet another replied:

“We use Turnitin.  It has worked well, but we have experienced the following problems: Lack of scanning of law related databases.”

 Of course, there is always the students’ opinion:

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