How Plagiarism Happens

With the rise of the internet plagiarism has gotten dramatically easier for students. So college administrators have gotten really concerned about work students turn in that they haven’t actually done.

Perhaps the most dramatic examples of academic dishonesty comes in the form of academic paper mills, businesses that write student papers in exchange for payment. Well according to a new study by Turnitin, a plagiarism detector company, the paper mills aren’t really that significant. As the paper explains:

One-third of all content matched in the study is from social networks, content sharing or question-and-answer sites where users contribute and share content. One-quarter of all matched material is from… educational web sites, almost double the number that comes from paper mills or cheat sites. [Only] 15 percent of content matches come directly from sites that promote and benefit from academic dishonesty Paper mills and cheat sites are the third most popular category for matched content.

The most common source of plagiarized material is Wikipedia.

Is this news to most academic institutions? It seems unsurprising that plagiarism mostly comes from sources students can access for free.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer