UBC Home Page -
UBC Home Page -
UBC Home Page UBC Home Page -
News Events Directories Search UBC myUBC Login
- -
UBC Public Affairs
UBC Reports
UBC Reports Extras
Goal / Circulation / Deadlines
Letters to the Editor & Opinion Pieces / Feedback
UBC Reports Archives
Media Releases
Services for Media
Services for the Community
Services for UBC Faculty & Staff
Find UBC Experts
Search Site

UBC Reports | Vol. 47 | No. 15 | October 4, 2001

Web service aimed at rewarding honesty

Initiative focused on reinforcing academic integrity as a core value to students

by Don Wells staff writer

UBC students who are tempted to plagiarize by copying text from Internet sources without citations may soon be required to change their ways.

UBC has joined a growing list of universities who subscribe to TurnItIn.com, a U.S.-based Web site that maintains massive databases to check submitted papers for originality. The Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration's MBA program uses the service, which may soon be used by other faculties.

UBC's subscription is in response to growing concerns expressed by faculty and students about the ease with which students can directly copy sources, or obtain essays on the Internet, says Neil Guppy, associate vice-president, Academic Programs.

Guppy also sees the service as a tool to reinforce academic integrity as a core value of the university.

"There must be more to our approach to dealing with the issue of plagiarism than merely using technology to detect, catch and punish," says Guppy.

"We also need to work with faculty and students to sensitize them to what plagiarism is and find ways of reducing it."

Guppy advocates a university-wide approach to providing students with the tools to become better writers and researchers, including the enforcement of acceptable standards for citing sources, and designing other forms of assessment to minimize the temptation to plagiarize.

After wide consultation with deans and AMS representatives, he is now fine-tuning the steps towards broader implementation.

"I don't think it would be acceptable to evaluate students by this service without first informing them that TurnItIn will be used, most properly through a course outline," he says. "We should also respond consistently across faculties and departments to incidents of academic misconduct."

Currently, there is a wide range of penalties for academic misconduct. Like many universities, UBC has traditionally allowed faculty members discretion in the conduct of their courses and in addressing the issue.

When the misconduct consists of plagiarism, the faculty member may assign a zero credit to the student.

Designed by a Berkeley professor, TurnItIn scans papers submitted for material copied from public Web sites, papers purchased from "paper mills," essays and assignments previously submitted to TurnItIn, and works published in academic journals.

Students up-load their paper to a password-protected Web site or electronically submit it to instructors. Software scans it and reports on originality. Instances of copying are flagged in a report, which faculty can review.

UBC, the University of Western Ontario, Berkeley, UCLA, Duke and Rutgers are among the universities using the service.

More information



Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

to top | UBC.ca » UBC Public Affairs

UBC Public Affairs
310 - 6251 Cecil Green Park Road, Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z1
tel 604.822.3131 | fax 604.822.2684 | e-mail public.affairs@ubc.ca

© Copyright The University of British Columbia, all rights reserved.