Verdict: Don’t spend your money here – it’s really not worth it.
|What are the subscription options? e.g. free, paid only, paid and free. If paid options, what length of subscription/price structure is offered?||Online checker may not be used without a subscription. No trial or free credits.1 submission with up to five revisions costs $50.|
|Maximum word count? (if any)||Maximum 25,000 words.|
|Resubmissions allowed? If so, is this limited?||Five resubmissions allowed.|
|Type of scanner E.g. software download, copy and paste, upload document online. Say if multiple options are offered.||File upload facility.|
|Sources checked E.g. internet, any specific journal databases mentioned, any electronic book databases such as Google docs mentioned, past submissions from other students etc||Website – no words altered; Website – some words removed; Website – some words changed;|
Website – fully paraphrased;
|File types supported E.g. doc, docx, rtf, open office, pdfs, ppts||Supported file types include .DOC, .DOCX, .RTF & .TXT.|
|Extra features? E.g. grammar checker, spelling checker||None.|
|Support offered? E.g. phone, email etc||There is a “help” section in which users can submit an online query.|
|Report / results|
|Type of report Downloadable? Shareable?||Reports are generated within the browser and these may be downloaded and shared.|
|Side by side comparison to plagiarism?||No.|
|Accuracy of results – Which sections were detected and which were not (make sure the correct source is identified)|
|Basic plagiarism – copied and pasted from a website source||Detected. The online scanner correctly identified the webpage which contained material that had been plagiarised.|
|Basic plagiarism – copied and pasted from an online pdf||Detected. The online scanner correctly identified the online pdf which contained material that had been plagiarised.|
|Some words removed – copied and pasted from a website source||Detected. The online scanner correctly identified the webpage which contained material that had been plagiarised.|
|Some words changed – copied and pasted from a website source||Not detected. The online scanner did not identify the website which contained material that had been plagiarised.|
|Full paraphrasing – copied and pasted from a website source||Not detected. The online scanner did not identify the website which contained material that had been plagiarised.|
|Basic plagiarism – copied and pasted from an electronic book||Not detected. The online scanner did not identify the electronic book which contained material that had been plagiarised.|
|General observations Ease of use, overall experience. If other features were included (e.g. spelling, grammar check), how easy were they to use and how useful were they?|
|iThenticate calls itself as a “professional plagiarism scanner” and is advertised across the internet. Its website, as might be expected, is professional looking – although it’s not as busy as some of its competitors who fill up every square centimetre with facts you ought to know.Use of their plagiarism scanner is not free, even on a trial basis, and it’s really expensive – the most expensive on the internet at the time of writing. 1 submission with up to five revisions costs a whopping $50.Once a purchase has been made the user is able to upload their document for scanning. The process is straightforward and operates like other online scanners available. When the scanner was first tested the results came back very quickly – showing 33%. At first I thought that an initial scan of the document had been carried out by the computer and that this would be followed up by some kind of human intervention. After all, $50 to use an automated system seemed incredible.|
When I came back to check a few days later, the report was still showing “33%’ and at this point I realised that 33% was its plagiarism score and had nothing do with the processing of the document. I had wrongly assumed that, for $50, a human would also carry out a number of checks; however, this was my mistake – when checking the FAQ section it was confirmed that $50 is the cost for an entirely automated plagiarism search.
During tests, the scanner only detected plagiarism in half the sample documents – about the average for both free and subscription based checkers and, significantly, it was not as reliable as some free checkers. It detected blanked plagiarism, the plagiarism of an online pdf and a plagiarised article where some of the words had been removed. It did not detect plagiarism in a document where some of the words had been changed, in a paraphrased document or in an online ebook.
Like many of the “professional” checkers which charge a fee, iThenticate’s website goes to great lengths to explain why you should purchase their scanner. “24 million webpages, 32 million pages of scholarly content items and 90+ million news pages, magazines and books” sounds great – except it failed to detect plagiarism 50% of the time in our tests.
The harshest criticism has been reserved for iThenticate’s plagiarism scanner as it’s by far the most expensive option available, at the time of writing, yet it performs less well than many free online scanners. Don’t spend your money here – it’s really not worth it.