Verdict: Spare a thought for those individuals or institutions who are currently paying $10 a month, or $99 a year, for a plagiarism scanner which detects less plagiarism than most free online scanners.
|What are the subscription options? e.g. free, paid only, paid and free. If paid options, what length of subscription/price structure is offered?||Free to use on a trial basis. Recurring subscription: $10 a month; One time subscription: $2 for 1 day;|
One time subscription: $10 for 1 month;
One time subscription: $25 for 3 months;
One time subscription: $49 for 6 months;
One time subscription: $99 for 1 year.
|Maximum word count? (if any)||Online checker will only search the first 5,000 characters of each submission.|
|Resubmissions allowed? If so, is this limited?||One scan per day for unregistered users and up to five scans a day for registered users. Unlimited resubmissions for subscribers.|
|Type of scanner E.g. software download, copy and paste, upload document online. Say if multiple options are offered.||Two options offered; “Copy and Paste’ online scanner; Upload document online.|
|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; Online pdf; Electronic book.|
|File types supported E.g. doc, docx, rtf, open office, pdfs, ppts||Several file types supported including .RTF, .ODT, .PDF, .TXT, .HTML, .DOC and .DOCX.|
|Extra features? E.g. grammar checker, spelling checker||An application on the website will also check spelling but not in the same application which scans for plagiarism.|
|Support offered? E.g. phone, email etc||There is an FAQ page and a “contact” link where users can submit a query online.|
|Report / results|
|Type of report Downloadable? Shareable?||In addition to displaying search results within the web browser, these results can also be downloaded into a pdf file which can be 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||Not detected. The online scanner did not identify the online pdf which contained material that had been plagiarised.|
|Some words removed – copied and pasted from a website source||Not detected. The online scanner did not identify the website 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 webpage 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 correctly identify the electronic book which contained material that had been plagiarised—but see general observations.|
|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?|
|Plagiarisma.net’s unusual name sounds more like Tarquin’s elder sister, or perhaps the Greek God of plagiarism, but its name aside, this website offers a range of free services, including a similarity checker (where two documents can be uploaded and checked side by side) and spell checker – a service offered all year round and not just during Halloween. (Language pendants will be further delighted by a spelling mistake on its homepage, “How to avoid plagerism”).Users are asked to register, for free, to use the features on the website, and may also set up their own profile. There is the option to upgrade, with a variety of subscription packages offered, although it’s probably not worth it as registered users can scan up to five 5,000 character documents a day – plus the scanner itself is not very good – read on for more details on this.In addition to the plagiarism scanner, there are also separate scanners for Google Scholar and Google Books, and these aren’t included in the plagiarism scanner itself. Why these features aren’t combined into one search facility remains an unanswered question – no further details are provided in the FAQ (which does, as an aside, boast an impressive customer list which apparently includes Harvard University).|
The scanner works by taking the first 5,000 characters of any submission and running them through a choice of search engines – by default this is Babylon, but Google and Yahoo can also be selected. However, not all three can be selected together so each search has to be repeated three times. There are selectable options for “exact search’ and “use TOR’—although it doesn’t explain what TOR is anywhere on the website. If the document has been plagiarised, and if the site the words have been plagiarised from has been indexed by one of the search engines, this will show up in the results which appear below the search-box. There is also an option to create a PDF with these results.
The results of the online tests were surprising – the plagiarism scanner only detected plagiarism in one out of six test documents. It correctly identified the source of the first test document, which was an example of blanket plagiarism where no words had been changed or removed, but failed to detect plagiarism where words had been removed, changed or entirely paraphrased. The scanner also failed to detect blanket plagiarism from an electronic book, although the Google Books scanner on the website did detect this.
Spare a thought for those individuals or institutions who are currently paying $10 a month, or $99 a year, for a plagiarism scanner which detects less plagiarism than most free online scanners – even pasting the first couple of sentences of your document into Google itself would be more reliable than this scanner – save your pennies instead!