The Essence of Plagiarism Checkers: Similar or Different?
Plagiarism detection may not be a fun, ‘sexy' edtech topic, but it is a reality we have to live with these days. I invited the folks from noplag.com to share their thoughts on the features that can make for a top quality plagiarism detection tool. Readers – if you have any comments or insights, we'd love to hear them! Thanks. – KW
These days, plagiarism may seem rampant and constantly searching to bypass all the limits – even though it is strictly punished and supposedly easy to find out. Any student paper, article, book or review can be run through a plagiarism checker, and the scanning algorithms of such software are alike: finding similarities or exact matches between the analyzed text and other sources. However, are the results provided by different plagiarism checkers going to be the same – or similar – and should these online text scanning services be categorized as the good, the not-so-good and the awesome?
How to Choose a Reliable and Efficient Plagiarism Checker
Websites that claim to offer efficient plagiarism scanning may fail to produce quality results, turning out to be slow and poor at detecting similarities or their sources. Some are not reliable or safe. Whether you need a plagiarism checker often or just sometimes, you won’t be happy using a service even once if it isn’t safe or provides inaccurate reports. What features should you look for in order to find the best and most user-friendly plagiarism detection tools?
1. Security (Read the Fine Print)
Surfing the net, you will stumble upon plenty of these websites – offering a variety of writing services or text scanning only – paid or free, or seeming to balance somewhere in between… Just like that popular line suggests, “some of them are very friendly… some are friendly, some are not”. True, not all web pages that look like text checking boxes are safe to paste your text there – some will scrape and swallow your work like carnivorous plants, doing just the opposite of what they promise, breeding more plagiarism instead of helping to prevent it. One of such free plagiarism detecting websites clearly states it in its terms of service that when you scan a text, you grant this service a right to post it to essay mill websites 9 months after the completion of your scan – such is the form of payment for your ‘free’ plagiarism check. However, you still retain copyright to your work, but another site claims you grant them an irrevocable license to do whatever they want with the work you upload for scanning. Free isn’t always exactly free, but who reads these terms anyway, right? Security of everything you submit online is extremely important, that’s why it tops this list. It pays to carry out some preliminary investigations before using any ‘free’ online services.
2. Multiple Sources to Check against – Web, Public and Private Repositories
The report of a reliable plagiarism checker should be detailed, based on the results of checking billions of sources and relying on multiple search engines. While every plagiarism checker displays the percentage of similarity or originality, not all of them provide a detailed report with references to potential sources of plagiarism. Those poor folks who have received such non-informative reports are probably the ones searching and asking all over the Internet what to do with these percentages. A quality plagiarism checker shouldn’t make you search elsewhere for information on how to use it and how to interpret its report. This should be clearly explained on the website, or by customer service specialists if someone still has questions.
3. Multiple File Formats
People use various file formats when writing papers. Therefore, a good plagiarism checker should support the majority of formats (such as doc, docx, html, rtf, txt, odt or pdf). This feature simplifies the process of checking, as users don’t have to spend time on converting files from one format to another or on copy-pasting lengthy papers.
4. Comprehensive Plagiarism Report
Along with the total percentage of similarities found in a plagiarism report, it can give you an individual percentage of similarity for every source matched. In addition to highlighting the fragments of matched text in red, yellow or other color, some plagiarism checkers use several colors at the same time, thus color-coding your report to alert you to different problems, such as poor paraphrasing and ‘good’ or ‘bad’ quotes. Whether this feature is more helpful or distracting is a matter of personal preferences, but it does make some plagiarism detection tools seem different from others. While some may find it visually or personally appealing, it still doesn’t solve the main problem of plagiarism reports: flagging sections of text as plagiarism even though they are quoted, making people try to roughly calculate the percentage of actual plagiarism as a fraction of the grand total. So read on about an automated feature doing this, which is certainly very helpful – and found only with the best plagiarism checkers like Noplag.
5. Smart Plagiarism Checker
This feature comprises such options as:
- Citations and References Detection
- Profound Analysis per Your Settings and Preferences
Citations and references detection is an indispensable feature for those who write research papers and use citations in their essays or other documents. Its main goal is to evaluate the citations as independent markers of language when detecting plagiarism. Various checkers use various algorithms to analyze the citation sequence.
The second option allows users to change the settings of the checker in accordance with their preferences (for instance, changing the amount of search engines)
6. Downloading and Sharing Reports
This option lets you easily share the results of your originality check with teachers, employers or other people who may be interested in it. If anyone would like to see these results, you can easily download the report and send it to any person you wish.
7. Custom Library
This feature is very useful for people whose work is related to writing articles, reviews, etc. When you have to write 20 or 40 similar articles, this feature will allow you to check the uniqueness of one text against the other one. You can create your own library of files and check new documents against it.
8. Free Checks
With all the security, customer service and development costs a reliable plagiarism checker isn’t going to be free. Quality and freebies are often not even distant relatives, as many of us may have already learned. However, it makes perfect sense for a top quality scanner to give both its regular users and newcomers some free checks. The former will feel rewarded for their loyalty, while the latter will have an idea of what they are paying for before making a decision to pay. Anybody who’s been there knows that it’s convenient to try a service for free before buying a subscription. Noplag offers you a special newbie account to try checking your content for free before you join 50 thousands users who are happy with Noplag services.