I am currently taking a class where the instructor requires us to upload our assignments to Turnitin.com. The purpose of doing this is to generate an “Originality Report” that is turned in along with our assignments.
The Originality Report is basically a fancy marketing term for when the service searches the text of your submission and matches it with various other sources across the web, ostensibly to prevent blatant plagiarism.
We are then expected to make changes to our original assignment that will increase our “Originality Score,” resubmit the paper to Turnitin.com, and then re-generate our originality report which, ideally, is more original than our first submission.
There are several reasons why I despise this practice and especially hate Turnitin.com.
To begin, by submitting my work to Turnitin.com, I am resigning any control over the electronic copy of the work that I have just created. Turnitin.com can now use my paper as an ongoing reference to check any future submissions.
To combat this loss of control, I have uploaded my first submission, “Data Modeling – Conceive, Collaborate, Create,” to my portfolio page. You can also link directly to the PDF here. Since my work is now going to be floating around the internet and undoubtedly appearing in countless other “Originality Reports,” I figured that I should at least try to get some of the credit.
The second reason why I hate Turnitin.com is the fact that their product, this so-called “Originality Report,” produces nothing of value. For the paper linked above, there were 12 instances where Turnitin.com reported that my text matched 1% of an internet source. 1%!? Is 1% even worth noting? What am I supposed to do to reduce 1% matches with 12 internet sources? Some of the phrasing denoted is only three words long, and in the middle of a sentence. It’s highly likely that some other author and I just happened to pair the same three words in the same order. In fact, I’m actually surprised that there were only 12 1% matches. With 1500 words, I would expect many more 1% hits to pop up.
Finally, the thing that makes Turnitin.com a totally worthless service is the fact that I must now wait 24 hours to receive my second “Originality Report.” See below:
Now what? I’m not sure why this “feature” is included. If I am trying to reduce my instances of “plagiarism,” and I have already uploaded one copy, what does Turnitin.com have to gain from making me wait? Isn’t the point that I’m able to see where my “Originality Report” is less than original, and then make the changes?
Enjoy hoarding my paper for the rest of time, Turnitin.com. In the meantime, I’ll be here waiting for my next 1% match with the entire Internet.