Turnitin, the global leader in plagiarism checking, has joined with the information company ProQuest in a move which adds about 300,000 dissertations into its database, while giving ProQuest clients access to a much wider range of material.
"The partnership between Turnitin and ProQuest is a breakthrough for scholarly researchers," said Chris Caren, president and CEO of Turnitin.
"ProQuest dissertations, combined with the 110 million content items from leading scholarly publishers in the Turnitin Research database, provides scholarly researchers one authoritative destination for checking their work for originality before publication."
Plagiarism is a major problem for academic institutions. A recent survey of over 1000 college presidents in the US revealed that more than half had seen a significant increase in plagiarism over the last decade. As the rise in plagiarism can arguably be linked to the greater availability of online sources from which a student can steal, it is perhaps fitting that an information company is partnering with a plagiarism checker to tackle the problem.
Having access to previous research is undoubtedly a huge boon to everyone involved, from the original authors trying to disseminate their ideas, through students wishing to learn, to future researchers seeking to build on previous research rather than merely repeat it. However, the increased availability of these sources has come with the problem of increased plagiarism, which the industry is seeking to combat with increasingly sophisticated algorithmic detection methods.
Of course, plagiarism isn't anything new — and it's possible that instead of the internet causing an increase in plagiarism it is merely providing the tools by which cheats can be caught more often. Last years spate of high profile past plagiarism scandals in the German government indicates that widespread cheating has always been with us.
The newly announced partnership between Turnitin and ProQuest is expected to provide customers with a single solution for research and originality checking prior to publication.