A colleague of mine noticed that one of his co-authors copied and pasted a discussion from another paper into their manuscript. When confronted, the co-author freely and casually admitted to it. My colleague is understandably distressed, they are at the beginning of their career and the co-author is near retirement. They are concerned that if they have a mutual paper which openly plagiarizes another, then that could severely hurt their chances of getting a professor position in the future.

My colleague was wondering if there are any good tools to check against academic papers, so that they could see if the final manuscripts of their co-author actually contains plagiarized materials.

I know of turnitin, but I assume that just for undergrad essays and what not.

Does the community have any recommendations?

  • 4
    Google will find quite a lot (not all), simply by putting a section of a suspected passage into the search field - in quotes. Of course it can only find things that are visible online.
    – Buffy
    Mar 24, 2020 at 12:52
  • That would definitely work for suspected passages, but the concern is to find passages that they might otherwise miss.
    – Joel
    Mar 24, 2020 at 13:13
  • 1
    It's pretty hard to find something that you don't suspect is there. But I suggest this only as a stopgap.
    – Buffy
    Mar 24, 2020 at 13:17
  • 3
    turnitin and scribr both check against journal articles because that's where undergrads plagiarize from
    – user120011
    Mar 24, 2020 at 13:32
  • I had not heard of scribr before. Thank you. I’ll take a look.
    – Joel
    Mar 24, 2020 at 13:59

1 Answer 1


The same company that sells the TurnItIn service has another product called iThenticate that is widely used by journal and conference proceedings publishers to check for plagiarism in submitted manuscripts. My institution uses this to check MS and PhD theses and dissertations.

  • Thank you! I hadn't heard of that before.
    – Joel
    Mar 26, 2020 at 21:30

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