I uploaded my thesis to a Turnitin ID which my friend got from some other university than where I am studying. Due to some reason, my thesis got uploaded to Turnitin repository and the university is very far away from my home. I made a blunder mistake.

Now I have to make my thesis submission this month but the plagiarism is showing 100 %. It is comparing my own thesis with the one I submitted earlier to the other university. I cannot contact the university turnitin administrator regarding deletion of my thesis.

In my thesis submission, can I exclude the student paper source of my own work?

  • 2
    Does the copy of your thesis on the Turnitin repository include the frontpage with your name and the degree it is for?
    – Arno
    Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 11:30
  • The front page is not included but the list of publications is attached at the end.. with my name and my supervisor name Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 12:54
  • It is for the PhD degree Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 12:56
  • 1
    Does this answer your question? Paper was rejected for high similarity with parts of my own dissertation Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 0:44
  • Anonymous Physicist Not exactly... but still thanks for the suggestion Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 10:18

4 Answers 4


No. As far as I am aware there isn't. The person reviewing your thesis after submission can exclude the earlier submission though. You should probably make whoever is checking this aware.

You should however, be aware that submitting your thesis to a user account provided by someone else at a different university may be breaking some rules, or at least expectations - either at your university, at your friends university or turnitin's rules (possibly all three). This is not a serious infraction, and I wouldn't expect any comeback other than disapproving tuts, but its still bad practice.

Students often want to submit their work to check the turnitin score to see if they have paraphrased things sufficiently not to trigger the plagiarism checks. This betrays a misunderstanding of what plagiarism is. Taking text from another source and paraphrasing it, even with attribution, is still on the "plagiarism spectrum".

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    'This betrays a misunderstanding of what plagiarism is' and/or a correct understanding of what Turnitin measures Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 13:31
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    Absolutely. Turnitin only measures textual similarity, not plagerism. Its one tool that can be used to help find some types of plagerism, but its certainly not the be all and end all, and a focus on the turnitin score is a real problem. Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 13:33
  • It does occur to me, though, that if accused of plagiarism for unattributed paraphrased material, one might try using the "it's the common knowledge of the discipline and therefore doesn't require a citation" defence, whereas one couldn't really do that for a direct quotation. Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 13:45
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    If one really wanted to show this was plagerism, it would be about showing that it was paraphrased. That is you are not just you are taking someone elses ideas, but also that you are taking their way of describing them. I guess when I say "paraphrasing", I'm talking about a strong sort of paraphrasing where you take text from a source, change a few words, maybe change the order of a couple of sentences so that it doesn't get picked up be software, but is very much still not your writing. Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 14:42
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    @AnonymousPhysicist The TurnItIn EULA has 'You agree not to share Your password with any other person, whether directly or indirectly'. Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 11:28

A thesis must typically be an original work, so re-submitting a thesis submitted earlier to [an]other university may constitute self-plagiarism.

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    "Submitted" in the context of self-plagiarism means "for considering for a degree", not to a Turnitin check.
    – Arno
    Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 11:49
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    @Arno The OP writes: It is comparing my own thesis with the [thesis] I submitted earlier to the other university. Of course, that may be poor writing. We don't know what the OP meant.
    – user2768
    Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 11:59

Do nothing: If you've made a genuine mistake, it will be obvious to examiners.

  • That feels like bad advise. It really, really depends on who (if anybody) will look at Turnitin results later, and how obvious it is that the 100% match is just the same document submitted by the same person earlier - and since OP says that the title page is missing this might not be so obvious at all. I don't believe that OP needs to fear getting into any actual trouble (what they did is neither unethical nor forbidden), but I could definitely see this leading to annoying confusion.
    – xLeitix
    Commented Jun 16, 2022 at 12:01

Turnitin is not a useful tool for students.

The appropriate use of Turnitin is to provide a similarity report to someone familiar with academic writing and the relevant field, which that person can use to screen for suspicious clues that could lead them to suspect plagiarism. It cannot help an honest student author, because if that author understands the customs surrounding plagiarism, they should already know that they have not plagiarised; whereas if they don't understand the customs, the Turnitin report is useless to them anyway.

The OP doesn't need to do anything about this.

So there is no reason for the OP to try and fiddle with the Turnitin settings, because they shouldn't use Turnitin again (atleast until they get an academic job themselves). If their PhD thesis is going to be run through Turnitin, the person will presumably either immediately see that the flagged document is the OPs dissertation, or be able to confirm quickly that the OP indeed wrote their own dissertation. It is then their problem to get Turnitin to tell them about other similarities (but I think Turnitin does multiple sources anyway).

But it may look suspicious

There is a small caveat to my first claim: A plagiarizing student could use Turnitin to try and hide the evidence of their transgression. Uploading a copy of the dissertation could have been an attempt to mask whatever hits Turnitin still finds. So I wouldn't be surprised if OP's dissertation receives more scrutiny regarding plagiarism than usual - but not because of a 100% Turnitin score, but because OPs behaviour seems suspicious.

  • 'It cannot help an honest student author' That's a bit strong. It can help a student who is about to be dishonest, but hasn't been dishonest yet (because s/he hasn't yet submitted the plagiarized work for summative assessment), by dissuading him/her from going ahead with a planned act of dishonesty that was certain to be detected. It can also help an student who intends to be honest, but is clueless about what constitues academic dishonesty, except that s/he is vaguely aware that the Turnitin similarity score is correlated with some form of academic dishonesty. Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 11:48
  • @DanielHatton A student who has plagiarized in a draft, and only refrains from submitting that draft because a Turnitin scan tells them that they would be caught is NOT an honest student in my book. A student who doesn't understand what is plagiarism isn't helped by Turnitin, they are helped by talking to their advisor or using other sources.
    – Arno
    Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 12:03
  • I was thinking mainly of students in their first couple of years as undergraduates, before they have an advisor. And as for "other sources", I'm sad to report that, on a Google search for plagiarism, most of the first page of hits consists of sources that will mislead students into thinking that what is measured by a Turnitin score really is all there is to plagiarism. Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 13:40
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    @DanielHatton which is exactly why someone submitting something to turnitin before submitting the piece of work might require extra scrutiny - because it betrays a lack of understanding plagiarism. Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 14:09
  • @IanSudbery I come at this from a position of having worked in a university where it's official policy that 'You will have the opportunity to use Turnitin multiple times within each submission to allow you to utilise the information on your originality report to improve your work each time and develop your academic writing', in which case one can't draw inferences about an individual student's (lack of) understanding from the fact that s/he does just that. Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 15:15

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