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We have just noticed the word “Plagi” trending in student submissions for final assignment. These assignments may be technical reports or computer code solutions, often contained with ZIP files. We see the word in the name of folders or documents within the submission or sometimes in the commentary.

Despite seeing the word we already have suspicions that the work was not entirely by the student’s own hand and was achieved by contract cheating. It did not have the look and feel of an AI-created document (the subject may actually be AI itself and the graders are fully experienced in that area)!

Naïvely the team first thought “Plagi” was the name of the author and we searched places like Freelancer for operatives that use that as their handle. We noticed many profiles of providers that say ”We provide Plagi”, which indicated it was a form of slang relating to protection from plagiarism detection. We saw it often when the student provided a document that we had not asked for and was outside the specification – an unnecessary justification related to the assignment, which was one of the alarm-bell triggers.

I know there are others (herein) whose research areas relate to contract cheating, so am asking here for clarification on the word from academics generally. At the moment we cannot use the simple existence of the word as prima-facie evidence that academic misconduct took place.


Postscript
Our prosecution case was deemed to have insufficient evidence of misconduct as we could not prove the origin of the material use by the student. Further information from other institution cases might have swayed the panel, hence this question. Only those cases where the student admitted paying for the work were successful.

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    For "Plagi" I found few links... In one, PLAGI = Platelet Aggregation with Interpretation (a computer code for a medical application). Or PLAGI is the symbol for the "USDA Plants Database". Or, "plagi" is short for "plagiarism". Or "plagi" is the Polish word for "plagues". Where are you? I am in the US.
    – GEdgar
    May 5, 2023 at 13:40
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    @GEdgar Just click on my ID for profile details. May 5, 2023 at 13:55
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    Did you ask the students for an explanation? May 8, 2023 at 3:03
  • @NateEldredge It is the use of the word by the providers (like Freelancer) that is the puzzle. Further we are inhibited by regulations from interviewing misconduct suspects, which must be done by designated officers etc. May 8, 2023 at 8:16
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    @DanielR.Collins Maybe! I'll wait the outcome of pending misconduct prosecutions before committing! Jun 6, 2023 at 20:58

1 Answer 1

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One possibility points to the opposite of the work having been plagiarized.

Various plagiarism checkers, including some free (unpaid) checkers such as plagibot will check the content of uploaded documents for plagiarism and allow a report --- that might be as much as the whole of the original document --- with potentially plagiarized sections of the document being highlighted or marked in some way. The downloaded reports (at least from my admittedly very meagre experiements) seem to have the letters "plagi" included in the file name.

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  • Having submitted an essay to plagiarism checking software does not indicate the opposite of being plagiarized; if anything, it may indicate that the author has attempted to obfuscate plagiarism using a software tool. If the author didn't plagiarize they shouldn't have bothered submitting their work to such a checker, if they didn't copy and they know that because they wrote it, no need to check!
    – Bryan Krause
    Jan 10 at 15:34
  • @BryanKrause: I agree with you - yet many people here ask about results they get from a plagiarism checker when they (claim to) not have plagiarized.
    – user111388
    Jan 11 at 12:24
  • Note, for example "Papers 1-4 must be submitted to turnitin.com. Failure to send even a single paper to turnitin.com will result in an F for the course" on faculty.winthrop.edu/fikem/Courses/CRTW%20201/… ... and it certainly isn't unique in requiring submission to a plagiarism checker. Jan 13 at 6:36

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