I am a Ph.D. student in mathematics and soon will start writing a thesis on my published papers. I think Overleaf (online cloud) would be more flexible to write the thesis instead my TeXstudio editor. Our university library checks the thesis through Urkund plagiarism software. I have no worry on that part because my papers are already published and properly checked by the library.

Before my question, I just want to mention that if one replaces an article in arXiv with a revised version, then Urkund or any other plagiarism software also counts the previous version towards the similarity score, but in that case our university doesn't count the earlier version since the author is the same.

Since Overleaf is an online cloud editor, every LaTeX file will be stored digitally.

In this case, does any plagiarism software track the saved file from Overleaf?

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    I would advise against using overleaf for writing your PhD thesis. You we want your manuscript somewhere where you are not reliant on an internet connection to access and edit it. An offline tex editor, and using git for version control is a better option for the task at hand.
    – TimRias
    Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 10:11
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    Please note that the sentence "our university doesn't count the amount of plagiarism from the earliar version" cannot be correct: there simply is no "plagiarism from [an] earlier version" since updating a paper on arXiv has nothing to do with plagiarism. Your university simply acknowledges this fact rather than not counting some kind of plagiarism. Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 11:53
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    @TimRias - having multiple backups in multiple separate physical places (i.e. not all on your laptop or at your house - different cloud providers are likely separate physical places) is the way to go, whether using version control or not.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 12:46
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    If your university is getting hung up on the fact that your PhD work is already published (by you!), I'd say the mechanics of Overleaf are the least of your problems...
    – Matt
    Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 15:27
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    @JonCuster - I remember, in years past, seeing sad - even pathetic - signs pasted on telephone poles in several different college towns - people begging someone who broke into their car or stole the entire thing to please please please just return the manuscript of their thesis - the only copy in existence, you can keep the rest, just please .... It would be a shame if, in this digital age, people didn't back up their work when it is so easy to do so.
    – davidbak
    Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 20:09

2 Answers 2


Overleaf doesn’t make any documents public. ArXiv hosts preprints, whereas Overleaf is an online LaTeX editor where the files owned by a user are secure and private, equivalent to how nobody from outside can access your emails in Gmail.

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    Are you sure nobody from outside has access to your emails in Gmail? Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 18:08
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    Ha ha. Let’s not go there @MaartenBuis We live in a strange world.
    – Coder
    Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 19:35

I'm Tom and I work for Overleaf as a Support Manager.

Overleaf does not make any data you have on Overleaf public, unless you explicitly choose so by enabling link-sharing and sharing the link on the internet. So unless you do that (or expose your project e.g. by sharing it with untrusted people), the project cannot be scanned by a 3rd party.

So in short: You are safe preparing your projects on Overleaf :)

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    Thank you so much for the information
    – learner
    Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 17:51
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    Overleaf is an outstanding platform that makes a researcher’s life so simple and easy. You guys deserve a huge respect. In fact, I have acknowledged Overleaf in my thesis too.
    – Coder
    Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 23:27
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    @Coder That's great to hear! Btw, I didn't mean to steal the attention from your answer as it's 100% correct, I just thought that an authoritative response might be useful in this case!
    – yo'
    Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 12:47
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    Haha. I also liked an answer from OL. I have +1-ed it myself :-)
    – Coder
    Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 17:11

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