Which free online academic plagiarism checker is closest to Turnitin by quality standard of rigour?

Turnitin features that even somebody plagiarize the context of a passage by use synonyms or simply rephrase the sentence, it is still able to catch the student cheating...

Please notice that Turnitin is not free and some of free software are not rigorous enough or even people called it a joke!

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    There are none, otherwise it wouldn't sell.
    – Cape Code
    Feb 19, 2015 at 2:52
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    This question doesn't seem answerable in its current form. What do you mean by "closest"? Are there specific features you are looking for that Turnitin has but some free programs do not? Is it a judgment of overall quality (with Turnitin setting the standard)? Are you trying to run your work through another program to discover whether you have anything to fear from Turnitin? Feb 19, 2015 at 3:39
  • @AnonymousMathematician - Is it better now?
    – Victor
    Feb 19, 2015 at 3:56
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    In this analysis you must not forget that anti-plagiarism softwares DO NOT DETECT PLAGIARISM but only SIMILIARITIES. It's up to the teacher to evaluate, case by case, whether the similarity constitutes a plagiarism case, or not.
    – FraEnrico
    Feb 19, 2015 at 8:12
  • may be helpfull en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagiarism_detection
    – d.putto
    Feb 20, 2015 at 10:07

3 Answers 3


I have recently (2 year ago) done a fairly thorough search for good, free alternatives to TurnItIn. My motivation was that my school did not use TurnItIn but that does not stop me from caring about my students' work. In the end, I found all of them (and there are many) are simply terrible in comparison to TurnItIn.

I've been using TurnItIn for 2 years now and I find it quite solid (of course there are things I would change but the basic functionality works well). The system has flaws but as I see, they maintain it and when a vulnerability is found (allowing a student to game the system), they generally fix it.

Add to this the fact that most often (my) students copy from previous students, searching freely available online sources will not do a proper job.

TurnItIn has a bit of a natural monopoly so it seems unlikely that any free alternative will ever gain much market share, meaning they will not have the papers to check leading to a vicious circle.

I see you are a high school student which makes me wonder why you want to know. Without knowing your true intention, I'm afraid my answer will be less useful to you.

If your purpose is to recommend a system for your school, they need TurnItIn. If your purpose is to check your own papers, you should use TurnItIn's student version (I know, it's not free).


I never tried any software thoroughly enough. If you google your question, you can find a lot of solutions, and it's just a matter of contacting the vendors and benchmark the different options.

The question you must ask is: what are the sources against which the system makes a comparison? If you only look for free sources, your possibility of finding similarities are limited. If your system matches also the high amount of academic literature hosted by publishers, the odds to find a match are higher. But since the highest amount of academic literature is accessible only via paid subscription, your anti-plagiarism system has to make some sort of agreement with the publishers.

So bottom line is: the best software is the one which searches through the highest number of resources. If a product is only limited to what is freely available on the web, it is very short-breathed.


I suspect that given the breadth of material that can be plagiarized (not all of which material is available for free), a free option of the same calibre as paid options will never exist.

I have not got the personal expertise required to give you a product comparison. If you're looking for a free product, I'd suggest making your own sample text and using it to test all the free ones. For a list of what's available, I like to use Google's Similar feature, which is hidden behind that little green down-arrow next to the green URL in search results, and which gives something like this: http://www.google.ca/search?q=related:turnitin.com

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