There are many academic writing services (editing, proof reading and writing from scratch). These services range from writing basic essays to research papers and dissertations. I will use editing and proofreading services because my mother tongue is different from the language of thesis. I distrust these kinds of services, can they really do job appropriately and according to suitable form? Is this considered plagiarism and can they write in an original fashion? Has anybody used these kind of services and what are your experiences?

  • I am currently using one, I will let you know in 2 mouths when they finish editing and writing thesis. ( Writing in language-context sense )
    – SSimon
    Jan 21, 2016 at 0:52
  • Did you check plagiarism with a program.
    – acs
    Jan 21, 2016 at 0:54
  • 6
    Two possibilities. The writing service wrote it, you include credit to them in the document. (not plagiarism). The writing service wrote it, but you turn it in without giving them credit. (plagiarism)
    – GEdgar
    Jan 21, 2016 at 2:28
  • 11
    Third possibility: The writing service plagiarized it, and you give them credit. (still plagiarism)
    – JeffE
    Jul 20, 2016 at 13:06

4 Answers 4


There's a big difference between paying someone to proof read your thesis (generally acceptable, and sometimes encouraged) and paying someone to write original material from scratch (plagiarism).

The way your question is worded (and from one of the comments about getting someone to "edit and write the thesis") it sounds like you are asking whether if you pay someone to write part of your thesis, will they do it well enough that it wont be detected by plagiarism software (e.g., the idea that people who write paid essays just copy and paste huge chunks from Wikipedia and random journal articles). My apologies if this is not what you are asking. But to state the obvious point, paying someone to write your thesis and contribute intellectually is plagiarism and unethical whether they do it in a rigorous or a sloppy way. It is plagiarism, because you are not acknowledging the source of the intellectual effort.

Surely if you are paying someone merely to refine your expression, phrasing and give general guidance on structuring, then there is minimal risk of plagiarism.

  • Thank you. i want know about did anyone try this because i think its a new type of fraud and includes criminal situations. i think their papers is not original.
    – acs
    Jan 21, 2016 at 9:03
  • 2
    I am confuse @jeromy, usually translation ( most of times ) is considered original work, maybe acs could write in his own language and then give for translation, it can be acknowledged that thesis was translated.
    – SSimon
    Jan 21, 2016 at 11:22
  • 4
    It is not plagiarism. It is even worse - it is fraud. I don't know whether it falls under criminal prosecution, but I would thus not be surprised if there would be a way of actually criminally prosecuting the perpetrator. When fake doctors are caught out (pretending to have a degree/approbation they did not attain), this is - to my knowledge - already treated as fraud. Similar for a structural engineer that would not have a degree but build, say, bridges. Also in less life-threatening situations, it pretends to have acquired a knowledge/ability without doing so. Stay away from it. May 9, 2017 at 10:04
  • 1
    I don't think it is a new type of fraud. Our possibilities to detect it have gotten better though.
    – skymningen
    May 9, 2017 at 11:51

Using a service that edits documents to correct grammar and spelling issues, and minor awkward phrasings, is acceptable and need not be acknowledged.

Using a translation service, to translate a document from your native language into English, is acceptable, though the translator needs to be prominantly acknowledged. If you can write in English, though, it may be better to do so, because many employers in academia may be wary of applicants who have not demonstrated high-level proficiency in English.

Using a "substantive editing" service, that re-writes a document to improve its logic, flow, general structure and rhetoric is problemmatic. Such an editor should probably be named as a co-author, but if not, needs to be very prominently acknowledged. The use of such a service may not be acceptable to those evaluating the thesis.

Using a writing service, where you provide your results and they write the document without working from a strong draft from you, is cheating, and not likely to be acceptable even if acknowledged.

  • Rules for authorship differ between disciplines, but for example ICMJE guidelines require that the author has to meet all of the following conditions: Substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data AND drafting the article or revising it AND agreement to be accountable for accuracy or integrity of any part of the work. Editing does not meet the criteria, and therefore getting the authorship that way should be considered an academic misconduct Jul 2, 2017 at 18:21

There are two issues. The first is, if the "academic writing service" did genuinely original work for pay and let you sign your name to it, would it be plagiarism or copyright violation? In a "corporate" setting, the answer would be "no," because it was "work for hire," to which the payor owns the rights. But in an academic setting, it would be plagiarism, because you are representing work done by others as your own work, and thereby overstating your capabilities.

The second issue is, can these services produce work that is sufficiently original not to violate copyright or constitute plagiarism. The answer is usually no. The reason is, unlike the situation with a corporation that will "pay what it takes," these services usually "shortcut" to keep their fees down. But this issue is "trumped" by the first one in the previous paragraph.


In my university proofreading would be somewhat. Editing would normally not be acceptable. The reason is that the thesis assesses many aspects of your abilities. That includes not only your ideas (intellectual skills), but also your ability to express your ideas clearly, and even your ability to express yourself in (in this case) English (transferrable skills).

Getting someone to read through your work and identify typo's, runaway sentences and other little snafus is normally fine (and impossible to identify as well). On the other hand if someone corrects the way you structure your sentences, paragraphs and sections that is not appropriate. If however you use university resources (your thesis adviser perhaps, and/or library services) you will not need to worry about it being acceptable. At that point it is the university that is responsible for ensuring your learning experience.

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