I was recently checking one of my paper for similarity. However, TURNITIN checked the similarity against the papers present in student repository in its database. Surprisingly, the paper which matched 72% from the student rep is the same one which I had checked few days back. Now, the similarity comes around 81%.

I wanted to know, whether the journals check plagiarism against such student papers? Because, if they do, it will check against the same paper present in the rep and results will come out to be higher SI.

  • Depends on the journal, however such a check is easy to do, every student can implement a cross check in 1 2 weeks. The idea would be to convert the paper in xml and parse it with reference to a search engine.
    – Nikey Mike
    Commented May 7, 2016 at 9:52
  • 1
    I don't understand the first paragraph, can you rephrase?
    – Allure
    Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 2:38
  • 2
    How about looking into the text's parts marked as plagiarism and rephrase or fix them? Instruments that just saying that the text have n% of plagiarism without refs ought to be ignored, IMHO. There're many cases when technically text is the same, but the work is unique enough. Common phrases, area-specific template, an expression which is stuck in author's mind, part of journal's template, false-positive detections, no common way to define borders of citations, etc. This is just automated hints, only a specialist can state is it a plagiarism or not.
    – Les
    Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 5:46

2 Answers 2


Why would you care? The real issue is whether your paper contains plagiarism or not. Remember, by the way, that plagiarism is "presenting the words and/or ideas of other people as if they are your own". Turnitin and similar systems are advertised as "plagiarism checkers", but that's marketing. In reality they check for text overlaps, but overlaps do not necessarily constitute plagiarism. Overlaps can appear due to heavy use of cliche phrases or extensive but proper citing of others' works. Yes, universities sometimes take these "plagiarism scores" at face value and can reject your submission without looking further. It makes sense, unfortunately, as high plagiarism scores in case of student essays/term papers/etc. almost always appear due to blatant copying.

Scientific journals and conferences, on the other hand, are supposed to do a more rigorous job. They can (and sometimes they do) check incoming papers with automated systems (since blatant copying happens in this world, too), but they really then must look inside and uncover the real reason of this high score. If you indeed present the ideas of others as your own, that's bad. Otherwise the editors might complain about excessive quotations or lack of original content, but that's another issue, not directly related to your question.


If the question is whether academic journals compare submissions to plagiarism databases, I've never heard of that practice. It is not common in psychology.

  • 5
    Actually, it's quite common for academic journals and conference proceedings to check submissions for plagiarism by comparing against large databases of material published in journals and in other places. The most commonly used service is iThenticate, which is a product of the same company that does TurnItIn. I would expect that iThenticate would detect whether material had previously been submitted to TurnItIn, but I'm not sure. Commented Sep 7, 2018 at 15:51

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .