Turnitin and iThenticate

October 29, 2014

By Matthew Schmitz

Plagiarism is a problem that affects students and faculty. The infographic in this blog (click to enlarge) lists the forms of plagiarism frequently identified in research writing, indicating the commonness and seriousness of each kind. In an effort to prevent academic plagiarism at SIUE, the University has licensed two products, Turnitin and iThenticate, that will ideally help students and faculty avoid those incidents. 

As defined on the resource page, “Turnitin is an intellectual property verification tool that includes features for grading and reviewing student assignments.”  When used as a plagiarism checker, Turnitin identifies words or phrases that match other sources from online sites, published articles, and/or student-submitted papers. The number of matches in a paper are listed on the Originality Report, a document that lists the matches and indicates the percentage that can be attributed to other’s works. The Originality Report is a resource that can help students identify occurrences of accidental plagiarism. Ideally, then, they can correct the oversights before they lead to more serious consequences.

Although it has the capability of serving as a plagiarism checker, Turnitin is a robust tool that can also be used for other purposes. Another feature separate from the Originality Report discussed above is GradeMark, a set of tools that allow faculty members to grade and edit a student’s work within the Turnitin Document Viewer. Options in GradeMark include: text comments (either individual posts in the body of the paper or a general summary of the whole document), voice feedback, grammar and punctuation marks (including the ability to create custom marks), and self-created or vendor-provided rubrics (that are connected to the Bb Grade Center).

Another function, referred to by the vendor as Grade Anything, allows faculty members to accept a wide variety of materials in addition to standard paper assignments. Since the implementation of Grade Anything, students are able to submit presentations, spreadsheets, images, and any other type of file, greatly enhancing the functionality of Turnitin. Students do not have to submit a file (for assignments like speeches or performances) although faculty can still use the GradeMark options when assessing the student.

One of the most popular features of Turnitin is PeerMark, a component that allows Turnitin assignments to be distributed for student peer review. Instructors create the distribution criteria and evaluation instrument (a combination of written comments and Likert scale responses). A limited selection of GradeMark features are also available for student reviewer use in PeerMark.

Additional information about Turnitin, PeerMark, and GradeMark is available from the resource pages at:


The description on the resource site identifies iThenticate as “an intellectual property verification tool that checks documents for originality in order to prevent plagiarism.” The tool is very similar to Turnitin in many respects. Documents submitted to iThenticate are also checked against a collection of web pages, scholarly articles, and a paper repository. Like Turnitin’s Originality Report, iThenticate’s Similarity Report indicates the percentage of a work that matches other sources.

However, the products are also very different. While Turnitin is used primarily for the submission, editing, and grading of student assignments, iThenticate is intended for use by faculty and graduate students for scholarly documents. For example, graduate students can use iThenticate for their theses and dissertations while faculty utilize it for research grants, articles, and other publications. iThenticate also offers the ability for users to collaborate with other researchers and co-authors at SIUE and other institutions.

Full-time faculty and graduate students enrolled in research programs currently have access to iThenticate. Access for other users is granted on a case-by-case basis.

Additional information about iThenticate and instructions on using the resource are available from the main iThenticate resource page at: http://www.siue.edu/its/ithenticate/

Categories: All Categories, Students, Teachers, Classroom