Warn students about free plagiarism checking websites

On more than one occasion, we have received unsolicited emails from ‘volunteers’ offering “Free plagiarism checking websites for students and teachers”. In one case, on closer investigation, we found that the sender works for a professional essay writing service. Submitting an essay for a free plagiarism check is quite likely to result in the same essay being sold via an ‘essay mill’ service. Depending on the order of events, this could lead to an Oxford student’s essay of faultless originality being flagged as 100% plagiarised when it is finally submitted to Turnitin.

It is important that Oxford students should be strongly warned against falling victim to such offers. Students should only submit their essays to services sanctioned by Oxford University, namely WebLearn and Turnitin (via their tutor, supervisor or departmental administrator).  We plan to use this poster on WebLearn pages and the student plagiarism support site, and have requested that it be made available on the Student Gateway.

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