University takes next step to challenge plagiarism

The Federal University of Technology, Minna, has digitalised all of its academic documents in a bid to tackle plagiarism.

It is the first university in the country to convert student projects and theses from paper to electronic form.

1.4 million pages of documents have been digitalised in the 6 month long project which was undertaken by Oraco Technology Solutions Ltd.

It is not the first time FUTMinna has demonstrated its commitment to addressing plagiarism. In November 2011 it became the first public university in Nigeria to adopt Turnitin plagiarism prevention and detection software.

The university’s Information and Technology Services unit has created a local database for the converted documents. This will be linked with the Turnitin server and automatically searched for matched content.

Turnitin works by comparing submitted work to a vast repository of more than 38 billion content items including web pages, scholarly journals and academic papers.

The progress at FUTMinna was recognised last month when Turnitin awarded them for their commitment to academic integrity and the progress they have made in using the software.

FUTMinna’s Professor Wole Morenikeji has been one of the key drivers in implementing the university’s academic integrity policy and implementing their use of the software.

He will share his experiences when he speaks at the International Integrity and Plagiarism Conference, held in the United Kingdom in June.

Morenikeje said: "The online revolution, while enhancing learning, has also made information easily accessible and fuelled the ‘cut and paste’ culture.

"But it’s not just material on the internet that can be plagiarised, which is why it is important to be able to screen against past student papers and theses.

"We’re proud to be tackling plagiarism head-on and promoting academic integrity."

The university Senate has now introduced a policy which stipulates that students’ papers must pass Turnitin’s Originality Check before they can be presented for graduation.

Turnitin is working in partnership with the Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVC) to roll out the anti-plagiarism technology nationwide.