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What is iThenticate? Uphold research integrity outside the classroom
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What is iThenticate? Uphold research integrity outside the classroom

Christine Lee
Christine Lee
Content Manager
Laura Young
Laura Young
Content Marketing Specialist

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iThenticate is a similarity detection tool for work destined for publication. At Turnitin, we uphold academic integrity and improve student learning outcomes with various tools like Feedback Studio, Gradescope, and ExamSoft. But we also have additional responsibilities outside of the classroom to ensure that content is accurate and void of plagiarism so that those materials are legitimate and contribute to integrity and originality within the body of academia. To that end, we offer iThenticate, which can be used by researchers, publishers, academic and business leaders, admissions officers, and government officials to protect institutional reputations and ensure work is original. (The use cases don’t end there; Wikipedia also uses iThenticate to ensure content quality).

Research institutions, publishers, admissions offices, and government agencies all use iThenticate to make sure content supports research excellence.

What does iThenticate do?

iThenticate is designed for authors to ensure that any work they intend to publish is void of plagiarism or copyright infringement.

Protects published research from misconduct

iThenticate protects publishing and institutional reputations from plagiarism. When researchers check their work for plagiarism before submitting work to publishers, researchers protect their academic reputation and in turn, that of the institution they represent. Because iThenticate is trusted by publishers as an integrated part of the publishing process, academic leaders ensure that their institution’s research is upheld by using the same standard publishers have adopted.

iThenticate’s features are customized to the publishing process, with a specialized content database that addresses needs specific to research. This product includes workflows, advanced exclusion options to narrow in on the most critical matches, and the most comprehensive collection of top-tier and emerging research against which to compare.

Why is this important? Research is increasing--funding has increased, as has the number of researchers; and this increase is expected to continue through 2030 and beyond. Research is thriving and, with funding in place, set to grow. As a result, the competition to publish will remain fierce, making selectability and reputation more high-stakes than ever—research will need to be of the highest quality and free from misconduct or plagiarism to make it through the publishing gauntlet.

Even in the wake of COVID-19, government research support is likely to remain steady. In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic prioritized the need for publishing legitimate research, as such research impacts legislation, policy, and people’s day-to-day wellbeing. Since COVID was identified, a plethora of articles were published in journals; however, an alarming number of these COVID-19 research articles were then retracted.

Ensure that integrity isn’t a limiting factor with iThenticate.

Validates publication and essay submissions are original work

If you’re an academic leader overseeing work at a research institution, or an editor at an academic journal, you want published work to be void of plagiarism and beyond reproach, especially when it comes to research misconduct. The scope of an academic leader or editor is expansive; when supporting or selecting work to publish, you want to have your mind free of suspicion and be assured that the work of researchers is their own.

Upholds research integrity standards, research quality, and impact factor

By using iThenticate to check research before submission, publishers, institutions, and individuals can avoid scandal and simultaneously uphold their impact factor.

Research quality and integrity is of utmost importance; both researchers and publishers look to reputation as a selection factor in where and what and who gets published. This reputation is illustrated by the researcher and journal’s Impact Factor, which should be safeguarded throughout the publishing process.

When research is questionable, this can lead to retractions that damage academic reputations. Researchers with retractions may have challenges with future research as well as publication and see a decline of 10-20% in citation rates (Mika, 2017). This, in turn, blemishes institutional reputations.

Attracts funding

The relationship between academic reputation and funding opportunities is well documented.

Funding is a critical factor in research quality and collaboration, leading to publication in higher impact journals and greater citation counts (Yan, et al., 2018). Multiple research projects support these findings; for instance, Győrffy, Herman, and Szabó state, “We observed a radically strong effect of a 47% increase in publication output following the receipt of a basic research grant” (2020). Wang and Shapira also found that “publications from grant sponsored research exhibit higher impacts in terms of both journal ranking and citation counts than research that is not grant sponsored,” concluding with “empirical evidence of the effectiveness of grant funding schemes and the scientific publication impacts of different combinations of research investments” (2015). Finally, Álvarez-Bornstein and Bordons clearly state, “funding shows direct and indirect effects on the citation rate of papers” (2021).

The phenomena that describes strong publishing output leading to better publishing output in the future is often referred to as the “Matthew effect” (Merton, 1968); the Matthew effect also holds true for funding, as early funding enables acquisition of later funding (Bol, de Vaan, & van de Rijt, 2018).

A stellar track record void of retractions and misconduct, then, is crucial to research funding.

Other uses for iThenticate include university admissions and government offices

Additional users of iThenticate include Admissions Offices, which use iThenticate to remove the suspicion of plagiarism from the admissions committee decisions. Government offices, too, use iThenticate to ensure the originality of public-facing documents.

Who is iThenticate for?

Academic leaders can use iThenticate across the academic organization, from admission to postgraduate and faculty research, as well as in the Research Integrity Office. Publishers, too, benefit from iThenticate’s assurance.

  • iThenticate enables collaboration and sharing of research between faculty and postgraduate students working on dissertations and theses.
  • iThenticate enables researchers to write articles and proposals unfettered from misconduct on the same platform as publishers.
  • iThenticate supports grant writers in producing unique grant proposals and ensures that funding sources are protected at the start of the research process.
  • iThenticate ensures institutions to be free from scandal.
  • iThenticate supports publishers in their screening process and helps uphold their academic reputation and impact factor.
  • iThenticate helps admissions officers screen applications for plagiarism and academic misconduct in personal essays and statements of purpose.

What is the difference between Turnitin (Feedback Studio) and iThenticate?

Both Feedback Studio and iThenticate are Turnitin products; many people refer to Feedback Studio as “Turnitin,” as that is our flagship product and people use the terms interchangeably.

Feedback Studio and iThenticate support different users.

Feedback Studio is designed for classroom use with students and is often integrated with the institution’s LMS.

iThenticate is meant to help authors in avoiding plagiarism and copyright infringement when preparing work for publication. Work submitted to iThenticate is not added to the repository of student papers. But both check against the internet and professionally published works.

Which institutions use iThenticate?

iThenticate compares content against 97% of the top 10,000 cited journals and screens manuscripts for 1,500 top publishers worldwide. Elsevier, Springer-Nature, IEEE, Wiley, The Taylor & Francis Group, Public Library of Science (PLoS), among other top publishers, use iThenticate.

Does iThenticate support AI writing detection?

In April 2023, Turnitin’s AI-writing detection capabilities launched across many of our integrity solutions—a milestone in combating the improper use of AI writing tools, such as ChatGPT.

Whilst Turnitin’s AI writing detection capabilities are not available in the current version of iThenticate, we are proud to soon offer iThenticate 2.0, an enhanced version of iThenticate that will include the latest and most advanced tools to support research integrity.

The addition of AI writing detection within iThenticate 2.0 will give publishers, educational institutions, government and corporate research agencies, and researchers the means to protect themselves from this emerging form of misconduct, while also checking for similarity throughout their research and publication process.

Turnitin’s iThenticate 2.0 experience will host a fully integrated cohesive workflow, gathering similarity, flag insights, and AI writing detection tools inside our new and improved Similarity Report.

This enhanced version of iThenticate will first be available to new customers only, and we will welcome existing iThenticate customers in 2024, when we’re able to move their data efficiently and smoothly, with minimal access interruptions.

How extensive is the content database that iThenticate checks against?

With an exploding body of published works at their fingertips, it can be hard for researchers to ensure their writing is original. iThenticate by Turnitin’s expansive internet archive and access to best-in-class scholarly content from top publishers in every major discipline gives institutions, researchers, and publishers assurances that they’re checking against the most comprehensive collection of content for the best similarity checking, every time.

Our content database plays a pivotal role in the effectiveness of iThenticate, allowing researchers to get published with confidence, and helping publishers issue plagiarism-free content:

  • Turnitin’s internet database uses a proprietary crawler that routinely targets the websites most likely used by students and researchers. It holds 47 billion unique current and archived internet pages. 52.5 million Wikipedia articles are included in this. Since 2016, our internet crawler has been indexing exponentially more non-English language pages, with over 1 million internet articles in Spanish, Simplified Chinese, French, and German. We can identify content in 176 languages.
  • Turnitin’s academic publication database includes a collection of the top scholarly content, across all disciplines, delivered directly from publishers and Open Access repositories. The database holds 81,000 journals and over 190 million articles and publication documents. This includes over 200 million open access records from 12,000 repositories worldwide, 200,000 US Law Reviews, and 1.4 million theses from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses. 97% of the top 10,000 cited journals can be searched against in iThenticate.

iThenticate is instrumental in fostering authenticity among the research and professional writing community, with content repositories optimized to meet the specific needs of its users, all united in their pursuit of safeguarding the originality of research submitted for publication.

How do Turnitin’s content partnerships benefit authors, publishers, and institutions using iThenticate?

Turnitin’s Content Partners are publishing organizations with a shared mission to create a more efficient and ethical academic environment for institutions globally. Our Content Partners contribute to this effort by allowing Turnitin to routinely crawl their content databases.

Any of our 16,000 education institutions, or the thousands of publishers, government agencies, or businesses that we serve, can run their papers against the content we receive from our Content Partners.

Crawling partner content databases increases the size of our own database, giving authors using iThenticate the tools to check against a more comprehensive catalog of scholarly work. This streamlines the editorial process and allows for greater ease of mind, with authors and their institutions feeling protected from potential cases of academic misconduct or misuse.

At Turnitin, we are proud to partner with over 1,500 publishers including Springer, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press, Elsevier, and Norton, who, through our partnership, have full access to Turnitin’s similarity checking tool for use in their own screening and publication process.

Turnitin is proud to also partner with Crossref, one of the world’s most prominent membership associations for scholarly publishers. Our trusted partnership with Crossref is twofold. As a Content Partner, Crossref contributes its published content to the Turnitin database. But our alliance runs even deeper. Annually, millions of submissions to Crossref are automatically checked by Similarity Check (powered by iThenticate), making the overall publishing process faster for publishers and more transparent to authors.

What’s more, when authors use iThenticate to review their manuscripts prior to submission, they are using the same software as Crossref publishers. Authors (and academic leaders) can then take comfort in the fact that if their iThenticate Similarity Report is discrepancy-free, publishers shouldn’t uncover potential plagiarism concerns either.

Another of our content partnerships is CORE—an aggregator of open access research papers. With no regulated barrier to entry, open access makes it easy for authors to reuse content both intentionally and accidentally without proper citation. Turnitin’s partnership with CORE exists to shield open access content from its growing vulnerability to plagiarism. With access to millions of open access records, this makes it an easy feat for iThenticate to deter academic misconduct in research papers and protect the reputation of institutions and publishers in a brave new world of open access publishing.

Conclusion: iThenticate upholds research excellence and academic integrity

Use the industry standard to make sure your work contains no academic misconduct. While research can be competitive, and the publishing process stressful, iThenticate is one way to protect and ensure academic integrity for researchers, institutions, and publishers.