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Turnitin, a leading provider of feedback, grading, and plagiarism checking solutions, announced today the general availability of Authorship, the first solution that supports higher education administrators in addressing contract cheating. Authorship Investigate uses forensic linguistic analysis and Natural Language Processing to help investigators efficiently compare differences in written work and gather the evidence needed to investigate potential cases of contract cheating.

Contract cheating is the practice of using a third party—a commercial essay mill, friend, or family member—to complete an assignment. Institutions worldwide are growing increasingly concerned about the prevalence of contract cheating. Some experts estimate that up to 15.7% of students have paid others to complete their work.

Even though educators are aware that this behavior is occurring, potential contract cheating incidences are difficult to detect, deter, and investigate. Traditional plagiarism checking solutions often cannot identify it because the submitted work is original writing authored by someone other than the student.

Authorship Investigate is the first education technology product developed to address contract cheating. Developed by Turnitin in partnership with university faculty and experts from around the world, Authorship Investigate reduces the uncertainty and administrative burden of investigating potential contract cheating cases. Authorship Investigate quickly collates students’ past assignments, identifies outliers and differences in the students’ assignment portfolios, and uncovers evidence using document metadata, forensic linguistic analysis, and Natural Language Processing (NLP). Institutions that implement Authorship Investigate will also be part of a global community of experts and peers that share best practices for preventing contract cheating and proactively cultivating cultures of integrity.

“The Authorship Investigate tool has been invaluable as a means for collecting material to pursue cases associated with academic integrity,” said Dr. Nick Milne, Senior Lecturer in the School of Engineering at Deakin University. “It has helped save time in preparing evidence and helped me to get through the complexity of cross-school and cross-faculty investigations. The analytical features have helped me in determining whether there was a case to be pursued and where to focus my investigatory efforts.”

“After years of development and testing, we’re thrilled to bring Authorship Investigate to the higher education market,” said Turnitin CEO, Chris Caren. “We hope that broad adoption of this tool will not only help institutions efficiently investigate whether students are doing their own work, but will also bring visibility to the problem of contract cheating.”


About Turnitin

Turnitin is your partner in fostering original thinking and supporting authentic learning. Turnitin solutions promote academic integrity, streamline grading and feedback, and improve outcomes across educational levels and content areas. Turnitin leverages cutting-edge technology to provide tools that prevent plagiarism, deliver formative and summative feedback, surface actionable reporting, and investigate academic misconduct. Growing from one million student paper submissions in 2002 to one billion in 2018, Turnitin serves over 15,000 institutions globally and is headquartered in Oakland, Calif., with international offices in the U.K., Netherlands, Australia, Korea, India, and throughout Latin America. @Turnitin