Turn it in - just don't use it!
Sunday, May 20 2007 11:01 | School
Back at the end of 2006 I was part of an audience for a demonstration (and sales pitch) for a plagiarism detection service called turn it in. As a student and as someone who has been in academia for close to ten years now, I can see how such a service can be useful. There are things though that really irk me about turn it in, the main one being that anything submitted to their service for examination automatically becomes part of their database, and any future work submitted is compared to past works submitted. In effect, they are using your original work for their benefit without paying you (the creator of the original content) royalties for using your work!
When we quizzed the reps on what the papers are compared against, they essentially told us that they are compared against papers already in their database, and any freely available content on websites that their crawlers scavenge. They do not have subscriptions to academic journals, newspapers, or other sources that require payment. If it's free, they have it, if not, they do not. They are in essence building, marketing and selling a for pay service while harvesting papers from students without giving those students any payment for contributing to the system. I recommend that no one use this service, and if you are a college student put a copyright disclaimer on your paper that prohibits submitting your paper to any service that will utilize it for commercial or non-commercial purposes without your expressed permission! Time to fight back!