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Sky News recently reported that the United States military has granted a multimillion-dollar contract to researchers at West Point, to work on “cognitive fingerprints” that can replace physical characteristics, such as passwords, fingerprints and iris recognition, to identify Web users.

The biometric application program interface as it is being called looks at various aspects of how a user interacts with a device to determine their identity. This can include anything from their typing speed to how a mouse is moved around the screen.

Though the target of the program is to replace or supplement other tools of verification, since it also examines how a document is constructed, it has the added benefit of being able to detect plagiarism by being able to spot anomalies in the user’s writing.

In short, at least when looking at the writing, the U.S. military is attempting to automate what editors, educators and readers have done for as long as the written word has been around, looking for anomalies in writing that may indicate plagiarism or some other issue.

This works because people tend to have very distinctive writing styles. They make the same or similar word choices, structure their sentences and paragraphs in a certain way and generally have a consistent voice that can be picked up by the reader.

The U.S. military, however, is attempting to automate that process, which many thought to be impossible (and may still be). While their system has different aims and looks at a variety of other factors to also determine the identity of the user, it’s still a significant boost to the idea of author uniqueness that the U.S. military is considering it to help identify users in place of fingerprints.

For editors and educators, this project should serve as a reminder that, while plagiarism detection tools are invaluable assets in spotting content misuse, human instincts still play a key role.

Plagiarism detection tools are simply that, tools. They are meant to help guide the process and make the detection of plagiarism faster, easier and more simple. They are not a substitute for human intuition and research.

While automating this process probably isn’t practical for most who evaluate writing, especially since it would likely require a large body of confirmed original work to establish a baseline, humans can still detect changes in tone, style and language that computers struggle with.

And that’s what plagiarism detection software is about, the combination of technology and human instinct to provide efficient and effective detection of plagiarism and other ethical missteps.

The views of this blog represent my own and not the views of WriteCheck.



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Published on by jbailey.

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Plagiarism checkers are an effective way to inspect your papers for any red flags that may suggest plagiarism. This specialized software is available for those who are serious about their academic or research work. Plagiarism checker software like WriteCheck is available online. Do not take the chance of being accused of plagiarism.

There are five reasons to use a plagiarism checker; they are:

1. Although some people use Internet search engines to look for plagiarized material, plagiarism software can offer more sources, such as large databases that include periodicals and books that may not be available online. Thousands of periodicals exist. Massive databases such as EBSCOhost and ProQuest contain such articles. Plagiarism checkers have access to these databases.

2. Another one of the 5 reasons to use a plagiarism checker is that this software highlights the content that is exact. In other words, you can see for yourself what sentences or words are verbatim what the original author wrote.

3. Plagiarism detection software also gives percentages of similarity. Many universities use plagiarism software like Turnitin to check papers for plagiarism. When students and instructors use this software to check papers, a similarity percentage is given. A university will have a standard percentage rate that is acceptable to them. Students must remain at that percentage rate or lower for their papers to be satisfactory in regard to similarity.

4. Checking your paraphrasing abilities is another one of the 5 reasons to use a plagiarism checker. As stated above, a plagiarism checker will highlight the material that is an exact match to the original author’s words. If you have not paraphrased properly, you will know it by the highlighted material. Use that information to reword and cite the text.

5. Plagiarism checker software offers you proof that you have not plagiarized. Printing out or saving an electronic copy of your plagiarism checker report can be proof to your instructor or university that your content is original. Some instructors will ask for a copy of this report, others will not. Keeping a copy for your records in either case can offer you protection.

The five reasons to use a plagiarism checker are valid and should be of importance to any student or researcher. Plagiarism has become a serious issue, with many students, academics and others being accused and punished. According to plagiarism.org, the Center for Academic Integrity reported that nearly 80% of students in college have admitted to cheating one or more times. Also, a survey of college students conducted by the Psychological Record found that 36% had plagiarized (Plagiarism.org, 2012). The technology exists to ensure your safety as a student or researcher. Take advantage of it.

The advent of the Internet has allowed plagiarism to become easier. It has also allowed plagiarism detection software to be developed. The 5 reasons to use a plagiarism checker listed above should be a guide to serious students and researchers who want to check themselves and ensure that they have proof that their papers are original.


Plagiarism.org. (2012). Facts about plagiarism, Retrieved from http://www.plagiarism.org


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Written by Beth Calvano

Published on by bcalvano.

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