Say “Goodbye” to Plagiarism; Say “Hello” to Plagium!

Students of all levels and all backgrounds are constantly reminded of the importance of not plagiarising by their teachers (see the definition of plagiarism by Merriam-Webster). Students can sometimes find it ambiguous as to whether what they write is plagiarized or not. If the case ever happens that they are caught plagiarizing, some of them might not even have done it on purpose. The good news is that it is now possible for them and their teachers to see whether what they write is plagiarized or not. So, say “Goodbye” to plagiarism; say “Hello” to Plagium.

If you want to have a better idea of what plagiarism is, you may consult this website.

Plagium is a plagiarism-checker tool that can be found on internet. It is very simple to use. The only thing the user needs to do is to copy and paste any desired piece of text in the box on the main page and to click on the Quick Search icon. The tool can verify a piece of text having a maximum of 25 000 characters at a time. Everything from spaces to letters is considered a character. When Plagium does not find a match for the text a user enters, the following message appears: “Plagium did not find documents making use of the text that you entered.”

Try it yourself! Copy the first paragraph of the section called Fighting Over Water of this article from National Geographic in Plagium search box and click on the Quick Search icon. If you have done it correctly, you should see that 100% of the paragraph can be found on National Geographic’s website. In this case, of course, this is plagiarism.

In my opinion, the  main benefit of Plagium is that it is multilingual. It can check for plagiarism across five languages: English, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. Moreover it is available to teachers as well as students. It is a great tool for teachers of any subject, not just languages. Teachers can verify whether one of his/her student’s piece of writing is taken from someone else’s text. Furthermore, a teacher can show this tool to his/her students to help them in their writing. A teacher can also include this tool in an activity aiming at making students aware of what plagiarism is. I have tried many plagiarism checkers and Plagium is, without a doubt, the best one. The reason is quite simple; it is free and and support a large amount of characters (25 000). Other tools of the same type are mostly not free; and if they are, they cannot support large amount of characters.

The major downside of this tool is that it only searches for the exact same words that the user enters, whether they are in the same order or not. Still, it does not search for ideas We know that plagiarism does not only consist in using the same words, but also in using someone else’s ideas without providing references. I think it would be hard or impossible to find a tool that would search for plagiarized ideas anyway. Plagium allows its users to use the checker for a maximum of tries per day.

Plagium is not a mean to all ends; it is just a tool to help identify unwanted copy of sentences. But, a question remains: do students really need it? According to this article, students who do not plagiarize on purpose happen to do it because of their poor writing skills. In other words, they probably were not shown to either cite, paraphrase, or reference beforehand. On its website, the University of Glasgow says that most students are aware that plagiarism exists but do not recall what exactly they were told about it. I believe that as teachers, we should constantly remind our students of this issue. Drawing on my own high school experience, my teachers used to tell me ”that it was bad to plagiarize”, but hardly showed me how to avoid it. I think that it is a teacher’s duty to make sure that students not only know about it, but that they know strategies as to how they can avoid it as well. Since students are going to face this issue in their future career, it is important to make them aware of it as soon as they can understand what it is. Plagiarism checkers, such as Plagium, are good. However, they should be used as a last resort. Therefore, teachers should not swear by it; they should inform their students that such tools exist and tell them that these are good up to a certain extent. Still, they should emphasize the fact that it does not solve all problems related to plagiarism.

If you do not like Plagium, check other plagiarism checkers.

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