Information technology tools and resources at the UW
Plagiarism Detection FAQs
What is VeriCite?
VeriCite is a Web-based service that can find and highlight matching or unoriginal text in a written assignment.
Faculty can set assignments that are submitted online through Canvas to be reviewed by VeriCite, on a per-assignment basis. Student assignments submitted online will be checked by the service.
VeriCite checks the assignment against its database of materials to look for matches or near-matches in strings of text. VeriCite then generates an report online. that summarizes and highlights matching text.
Faculty find the report useful as a tool to teach students proper citation practices and highlight the need for more student originality. Faculty can also use VeriCite as a tool to detect possible instances of plagiarism.
It is up to the users of VeriCite to analyze and interpret matching text in the report. Help content within the VeriCite interface goes into more detail about how to interpret results.
What are UW’s guidelines for faculty using VeriCite?
Faculty must notify their students in advance if they will use VeriCite. The notice must be placed in the syllabus, and faculty should verbally inform students of the service, document retention and opt-out policies during the first class meeting.
Please see the full copy of the Guidelines for Faculty.
How complete is VeriCite?
VeriCite has a database of over a million papers and assignments sent to them by students and teachers, a digitized version of the Gutenberg Collection of Literary Classics, and papers pulled from the Internet and various “paper mills,” (i.e., services that sell term papers). However, the VeriCite database currently does not search books or articles in subscription databases. It may not find matching text from those sources or from subscription database such as The New York Times on the Web unless those materials also appear in assignments previously sent to VeriCite. For those resources, it is best to search the online databases available through the UW Libraries and/or supplement your VeriCite review by using a Web search engine such as Google or Bing.
See the complete Guidelines for Faculty for more details about interpreting the Originality Report.
How do I use VeriCite if I don’t use Canvas?
If you are using Canvas only to have students submit their work to VeriCite, these documents explain how to set up the assignment. One recommendation is to simplify the Canvas course navigation to make it easy for your students to find what they need. Instructions for doing so can be found further down in this document.
Canvas-VeriCite QuickStart Guide: http://help.vericite.com/m/quickstart/l/466646-canvas-instructor-quick-start
Brand New to Canvas?
Using VeriCite with Canvas Assignments
If you are using Canvas for the first time, the following resources will show you how to set up an assignment in Canvas and correctly set VeriCite options.
Simplify the Canvas Course Navigation
If you will be using the Canvas course only for students to submit assignments for review by VeriCite, you may want to edit the course navigation so that students can easily find their way. (https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-2555)
Change the Canvas Course Home Page
One way to make things clear for your students is to make the Assignments List your course Home Page
Publish Your Canvas Course
Canvas courses and assignments are unavailable to students until published.
Publish your course (https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-2707)
Are student papers kept confidential?
Yes. The UW license with VeriCite protects student privacy in accordance with FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. The U.S. Department of Education’s FERPA Regulations provide requirements on the confidentiality of student records and information.
Can I request removal of my work from VeriCite’s repository?
Students can request that their assignments be removed from the VeriCite repository. Students have two options regarding their assignments being stored in the VeriCite database.
- If students do nothing, then the assignment will be stored in the VeriCite database for the duration of UW’s contract with VeriCite.
- If the student requests, VeriCite will store the assignment only for the duration of the quarter. Once the class is over, the assignment will be deleted from the database. Students should email a request to firstname.lastname@example.org. The request must include the paper specifics, such as class name, assignment title, student name, and the URL for the paper. The campus administrator will delete the paper.
What about student copyright?
The UW license with VeriCite specifies that students retain copyright to their submitted assignments and that the assignments will be stored only temporarily and solely for the purpose of using such papers as source material to prevent plagiarism of such papers.