The growing number of term paper mill sites on the Web attest to their popularity among students. Term Paper Mills Term paper mills existed long before the Internet. Companies who sell term papers have advertised on campus and in magazines such as the Rolling Stone for several years. 0 With the advent of Internet technology, though, the number of places where papers are available has grown and the ease with which papers can be obtained has increased. Some of these Web sites are operations set up by students while others are for-profit ventures. At term paper mills, students can directly purchase pre-written papers. Some sites offer free services or make money AP Business wire reports that traffic to these sites exceeds 2. 6 million hits per month. Cheater. Com has 72,000 members and is growing by a few hundred per day.
Evil House of Cheat reports 4,000 visitors a day. Schoolbooks. Com, which claims 10,000 visits to its site per day, reports being profitable “from Day 1. “13 Institutional Attitudes toward Academic Dishonesty Although academic dishonesty is believed to have increased in the last two decades, it is not clear that the number of infractions reported by professors has seen as well. In a survey of 800 faculty portable on a bridge designed by an engineer who cheated her way through engineering school?
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Would you trust your tax return to an accountant who copied his exam answers from his neighbor? “16 Once an instructor suspects plagiarism, it can be a laborious process proving that plagiarism has actually taken place. Instructors may need to comb through old papers and primary and secondary resources and compare the suspicious paper to these sources. Tracking down a student’s sources and proving plagiarism can take days. Those who have used an automated plagiarism tool cite the streamlined recess as one of the primary advantages of the tool.
But most important, papers popularized from the Internet and identified by an anti-plagiarism tool often provide an open-and-shut case. Tools to Ensure Academic Integrity Several vendors provide tools designed to ensure academic integrity (or to identify cases of suspected plagiarism). These tools can be differentiated on the basis of several features. For example, some vendors offer users the opportunity to download their proprietary software and grant a neoprene license to use the software as an anti- plagiarism device for an unlimited two days.
The following examples of specific vendor products illustrate how they function, as well as which features differ. ‘Paradigms has developed a search engine, authenticate, that is able to clearly identify matching texts between two teased documents of any language or size. The search engine examines a chunk of text, eliminates words that are too common, and turns the other words into numbers. It also converts Internet content into numbers. Consequently, it can compare patterns of numbers from the the Internet. To do this, the search engine uses a number of complex mathematical algorithms. Paradigms’ search engine is seed at Web sites that monitor plagiarism (e. G. , Turning. Com) and at a Web site focused on media such as movies and music (Clasher. Com). The initial site, Plagiarism. Org, now serves as a Web resource about online plagiarism. Originally, Plagiarism. Org was created to screen for Internet plagiarism at the University of California at Berkeley. It drew national attention when a study found that up to 15 percent of students were copying online material and using it in term papers.
When demand for the anti-plagiarism technology exceeded the In most states, it is illegal to sell papers that will be turned in as student work. 2 At Penn State, despite the fact that faculty had discussed the consequences of cheating with 63 percent of the SST- e v I e w XSL September/October 2001 technology company, more than 90 percent of academic administrators and faculty interviewed said that academic through advertising. Others act as an exchange?a student must submit a paper to get a free paper.
Most term paper mills charge a fee, ranging from about $5 to $10 per page. Students may pay an additional fee for immediate e-mail delivery (e. G. , $15). Other sites will write a customized paper for a much higher fee. In most states, it is illegal to sell papers hat will be turned in as student work. 11 Thus many for-profit sites post disclaimers saying that the information should be used only for research purposes and should not be submitted as a student’s own bill a student’s credit card using an unrecognizable company name.
Experts estimated that more than 70 term paper mills were in operation in early 1998, up from 28 at the beginning of 1997. 12 members who were asked why they ignored possible plagiarism violations, professors cited inadequate administrative support as a primary factor. 14 Research by Donald McCabe has indicated that there is an inverse correlation between the ate of plagiarism and the emphasis on academic integrity by institutions or instructors. 1 5 Thus a growing number of institutions are addressing academic integrity through honor codes, pledges, and discussions of ethics.
One political science professor at Stanton Community College, for example, gives his students a six-page letter spelling out his expectations of them, as well as his obligations to them. In the first page he asks: “Would you want to be operated on by a doctor who cheated his way through medical school? Or would you feel com- number of users. Those vendors that do not have downloaded software use an Internet-based application. Fees are also handled differently by different vendors. Some charge users by the paper; others charge for a specific time period; a few change a one-time-only fee.
Another important distinction among many vendors is the databases they search. Vendors’ search engines typically match submissions against a proprietary database containing company-specific content. These databases may contain other student submissions and papers from term paper mills or other sources. In addition to databases, some vendors’ search engines match submissions against content found on the Internet. Finally, the amount of mime it takes to process a search varies as well. Times range from less than an hour to site’s ability to provide it, a second site, Turning. Mom, was created. This site now provides access to the authenticate technology through a Web front-end. 17 Turning. Com is paradigms’ portal for registered users of the company’s services. Registered users may include both faculty and students. Students who have completed assignments and want Turning. Com. Faculty may also direct students to submit papers to the site. At Turning. Com, students or instructors submit papers that will be tested against the Internet or proprietary databases for plagiarism violations.
The company believes that the recirculation of term papers is a key source of plagiarism; therefore, its September/October excel view database contains student papers, papers posted online, material from academic Web sites, and documents indexed by major search engines. Its database consists of 800 million Internet pages and more than 100,000 papers. Student papers submitted by registered users are also archived to the database. Thus, extended use of the service will build an instructor’s archive of papers and will ensure that students cannot easily recycle papers from previous classes.
If an instructor is interested in “testing” a paper for plagiarism, he or she submits it for processing through the proprietary search engine. Once the process is complete, an originality report indicates the probability (in terms of a percentage) of whether the paper was popularized. Instructors can click on links to direct them to the source of the possibly popularized material. This process takes twenty-four hours on average but can take up to two The company has developed a Fourier pricing structure: an individual instructor can opt for a plan that provides 100 originality reports for $100 per semester.
A apartment with no more than 50 classes can choose a plan that provides 500 originality reports for $650 per semester. A small institution with no more than 150 classes per semester can get 5,000 originality reports for $1 ,750 per semester. Finally, a large institution can receive an unlimited number of originality reports for $4,000 per semester. Another vendor is EVE (Essay Verification Engine), anti-plagiarism software that instructors may license for a onetime fee and download to their hard drives. A user may submit a paper in . Ext form, and the software will search the Internet, including term paper mills, for o be high school teachers. Two hours for processing. This time is in part linked to the power of the user’s hard drive. Once the search is complete, the instructor is given a full report on each paper that contained suspected plagiarism, including the percentage of the paper popularized, an annotated copy of the paper showing all plagiarism highlighted in red, and links to the popularized sites. The report does not distinguish which sentences have been popularized from which sites.
There is a fifteen-day free trial of the software, after which time a customer may purchase a license to the software for $19. 99. New companies are planning to enter this market as well. One is Knowledge Ventures, headquartered in Boston, which underwrote portions of the research for this article. Knowledge Ventures is developing a suite of tools and middleware components for use in text-text matching applications. Associates, An instructor interested in “testing” a paper for plagiarism can submit it for processing through a proprietary search engine. Says, depending on the length of the text and the level of demand. Turning. Com was designed to provide users with a simple process for submitting papers for a plagiarism test. A user omelets a short form to submit the paper. The user identifies institution, department, course, name, and ID number. Then the user may submit the paper for testing by pasting a text-only document onto the Web page. As noted, an instructor must convert papers to . Txt format and submit the text examines the papers and makes a large number of searches of the Internet to locate “suspect” sites.
Once suspect sites have been located, EVE visits all of these sites to determine if they contain work that matches the paper in question. Searches require fifteen minutes to the first application to incorporate these lolls, will use supercomputer processing power to compare submitted text documents against the content of a proprietary academic database of textbooks, Journals, Web content, and student-submitted papers. Through the use of customized algorithms and a parallel-processing platform, Associates should be able to detect both verbatim and inexact text matches and to return results in real time.
For each student-submitted paper, a dynamically generated “report” will be returned to a Web browser, including an HTML reconstruction of the original query document and relevant statistical information about the matches found. Matching or “suspect” ententes will be clearly identified in the text, with their proper citations listed accordingly. Associates is in the early stages of development, however, and is not yet commercially available. Lastly, other vendors focus on the fact that patterns of words in documents can be used for more than detecting plagiarism.
For example, Workforce Systems promotes KeyWORD software as helping s legal researchers identify, archive, and track legal decisions by specific Judges and court Jurisdictions; grant-writers track keyword patterns in more effective grant proposals; political scientists find keyword profiles of political communications made Reese releases, and opinion papers; corporate information officers identify, archive, and track keywords in e-mail to ensure the protection of proprietary information; and market researchers develop better qualitative information by tracking keywords found in focus groups and surveys. 8 Implications for Higher Education The amount of time that students spend online has steadily increased, with the bulk of that time b Ewing SP .NET on academic pursuits. With the growth in students’ use of the Internet and the attitude that information should be “free,” it is perhaps not surprising that incidents involving plagiarism have also increased. However, not all plagiarism can be attributed to the increased use of the Internet. In a study of 4,500 students from twenty-five high schools, 54 percent had used the Internet to plagiarism.
But the research also showed that the majority of those cheating would have popularized without the Internet. Only 6 percent of those who submitted popularized work had relied solely on the Internet. 19 As without a citation was wrong. In addition, 22 percent of students in the study turned in an assignment done by their parents. Another poll found that 66 percent of students said that cheating “didn’t seem like a gig deal. ” Sixty-six percent of their parents agreed. 0 In addition, in focus groups involving high school students, many agreed with the following statement: “Many of our teachers are clueless when it stances of suspected plagiarism without providing a more developmental remedy may not provide a long-term solution. For example, a major factor determining whether or not a student will cheat is the academic culture of the specific institution that he or she attends.