University of Glasgow Policy for the use of Plagiarism Prevention Software (PPS)

1. Introduction

1.1   The University’s primary focus in using PPS is to provide a means whereby students may enhance their knowledge and understanding of plagiarism. The aim is to allow them to develop good academic practice in order to reference material correctly, thereby minimising the risk of submitting plagiarised work in summative assessments. PPS may also be used to assist with plagiarism detection where there is concern that an assignment contains plagiarised material. Staff and students should be aware that PPS is not the only method of checking for plagiarism and other means are readily available. PPS should not be used in isolation as it will not highlight paraphrasing, or check every available source.

1.2   This Policy should be read in conjunction with the University’s Plagiarism Statement which is published annually in the University Regulations.

1.3   PPS compares assignments against its international database and produces a similarity report. This identifies the percentage of text (excluding that in quotation marks) which can be matched to any of the existing data.

2. Adoption of PPS

2.1   PPS is available to all appropriate staff and it is recommended that, where appropriate, all courses make use of PPS as an educational tool by allowing their students to submit at least some of their assignments to the system.

2.2   It is acknowledged, however, that there are some specialised types of text which may feature in student assignments that PPS might not check; for example, graphics, formulae and software coding. Academics will therefore be the final judges of whether PPS would be useful in their course.

2.3   Heads of School should consult with their School’s Learning & Teaching Committee and decide whether to opt-in to using PPS. By opting-in to PPS, Schools are not required to submit all student assignments to the system.

2.4   In cases where a School has not elected to use PPS, either generally, or for a given assignment, they can retrospectively ask a student to submit to PPS if there are concerns over the originality of a piece of work.

3. PPS Method

3.1   All PPS assignments must be set up to allow at least one draft submission before the final submission. Each student will be required to self-submit their own assignment on PPS and will have access to the similarity reports arising from each submission.

3.2   In using PPS Schools may determine the following:

3.2.1   the number of assignments that students will be required to submit to PPS;

3.2.2   the limit on the number of times each student will be permitted to resubmit their assignment to PPS (at least one revision must be allowed);

3.2.3   whether to check all similarity reports for any given assignment and whether students are required to provide a copy of their PPS report when they hand in the assignment.

3.3   Schools must ensure that the approach to be adopted in using PPS is clearly communicated to students either before, or at, the time the assignment is set. As already noted in 1.1, PPS may also be used to assist with plagiarism detection, where there is suspicion about an individual piece of work.

3.4   In operating PPS, Schools must take steps to ensure that the University principle of anonymous marking is not undermined and therefore PPS reports should either be anonymised or considered separately from marking.

3.5   Submissions will normally remain on the PPS database. Course leaders may request that the IT Services Help Desk arrange deletion of submissions. Such deletions will normally only be undertaken where the paper has been wrongly submitted.

4. Student Use of PPS

4.1   Students are only permitted to submit their own work to PPS, and only for assignments which the school has set up on the system. Submitting the work of others, or having one’s own work submitted by others, is expressly forbidden and would be considered as a breach of the Code of Conduct.

4.2   Students will only be able to use PPS for the specific assignments that have been registered on the system by the school responsible for the assignment.

4.3   Once work has been submitted to PPS it becomes part of the database that subsequent works are checked against.

4.4   Standard information is made available to students on-line: