Protecting individual thinking and writing with PlagScan

How PlagScan protects copyright ownership while identifying duplicated content

The quality of education is a priority nowadays. Writing content is not what it used to be anymore. Students can copy content from the web. Professors and teachers can not refer to manual plagiarism checking anymore: the amount of sources makes the task extremely time-consuming and requires a lot of effort that should be invested in pedagogy or grading papers. In fact, ensuring originality of content is tedious work, but it is key to educational and scientific advancements. Moreover, there is no gold-standard for copyright detection.

That’s why plagiarism software like PlagScan safeguards the content of students and professors while promoting critical thinking as well as academic integrity.

For Johannes Knabe and Markus Goldbach PlagScan’s founders, it all began with the following incident:

“Johannes’ wife, a teacher at a secondary school, came home with essays from students one night back in early 2009. One of them contained a direct copy of a Wikipedia entry. Since the student hadn’t even bothered to change the formatting, this misconduct was easy to spot. But it spurred her interest in the subject of plagiarism and she investigated all of the other essays in detail too. Upon closer inspection, she found that several other students had plagiarized their essays as well–students she would never have initially suspected. These cases, however, were a little harder to detect, as the students had taken a bit more effort to conceal their plagiarism.

That night, the idea for PlagScan was born: an automated plagiarism checker for all texts, which would set a fair standard for all, and improve the quality of teaching and research. This is what first inspired the development of ‘cutting-edge’ algorithms for full-text comparisons.

Ensuring originality of content is tedious work, but it is key to educational and scientific advancements.

When the founders started to launch their free plagiarism detector online in 2009, they did not foresee the success to come in the following years. While refining the technology, PlagScan increased its user base quickly and helped to raise awareness of plagiarism around the world. Now, PlagScan supports four languages and has customers from all over the world. More than 1,500 organizations and 1,2 million students rely on our service. Every day, thousands of users utilize the software to identify plagiarism.

How does a plagiarism checker work?

PlagScan’s algorithm recognizes duplicated content of three consecutive words. It also identifies if these words have been reordered or contain synonyms. In fact, it searches numerous digital sources for semantically related documents. The software examines the internet, publisher databases, customers’ own documents, as well as PlagScan’s internal database named the Plagiarism Prevention Pool. PlagScan uses the index of Microsoft Bing to identify related texts from billions of documents.

After that, the software applies artificial intelligence to identify direct quotations, insignificantly small matches and whitelisted content for the most comprehensive result.

PlagScan is easy to use for teachers as well as students. After registering and downloading their documents, they analyze their content and receive an intuitive and interactive report. The PlagLevel gives a quick indication of the amount of potential duplicated content. Suspicious passages are colored and highlighted.

Furthermore, teachers and students can collaborate by sharing insights with colleagues and use the commenting function to work together.

PlagScan uses the index of Microsoft Bing to identify related texts from billions of documents.

PlagScan’s mission is to help educators by freeing up more of their time for pursuing pedagogical goals. The easy submission process of assignments gives students the opportunity to submit their papers online. Those will automatically be checked with PlagScan.

As most universities and schools use earning management systems to manage course content, PlagScan is easily integratable into any LMS through the provision of an API or plug-in.   Users can synchronize their user administration through the general organization identifier via Shibboleth.

For bigger universities, PlagScan also covers a wide range of administrative tasks and streamline user administration, for example.

The solutions are based on simple rules: PlagScan stands data security, privacy and copyright protection of all uploaded data. Plagscan complies with the European GDPR,German BDSG and Data Protection Acts.

The goal is to achieve a fair standard instead of acting upon suspicion.

To establish a fair standard, everyone’s work should be treated equally.  This pedagogical approach will reduce incidents of plagiarism significantly, while simultaneously increasing original content creation.

If you are interested in learning more about PlagScan, visit or stay updated about news on the Facebook account PlagScan International.

Meet with members of the team at the OEB exhibition in Berlin on booth C10 from December 5th to 7th 2018.

Free live webinar & QA

The digital difference - Build a culture of reading with ebooks & audiobooks

Free Education Webinar with OverDrive

Friday, June 24, 2PM London BST

In this webinar, hear from Havant Academy Librarian Joanna Parsons to learn how she uses ebooks and audiobooks to help boost reading among her secondary students.