Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


The Days Of The Cheats Are Numbered

For immediate release
24th October 2002

Electronic Plagiarism: The Days Of The Cheats Are Numbered

A leading international expert on electronic plagiarism says the massive problem of plagiarism facing educators is gradually being overcome.

Dr John Barrie, founder and CEO of Oakland, California-based iParadigms Inc, will present a seminar at The University of Auckland on Friday entitled: Electronic Plagiarism and Its Impact on Educational Quality
iParadigm’s software package,, enables educators to turn the tables on student-run cheat sites by providing a tool to check potentially plagiarised works.

Dr Barrie, whose visit is hosted by The University of Auckland Business School, says the problem is huge. “We’re seeing a 10 to 15 per cent rate of plagiarism in the universities we’re testing.” affects millions of students and faculty in more than 50 countries (including every university in the United Kingdom and leading US universities Cornell, Rutgers and Duke), and it receives more than 10,000 student papers each day.

Friday’s seminar will examine the critical issues related to the growth of electronic plagiarism in educational programs, its impact on the quality of these programs, the systems used to detect plagiarism, and future directions in this area.

Dr Barrie will speak about his experiences with plagiarism (both as an academic and as the developer of plagiarism detection methods) and about the developments planned for detection of electronic plagiarism to include electronic journals and other media, including movies, music and computer software.

Robyne Lovelock, Managing Director of Melbourne-based ALDIS Associates, will co-present the seminar.

Turnitin's software converts each paper submitted for scrutiny into a long string of numbers. The resulting “digital fingerprint” is compared, using statistical techniques originally designed to analyse brain waves (Dr Barrie was previously a biophysicist), to more than a billion documents that have been fingerprinted in a similar fashion. These include the contents of online “paper mills” (which recycle term papers for profit), the classics of literature and the firm's own archive of all submitted term papers, as well as a snapshot of the current contents of the World Wide Web.

Whenever a matching pattern is found, the software makes a note. After highlighting instances of replication, or obvious paraphrasing (according to Turnitin, some 30% of submitted papers are “less than original”) the computer running the software returns the annotated document to the teacher who originally submitted it — leaving him with the final decision on what is and is not permissible.

During his experiences at the helm of iParadigms, Dr Barrie has appeared in numerous news stories on plagiarism (including 60 Minutes, Good Morning America, CNN, ABC News, the BBC, The New York Times and The Economist).

Dr Barrie completed his undergraduate studies in Rhetoric and Neurobiology at the University of California at Berkeley, going on to complete a PhD in Biophysics (with a specialty in Neurobiology) from the same university.

Media are welcome to attend Friday’s seminar. Dr Barrie will also be available for interviews from Thursday. It would be best to contact him through Robyne Lovelock.

Event: Electronic Plagiarism and Its Impact on Educational Quality
Venue: Federation of University Women Room, Old Government House (City Campus)
Date: Friday 25th October 2002
Time: 2.00-5.00 pm


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman'

The Guardian needed not one, but three reviews to do justice to Fennell's unsettling approach, which indicates exactly how ambiguous and controversial its message really is. More>>

Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>

Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland