Outsmart.it plagiarism detection claim and debunk


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Looks at one of many web gimmicks that claim to foil plagiarism detection software by substituting synonyms in a passage that has been cut and pasted.

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Outsmart.it plagiarism detection claim and debunk

  1. 1. Can you “Outsmart” Plagiarism Software and your Professor? Proper paraphrasing, web gimmicks and the reliability of Wikipedia Prof. Maury Brown
  2. 2. The Claim fromhttp://www.outsmart.it
  3. 3. So, I tested it out. I went to Wikipedia I searched for the dangers of smoking and went to this article.
  4. 4. I went to their website and pasted the paragraph into the top window and received my “new, improved, plagiarism-free, guaranteed” wondrous prose.You get such gems as “inclines to rise”
  5. 5. Here are my favorite garbled sentences, formed by a software attempting to simply insert synonyms to “outsmart” plagiarism software. PS: these sorts of obvious synonym troubles indicate to profs that a badYes, this actually says paraphrase (e.g.“blood boats” instead plagiarism) is at hand.of blood vessels.
  6. 6. Hmm… but what about “beating” plagiarism software? I pasted the “new, improved” Outsmart.it paragraph into SafeAssign. Guess what? Yes, that says 90% matching.
  7. 7. But wait, there’s MORE. The plagiarism software DID note that some of the “re-written” paragraph was from Wikipedia (where I got it). BUT, the majority of the paragraph was from a different web site.
  8. 8. Hmmm… Did Wikipedia Credit their source? Let’s see! Here is the paragraph. See any citations? Oh wait, there’s one at the very end of the paragraph. …
  9. 9. It was #51 … Hmmm… Doesn’t Match
  10. 10. So ….• No citation in that paragraph that is a 100% match from http://english.turkcebilgi.com/Tobacco+smoke• No listing of the above cite ANYWHERE on the Wikipedia page
  11. 11. Much of the content on the Wikipedia Page matches http://english.turkcebilgi.com/Tobacco+smoke
  12. 12. That site admits to copying“This article is copied from an article on Wikipedia.org – the free encyclopediacreated and edited by online user community. The text was not checked oredited by anyone on our staff. Although the vast majority of the wikipediaencyclopedia articles provide accurate and timely information please do notassume the accuracy of this particular article.” Would you trust this info for your academic research paper?
  13. 13. Let’s Review• Changing a few words or using synonyms for certain words IS NOT proper paraphrasing. It is plagiarizing.• A software like “outsmart.it” does not create proper paraphrases; it encourages plagiarism. – Its very premise is to plagiarize, as scanning and substituting synonyms is NOT paraphrasing. – It does not save you time; it makes you look silly.
  14. 14. “Outsmart” it?• It does not outsmart anyone – not the professor, not the plagiarism software – Remember, the program found the “outsmarted” text had a 90% match to sites on the Web.• It also creates ridiculous sentences and phrases like “blood boats,” and grammar & syntax errors like “inclines to rise blood cholesterol”• The botched prose is like a big “red flag” to professors – “I substituted synonyms and didn’t even care to re-read the text to see if it makes any sense.”
  15. 15. Using Outsmart.it or Improper Paraphrasing Gets You …• A zero on the assignment• A referral to the dean• Depending on the weight of the assignment, a possible “F” in the class.• A loss of trust with your professor• A lack of personal integrity• A lot of wasted time … it *will* be noticed. Image from: http://fitsnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/nikki-haley-report-card.jpg
  16. 16. Aside from plagiarism, using Wikipedia is Unreliable for College Papers• Unverified• May be copied from elsewhere on the Web (e.g. also be plagiarized)• Disclaims itself: don’t count on it being accurate. – Can be helpful for finding actual primary sources if you go to the References listed in the Wikipedia article.
  17. 17. Conclusion• Follow the research process and the writing process – Find credible sources through college databases or through Google Scholar – Paraphrase by putting passages into your own words (don’t just substitute synonyms) and CITE the source the ideas came from (in-text parenthetical citation that corresponds to Reference Entry)
  18. 18. Conclusion• Do NOT be tempted by so-called short cuts – They are obvious; – They are insulting; – They WASTE your time in the end.• Take pride in your work! Have integrity!• Use the sources you find to bolster YOUR OWN thoughts; you are expected in college to contribute to the discourse, not just repeat it.
  19. 19. Conclusion• Tell your friends not to fall for gimmicks like “outsmart.it”• Contact your professor if you have any questions or concerns, or if you have difficulty with an assignment.• Follow the steps to proper paraphrasing and quoting.• When in doubt, CITE!