Why would students want a free version of Turnitin? Well If you’ve been to University in the last ten years or so you are bound to have come across plagiarism software. Software like Turnitin is ubiquitous in modern day education. It serves an essential purpose in an era where plagiarism is potentially easier than ever. The modern student has access to so much information on the net nowadays and it is so easy to lift an essay simply by copy and paste.
Enter Turnitin. This popular plagiarism software was introduced back in 1997 and has grown to be very popular on University Campuses around the world. Students are typically asked to submit their essays to Turnitin before being marked. The software trawls the net looking for similarities in the text to work already published. It also has a database of offline student work to compare with. Course lecturers will typically accept a few percentage points of similarity before calling a work plagiarized. It really is an essential deterrent against plagiarism in the digital era.
Best Turnitin Alternatives!
However, Turnitin isn’t free – it requires an expensive license. So we are investigating alternatives to Turnitin to see if there exists a holy grail – a free version of Turnitin that offers a quality plagiarism scan.
Unplag is one piece of plagiarism kit that would be particularily useful to students and academics. Could it be a free version of Turnitin?
The great thing about Unplag is there is no need to download or do an installation as it works entirely online.
It checks your piece of work against an amazing 16 Billion pages that can be found on search engines like Bing and Google. After the 4 second scan is complete you get a report of the percentage similarity. It also highlights where your work is unoriginal and provides a hyperlink to the source. Pretty cool stuff.
- You can test it for free using their 275 word free trial.
- Four types of scan can be done.
- It takes docx, pdf, html and txt files.
- It isn’t really free. An annual subscription costs $4.99 per month. The monthly cost is greater for shorter time periods like one month or three months.
Verdict – this is a useful tool and won’t break the bank. $4.99 isn’t all that expensive if you are serious about your education. Unplag essentially gives you an indication of your plagiarism before having to finally hand in the work.
Grammarly is a really nice tool which is designed to improve writing and it also has an inbuilt plagiarism checker.
- Compares your work to over 8 Billion other pieces.
- You get more than just a basic plagiarism checker
- Grammarly comes with proofreading, punctuation checking and grammar checking. If you are short of someone to proofread your work this tool can be a life-saver.
- All this doesn’t come cheap. One month is around 30 dollars. A yearly subscription is $30 per month. Not exactly a free version of Turnitin.
Viper offers what seems to be a great deal – free plagiarism checks. However beware, very few things in life come for free.
- The service is entirely free.
- In the terms of service for this application, any essay submitted can be taken by viper and posted to an essay mill site without the users knowledge!
- It reportedly has very poor performance and cannot be relied on as a decent plagiarism checker.
This plaigarism software is designed for both education and business purposes. The report includes the percentage of plagiarized text and highlights matches with different colours.
- It includes a free trial
- Monthly membership is only $4.99. If you are a light user you might not need to pay more.
- Some people have reported finding the report difficult to understand.
- You pay for “plagpoints” essentially meaning you pay per word checked, unlike other services that operate at a flat monthly fee.
Copyscape has long been known as a fairly robust and cheaper alternative to Turnitin.
- The free account allows for 5 scans.
- Run a scan for only 5 cent regardless of file size.
- The report can be hard for some to understand.
- Free service with no requirement for registration.
- Shows links to the plaigarised content.
- Includes a spell checker.
- The free version only allows one check per day for text less than 1500 words.
- Submitted work checked against 20 million academic papers.
- Unlimited upload size for premium users, grammar check and automatic PDF report.
- The free version can produce inaccurate results.
Paper Rater is a free online grammar and spell checker. The service also includes a free online plagiarism checker that compares your article with over 10 billion others giving you some peace of mind. It might after all be like a free version of Turnitin. However on closer inspection the free plagiarism check is limited to five pages.
The Verdict: Is there a free version of Turnitin?
If you are looking for a free version of Turnitin, sadly it doesn’t seem to exist. Most of the plagiarism scanners out there aren’t offering a high quality free service. The best you are likely to find is a trial version that lets you do some limited scanning, but it really isn’t enough for the demands of an undergraduate course.
The only completely free service available is “Viper”. This is one I would recommend to completely avoid. They apparently are using the uploaded documents to create knock off academic papers which is quite ironic. It is essentially a scam. Really if anything is free on the internet and has no ads you are paying in some other way. The scan itself is even reported to be terrible!
There are just so many sites out there its hard to know which one to use and whether or not you are going to get a plagiarism scan of any quality. Although Copyscape is not free, it is probably the best of the Turnitin alternatives. The Berlin University of Applied Sciences has consistently rated Copyscape as a high quality product in their scientific review of plagiarism software. At 5 cent a scan it isn’t going to break the bank either.