Plagiarism Checker Software - ISU Office of the Vice President for Research

Plagiarism Checker Software

Iowa State University invested in a three-year subscription to iThenticate software for detection of plagiarism in proposals and manuscripts. ISU provides a separate plagiarism detection package within Blackboard Learn for teaching purposes.

You can view a demo of the software at

To learn how to begin using iThenticate, go to

To request access to iThenticate:

  • Faculty should send an email from your email address to Please include your full name, department, and college.

FAQs About Using iThenticate »


Description of iThenticate Software


What does the software do?

  • iThenticate looks for and displays similarities between a submitted document and an extensive database of published and unpublished works. The software does not determine whether a particular instance of similarity constitutes plagiarism. It is up to the user to decide whether any detected similarity is acceptable.
I have tried many free plagiarism detection services and they don’t work well. How good is the iThenticate software?
  • iThenticate is used by major publishers of scholarly journals, as well as federal funding agencies. For more details, see
I am very careful not to plagiarize. Why would I want to use it?
  • Most responsible authors do not need plagiarism detection software; they will have taken precautions to avoid plagiarism at the outset. However, plagiarism detection software is a reasonable precaution for multi-author papers and proposals, especially if you don’t know your co-authors well.
What kinds of documents can I use it for?
  • ISU has purchased the iThenticate software specifically for detecting plagiarism in manuscripts intended for publication in scholarly journals, as well as theses, dissertations, and grant proposals. It is not recommended for undergraduate homework.
  • You may only use the iThenticate softeware to detect potential plagiarism in documents you have authored or co-authored.
Who is allowed to use the software?
  • ISU faculty, staff, graduate students, and postdoctoral associates may use the software.
I am not an eligible user. What can I do to check my work for plagiarism?
How do I get started?
  • Faculty should send an e-mail to to request access. Your e-mail to 'pcheck' should originate from your Iowa State e-mail address ( and include your name, department, and college.



FAQs About Using iThenticate


What is a “similarity score”?

  • This is a number that shows the percentage similarity between your document and the databases searched by iThenticate. A high score does not necessarily mean there is plagiarism in the document. The similarity score is not meaningful without knowing what caused the score. Similarly, a low score does not necessarily mean a document is completely plagiarism free. It is important to compare the sections that are highlighted as being similar before deciding whether plagiarism is present or not. 
The software keeps showing my bibliography and quotes as being a “match,” giving me a high similarity score. Is there a way to get it to ignore these items?
  • Yes. When you are viewing your similarity report, you can click on the buttons at the top of the report to exclude quotes, bibliography and/or small matches. This will automatically remove these items from your similarity score.
  • Note that there is a filter button at the bottom of the Match Overview column. By clicking this icon, you can activate several filter choices.


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