tfw turnitin turns YOU in

Hi, I was wondering if anyone went through this as well. I have a meeting with the Office of the Dean for plagarise for a paper I wrote in one of my classes. I obviously didn’t purposely didn’t cheat. I even made sure to use 20 other plagarism checkers to check if my paper had any detection of plagarism. But clearly it didn’t pick up. So I checked on Turnitin what section of my paper had plagarism. Instead it says “source details have been deleted”. I’m, literally confused at this point.



okay SO you seem pretty nervous, which is reasonable in this situation. i would be flipping out too. i can’t say i’ve been in your exact place– but maybe someone else reading this blog has? anyway, hopefully i’ll be able to help a lil bit with the confusion. obviously i don’t know anything about the exact situation or even about how much you know, but i’ll try to cover my bases here.

if you’ve received a summons to the dean’s office, you’ve likely been referred to a copy of the code of behaviour on academic matters.  if you’ve read this through, you’ll know that a meeting with the office of the dean may not be the end of the world: that meeting exists to decide whether or not you committed an offense, meaning they may actually declare you innocent. in that case, your work will be evaluated normally. if you don’t admit to anything during this meeting and they still suspect you of an academic offence, you’ll head to a tribunal hearing where you’ll be able to plead your case. in short, the university isn’t going to treat you as automatically guilty just because your work has been flagged. you’ll have more than one opportunity to resist the plagiarism charge.

i would suggest that you bring up the ‘source details have been deleted’ thing at your dean’s meeting, and have them explain to you what that means. i’m not familiar enough with turnitin to know exactly what that entails, but if there really is an error that may be useful in your defense.

i guess there’s always the possibility that even despite your best intentions, you accidentally committed plagiarism. according to u of t’s academic integrity page, plagiarism doesn’t necessarily entail using the exact wording of an established source like a book or website– it might also mean your content is too similar to that of another student’s, for example. alternatively, the TA may feel that your writing style differs far too much from your previous work to be yours. in that case, they may suspect that you paid someone else to write your paper. in either of these cases, i’m not sure that a third party plagiarism checker would necessarily detect anything. or there’s the possibility of an issue with your citations; that may also have gotten you flagged.

either way, i’m sure that if you are innocent and continue to plead that, the system isn’t going to screw you over. i can’t really help you out beyond this, but i hope the process is kind to you and that the outcome is just.

last thing– 20 plagiarism checkers? man. i know of like, two tops, but maybe that’s just me. kinda intense to put yourself through that, especially if you do it for every assignment you submit. dang.

over n out,



  • Anonymous

    Basically I was suspected of an academic offense and was bullied to alleging the plagarism. Instead of the 80 I got in the class, I got a 50. Hopefully to Antone who is in a similar situation, please do not rely on a plagarism checker to make sure you don’t plagarise.

  • Tom

    As a further note, there’s the possibility you were flagged *because* you used the 10 other plagiarism checkers, if you did that before you submitted to Turnitin for the course. From what I hear, some of these checkers archive your submission and share this archive with each other, which means a double submission will cause the second submission to be flagged! Privacy settings then might be why you can’t see the source it matched you with.
    As a rule of thumb, *never* resubmit work to plagiarism checkers unless you do substantial and extensive rewrites, and even then maybe not so. If you need to resubmit an edited work, send a note to your TA and/or prof, and they’ll usually just allow you to use your first submission Turnitin results as long as the work isn’t drastically different, can allow for different arrangements, or at least give a heads-up that this might be an issue.

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