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Interpreting the similarity score

It’s natural for a submission to match against the Internet and your private repository. A high similarity score does not always suggest that an individual has plagiarized, just as a low similarity score doesn’t always indicate that no plagiarism has occurred. If quotes and references have been implemented correctly, it’s likely that there will be instances where matches will be made.

 

 

The similarity score makes you aware of any problem areas in a paper. In order to determine if a match is or is not acceptable, the Similarity Report can be used as a tool as part of a larger investigation process.

What do the similarity score colors indicate?


The color of the similarity score in My Files is based on the amount of matching text in a document.

The percentage range is 0% to 100% with the possible similarity indices being:

 

Light blue: 0% matching text
Dark blue: 1-24% matching text
Yellow: 25-49% matching text
Orange: 50-74% matching text
Red: 75-100% matching text
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A document's quotes and bibliography can be discounted from the similarity score.

Similarity scoring scenarios


A high similarity score does not always suggest that a piece of writing has been plagiarized, just as a low similarity score does not always indicate that no plagiarism has occurred. Consider the following scenarios:

 

1

You may have submitted multiple drafts of the same paper to your private repository, meaning your final draft receives a score of 100%.
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To avoid this issue, we advise that you only submit your final draft to your private repository.

2

An individual within your institution has managed to acquire a copy of your paper. They submit this document and receive a similarity score of 25%. You submit your original document later but receive a 100% similarity score.
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If you believe that this type of collusion has occurred, report this to your organization immediately.

3

Having had little time to study the topic they’re covering, an individual has submitted a paper that includes a chunk of unoriginal text; they receive a similarity score of 20%. In comparison, another individual has gathered information from several sources that they’ve quoted and referenced correctly; they’ve received a score of 22%. Whilst these scores are very similar, they do not highlight plagiarism.
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Opt to exclude quotes from the Similarity Report to lower the similarity score where applicable. If the similarity score remains high after quotes have been excluded, this can help to identify collusion in a paper.

4

A qualitative study has been submitted; this includes a significant number of quotes and an extensive bibliography, as required for the topic of the paper. The author’s similarity score is 53% which exceeds the acceptable score set by their institution.
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Opt to exclude quotes and the bibliography from the Similarity Report to provide a lower and more reliable score.

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