Integrity flags in the new, enhanced Similarity Report

Turnitin’s algorithms look deeply at a document for any inconsistencies that would set it apart from a normal submission. If we notice something strange, we Flag it for you to review.

For example, essay mills and users looking to prevent similarity matching abuse text manipulation techniques by trying to pass off plagiarized content as genuine. These techniques, outlined below, are commonly found on YouTube and social media platforms as ways of bypassing similarity checks.

A flag is not necessarily an indicator of a problem. However, we recommend you focus your attention there for further review.

In this guide:

The Flags tab and side panel

If any flags are detected, a number will appear next to the Flags tab at the top of the report, above the submission: number 1 will show when one flag type is detected and a number 2 will show when both flag types are detected).

  1. Select the Flags tab at the top of the report to open the Integrity Flags for Review panel on the right-hand side of the screen.
  2. In the Integrity Flags for Review side panel, you'll find a quick overview of any instances of hidden text, replaced characters, or further text manipulations found in a document.
  3. Selecting a Flag card from the side panel will expand the card to display more details. In the submission, you will see a red flag with a number inside indicating the flag type and red boxes around all suspicious text related to that flag.

Hidden text

Paper mills and authors looking to hinder similarity matching abuse text manipulation techniques by trying to pass plagiarized content off as genuine. These techniques are commonly found on YouTube and social media platforms as ways of ‘cheating Turnitin’.

For example, hidden quotation marks could influence the amount of quoted material recognized in a document. When a user excludes well-referenced matches using the Exclude Quotes functionality, in a manipulated document this would also hide plagiarized content.

Or, a user may set the color of a block to text to white rendering it invisible on the white background of the paper. This can be to manipulate the word count or break up plagiarized text with hidden characters.

Replaced characters

Some characters in different alphabets can look similar enough that to the naked eye, it is difficult, if not impossible, to tell them apart.

Turnitin automatically swaps these characters out when scanning a submission so they will not affect the Similarity Report. However, by replacing characters, the intent is to try and interrupt a similarity match.

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