Science - January 27, 2005

Fraud detection made easier

It is now possible for teachers to check dissertations and students’ reports for plagiarism. This will make it easier to detect fraud.

According to the student statute, the examination committees regard plagiarism (taking somebody else’s ideas or words and using them as if they were one’s own) as fraud. However, with the recently acquired plagiarism detection system Ephorus, teachers will be able to check work handed in by students more quickly and easily. Several other universities and polytechnics have also introduced the system.

To make checking possible, students have to deliver their work in electronic form. The teacher then logs into a website where the document can be added to a database. The system compares pieces of text from the document with information available on the internet and with other documents in the database. Within an hour the teacher receives an e-mail with information about whether plagiarism is likely to have occurred.

If plagiarism is suspected, the case is taken to the examination committee, which decides whether fraud has taken place after hearing the student’s side of the story. The maximum penalty for fraud is a year’s delay in completion of the relevant subject. / JH

This article is based on information from Jaap Booy of the ICT department of Facilities Management.