For Researchers

Plagiarism Checker Software

iThenticate Plagiarism Checker

The iThenticate plagiarism checker is available to Iowa State faculty and graduate students as a tool to assure theses, journal articles, grants, and other scholarly writings are free of plagiarized text. This tool is for personal use only and all documents submitted to the application should be authored or co-authored by the person having an authorized Iowa State account.

User Policy

The iThenticate account may be used for detecting plagiarism only in manuscripts intended for publication in scholarly journals, theses, dissertations, and grant proposals authored or coauthored by the account holder.

The Iowa State license with the service provider has a limit on the total number of documents that can be submitted to our iThenticate application. Only documents that are complete or near completion should be uploaded and checked for plagiarism. Versions of any single thesis, journal article, or grant should be uploaded no more than 4 times in order to identify and remove any text that might be considered plagiarized. Submitting small sections of documents, already published documents, or the same document many times over is not an acceptable use of the iThenticate application.

For teaching purposes, Iowa State provides a separate plagiarism detection package. Contact the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching for more information about this application.

Any use of iThenticate outside of these guidelines without prior authorization will result in removal of access to iThenticate.

Requesting Access and Use

To request access to iThenticate:

You can view a demo of iThenticate here. To learn how to begin using iThenticate, go here.

For a discussion about plagiarism, see the following article provided by iThenticate:
Researcher Insights into the Types of Plagiarism and Attribution Issues


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iThenticate looks for and displays similarities between a submitted document and an extensive database of published and unpublished works.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.

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 the context of the passages that 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 with the corresponding published passages 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 filter button at the bottom of the report to exclude quotes, bibliography and/or small matches. This will automatically remove these items from your similarity score.

What kinds of documents can I use it for?

Iowa State 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 (see Guidelines above).

You may only use the iThenticate software 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 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.

I am not an eligible user. What can I do to check my work for plagiarism?

iThenticate offers personal subscriptions to their software. Visit for more information.