The path to an award-winning antiplagiarism system for higher education institutions

International research project “Impact of Policies for Plagiarism in Higher Education Across Europe” (IPPHEAE, EU funded, 2010-2013, Project Lead Partner: Coventry University, United Kingdom) carried out a survey in all EU countries. Country reports for 27 EU countries are accessible on the internet site http://ippheae.eu/project-results. In the report “Plagiarism Policies in Slovakia” you can read this:

 

“There were some notable differences between the Slovak surveys and the EU average. Almost all Slovak students (99 %!) become aware of plagiarism before or during their bachelor studies. The EU average shows that 20% of students become aware of plagiarism during their masters/PhD degree or are still not sure about it.”

 

" ... Slovak students are the most aware of plagiarism among all EU countries"

 

"The most outstanding example of good practice is definitely the existence of national repository of theses. As it is run centrally and universities are obliged to upload their theses, students from all institutions have theoretically the same conditions. The other aspect is that the software tool provides just a protocol for matching with other sources. The decision about whether a given case is plagiarism or not lies with teachers and/or the examination committee and these may not always follow the same procedures."

 

"Compared to other countries, Slovakia should be praised for its achievements. And it already was: The European Commission has awarded the Slovak Centre of Scientific and Technical Information the European Prize for Innovation in Public Administration."

 

"The responses from Slovak students demonstrated the highest level of understanding about plagiarism within the whole Europe. Their unwillingness (in comparison with other countries) to receive more training on plagiarism is therefore understandable. The research team of the IPPHEAE project would also like to praise Slovakia for existence of national repository of theses and built-in plagiarism detection tools."

 

Centrum vedecko-technických informácií SR (in English: Slovak Centre of Scientific and Technical Information is directly managed by Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport; http://www.cvtisr.sk/en.html?page_id=58) is the operator of nationwide Central Repository of Theses and Dissertations and nationwide Plagiarism Detection System since 2010. All Slovak higher education institutions are obligatory users of both systems. Five types of theses are collected in the Central Repository - bachelor’s, master’s, dissertation, rigorous[1] and habilitation[2] theses. We are ready to share our experiences.

 


[1] A “small doctorate” can be received by a person with a master’s degree. It requires that a candidate passes rigorous examination and defends his/her thesis.

[2] A prerequisite for the granting of the scientific-pedagogical degree “docent” (assistant professor) is habilitation lecture, submission and defense of the habilitation thesis.

 

More information :

The path to an award-winning antiplagiarism system for higher education institutions

SciLogs, posted by Shannon Bohle, 2014

Available at: http://www.scilogs.com/scientific_and_medical_libraries/the-path-to-an-award-winning-antiplagiarism-system-for-higher-education-institutions/

 

 

Policy Context

Plagiarism is an unfortunate phenomenon in the educational system at all levels that existed in the past, exists today and will exist in the future. Slovakia with its population of 5.4 million, like other countries, has been particularly confronted with theses and dissertation plagiarism. The rapid increase in the number of students of higher education institutions (HEIs), non-corresponding growth in the number of teachers, the penetration growth of information and communication technologies and internet penetration growth after 1992, together with a low level of copyright and intellectual property rights awareness contributed to the spread of plagiarism at HEIs in Slovakia. Systemic measure was needed.

SK ANTIPLAG (Central Repository of Theses and Dissertations + Plagiarism Detection System) is in the real operation since the 30th April 2010. The system is obligatory used by all higher education institutions operating under the Slovak legal order (36)[1] thanks to Higher Education Act Amendment. In the Central repository there are collected five types of theses (bachelor’s, master’s, dissertation, rigorous [2]and habilitation[3]) under the uniform collection methodology (theses + metadata).

We registered positive repercussions on the internet and in the media from the HEI officials and pedagogical staff.


[1] The total number of HEIs in Slovakia is 40.

[2] A “small doctorate” can be received by a person with a master’s degree. It requires that a candidate passes rigorous examination and defends his/her thesis.

[3] A prerequisite for the granting of the scientific-pedagogical degree “docent” (assistant professor) is habilitation lecture, submission and defense of the habilitation thesis.

 

 

Description of target users and groups

All higher education institutions in the country operating under the Slovak legal order, pedagogical staff and students, MinEdu, HEIs are the target users of the SK ANTIPLAG.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

MinEdu made a strategic decision in 2008: systematic measures will be prepared and implemented on a national level covering the collection, processing and originality checks of the specified HEI theses to inhibit the spread of plagiarism. The Slovak Centre of Scientific and Technical Information (SCSTI) was charged by MinEdu with the formidable challenge to transform the decision into a system of everyday use. SCSTI is the successor of the first public scientific library in Slovakia which was originally established in 1938, and was often referred to as the Slovak Technical Library in the past. Its original mission is greatly enhanced: “building and operation of complex information systems developed for research and development” in the support and promotion of science, research, development and education.

So it was here that the implementation concept of the nationwide ANTIPLAG system was born and developed, with the participation of experts from other institutions.

The basic strategic goal was defined and it was necessary to develop a strategy to achieve it. One of the major factors that contributed to the success in achieving the strategic objective was finding support in the Parliament. The amendment to the Higher Education Act approved in 2009 enacted the duty for HEIs to send five types of theses for collection in the nationwide repository before their defense (bachelor’s, master’s, dissertation, rigorous and habilitation theses) in order to be checked for originality after their registration by the plagiarism detection system. (The name ANTIPLAG is now used for the central repository of theses and dissertations and the plagiarism detection system). The output of the system is the originality protocol.

SCSTI has defined the requirements for the nationwide ANTIPLAG system, prepared and performed its acquisition, operation planning, launch, administration, its everyday operation and future development. The ANTIPLAG system is based on a national uniform methodology for the collection of theses and dissertations and their originality checks. This approach was selected in order to implement a solution that will be a barrier for thriving plagiarism at all Slovak HEIs – public, private and state – as soon as possible. Secondly, the solution aims to raise awareness of plagiarism, copyright and intellectual property rights.

MinEdu’s decision was made in the first half of 2008 and the real operation of ANTIPLAG started in April 2010. In 2001, only one HEI in Slovakia started to use an electronic system to detect plagiarism. The next two HEIs started to use a plagiarism detection system in 2008. It was a small percentage of all Slovak HEIs: 9% in 2008. The relevant change happened in 2010, when all Slovak HEIs were required to use the ANTIPLAG system. That is to say, all Slovak HEIs are obligated to contribute to the central repository of theses and dissertations and all theses and dissertations are checked for originality by the same plagiarism detection system. The use of plagiarism detection systems has had a longer tradition in many countries but the Slovak approach is innovative and unique in Europe and very likely in the world.

Technology solution

Central Repository of Theses and Dissertations is based on core of Library information System DAWINCI and its modules for Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Database engine is based on SQL technology and XML metadata description. System is designed to be suitable for the description of grey literature entities.

The system contains a database engine, user interface for presentation of metadata and documents (with respect to license), background communication interfaces for data harvesting and collection of support services.

Central Repository of Theses and Dissertations is data source and presentation portal for background of SK ANTIPLAG system used to validate originality of submitted documents.

Main results, benefits and impacts

SK ANTIPLAG - the systemic measure against plagiarism at HEI was put into life. The impact on academic community has been significant and it has also affected the general public. According to statements of HEI officials and pedagogical staff in the media, the mere publication of the information that operation of such system is being prepared had a positive, preventive effect. Students and teachers realized that their papers will be under permanent supervision of the plagiarism detection system and they began to approach the creation of papers and work with literature more seriously. Reactions to the implementation of the SK ANTIPLAG system in the media agree that it contributed to increased responsibility of students and teachers, greater student autonomy in the creation of papers, improvement in the quality of papers, and a higher level of citations.

Repeated uploads of theses are allowed exceptionally, because repeated uploads can support ghost writing. Theses and dissertations that were registered in the CR on September 1st, 2011 and later are publicly accessible. So they are under the triple control: supervisor, examination commission, public.

A uniform methodology for the collection of theses and the relevant metadata that is binding for all Slovak HEIs opens possibilities for various unique analytical outputs on a national level. Some examples include: identical thesis titles (by supervisor, by HEI, by all Slovak HEIs), the number of theses pertaining to one supervisor, the percentage (index) of similarity of theses (by supervisor, by field of study, by department, faculty, HEI, by types of HEIs etc.). MinEdu has the advantage of using different kinds of analytical outputs that can help in assessing the quality of work with students during the preparation of theses broken down by various indicators.

The number of texts containing the word plagiátorstvo (plagiarism) was very low on the Slovak internet and in the Slovak media until 2007. This was a reflection of the situation of the whole society – the issue of plagiarism, copyright and intellectual property rights was not given sufficient attention. Significant changes started in 2008, when the number of texts on plagiarism increased significantly, and the issue of plagiarism became a public matter (in this year Slovak Rector’s Conference required from MinEdu acquisition of a nationwide system for plagiarism detection). And the result: the term plagiátorstvo is no longer hidden in Slovak internet and Slovak media; we are more open to the issue of plagiarism, its presence is openly admitted and there is much more written and spoken word on the topic. The significant raise of interest in the search for the word plagiátorstvo (plagiarism) was recorded.  It culminates in spring every year, which is the main period for the submission of theses and dissertations. In the period before 2010, there was subliminal interest.

The international research project “Impact of Policies for Plagiarism in Higher Education Across Europe” (IPPHEAE, EU funded, 2010-2013) carried out a survey in the EU and country reports were prepared for 27 countries (http://ippheae.eu/project-results). The report “Plagiarism Policies in Slovakia,” says:

“Compared to other countries, Slovakia should be praised for its achievements. And it already was: The European Commission has awarded the Slovak Centre of Scientific and Technical Information the European Prize for Innovation in Public Administration."

"The responses from Slovak students demonstrated the highest level of understanding about plagiarism within the whole Europe. Their unwillingness (in comparison with other countries) to receive more training on plagiarism is therefore understandable. The research team of the IPPHEAE project would also like to praise Slovakia for existence of national repository of theses and built-in plagiarism detection tools."

Track record of sharing

In 2011 we have in our institution the delegation from Polish Parliament and Polish MinEdu that studied our experiences with SK ANTIPLAG. The Higher Education Act amendment that entered into force on October 1st, 2014 in Poland says: A central repository of theses will be created.  According to new rules, immediately after the defense, HEIs have the obligation to send to the central repository the texts of all theses (bachelor’s, master’s and dissertation) with the defined metadata. By the end of 2016, HEIs are obliged to deliver to the central repository all theses defended after the September 30th, 2009.

The information concerning SK ANTIPLAG was presented on international conferences in Newcastle (UK), Prague (CZ), Brno (CZ), Zagreb (HR).

This year we expect the delegations from 2-3 countries.

Lessons learnt

 



  1. Psychological effects




  • Disclosure of information that nationwide plagiarism detection system is being prepared had a positive, preventive effect (probably much more effective impact than any expensive media campaign could have).


  • Public accessibility of theses and dissertations contributes to that, that authors are preparing theirs theses more carefully and more responsible. They respect copyright and they are better citing.




  1. Raising awareness of plagiarism and copyright in general, not only in the academic community.


  2. Uniqueness of the implementation in a global scale.


  3. Where there is a respected target of all stakeholders, the will to achieve it and good relations among them – that all is making the “heavy” tasks achievable in time.


  4. Implementation of SK ANTIPLAG becomes a subject of interest in several countries.


  5. There is a wide variety of analytical outputs for MinEdu that can help in decision making.


 

Scope: European

Categorisation

Type of document
General case study
Login or create an account to comment.