Academic Integrity/SafeAssign/Plagiarism

Academic integrity is the moral code or ethical policy of academia. This includes values such as avoidance of cheating or plagiarism; maintenance of academic standards; honesty and rigor in research and academic publishing.

UTHSC uses SafeAssign which is a plagiarism prevention service available through Blackboard. This service helps instructors prevent plagiarism by detecting unoriginal content in student papers. In addition to acting as a plagiarism deterrent, it also has features designed to aid in educating students about plagiarism and the importance of proper attribution of any borrowed content.  UTHSC requires students to read the SafeAssign usage document located at UTHSC's SafeAssign Usage Document - Required Reading Before Usage before using the software.

SafeAssign can be used in two ways. Students can submit papers directly through a regular Blackboard Assignment created inside their courses by instructors or instructors may upload papers directly, without student involvement through the Direct Submit feature.  SafeAssign accepts papers in Word (DOC, DOCX, ODT), Plain Text (TXT), Rich Text Format (RTF), PDF, and HTML formats.

SafeAssign currently checks all submitted papers against the following databases:

  • Internet - comprehensive index of billions of documents available for public access on the Internet;
  • ProQuest ABI/Inform database with over 1,100 publication titles and about 2.6 million articles from '90s to present time, updated weekly (exclusive access);
  • Institutional document archives containing all papers submitted to SafeAssign by users at UTSHC
  • Global Reference Database containing papers that were volunteered by students from Blackboard client institutions to help prevent cross-institutional plagiarism.

Once the document has been submitted, SafeAssign generates a report which provides sentence matching scores representing the percentage probability that two phrases have the same meaning.  The overall SafeAssign score indicates the probability that the submitted paper contains matches to existing sources. There is no high score that guarantees that a student plagiarized, and vice versa, there is no low score that guarantees a student did not. The score is a warning indicator only, the intructor should review papers to see if the matches are properly attributed.

For more information about SafeAssign or plagiarism, click on the links listed below.


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