Turnitin.com, what is it?

Turnitin.com is a for-profit electronic plagiarism detection service. The service works by having students submit written assignments to Turnitin.com. It then scans assignments for potential sources of plagiarism through matching word-for-word content. Assignments are checked against internet sources, online books, newspapers, journals, and papers submitted by other students. A key feature that makes the service so profitable is the inclusion of students’ assignments. These assignments become part of the Turnitin.com database. While students make no money by submitting their assignments to the plagiarism service, as more and more assignments are submitted to the provider, the database grows, increasing the value for Turnitin.com.

For a hefty price, Turnitin.com sells their services to educational institutions. In turn, the institutions that purchase the program end up promoting the database’s growth by having students submit their assignments to Turnitin.com.

Opt-out of Turnitin


At X University, you have the right to refuse to submit your work to Turnitin.com, even if your instructor requests you to do so. Turn it down, don’t turn it in! Also, instructors are obligated to adhere to the following guidelines:

  • If your instructor chooses to have written assignments submitted to Turnitin.com, they must state so in the course outline. They are also required to include one of the two following statements:
    • “Students who do not want their work submitted to this plagiarism detection service must, by the end of the second week of class, consult with the instructor to make alternate arrangements,” or
    • An outline of the details of alternate arrangements including the deadlines for consultation with the instructor concerning the use of these arrangements.
  • Your course outline should thus include a statement to reflect the option to opt out, as well as your requirement to consult with your instructor by the end of the second week of class to discuss alternative options. For more information please X University’s website that describes this requirement which can be found here


Some students have refused to submit their assignments to this anti-plagiarism device on the grounds that assignment submission enriches the American company’s value at the expense of students’ intellectual property.

Again, according to X University’s guidelines, if you do not want your work submitted to Turnitin.com, you must notify your instructor by the end of the second week of class. You have to consult with the instructor to make alternate arrangements. Other arrangements may include anything from the submission of a draft or an annotated bibliography.

If you have any more questions about Turnitin.com or other academically-related questions, please contact:

Student Rights Coordinator
416-979-5000 x1-557056