Quality and independence are key components in assessing academic achievements at the University of Zurich. UZH upholds the principles of intellectual integrity and ensures that all suspected cases of plagiarism are thoroughly investigated. The University of Zurich supports its faculties in detecting plagiarism by providing them with the plagiarism detection software Similarity by Turnitin. The program is made available to teaching staff across the entire university for checking student work. Alternative solutions (own software, different providers) are to be avoided.
The software analyzes the work of students for textual similarities to other works available online as well as licensed specialist literature. It can also be used to compare papers with the work of other students to detect collusion.
UZH leaves it up to the faculties to decide how they want to use the software. Due to different conditions in the various subject areas, it may be justified to use the software in suspected cases only or more widely. As determined in the meeting of the Extended Executive Board of the University of 4 July 2017, Master’s theses and PhD theses that will be published in ZORA must be checked for plagiarism using the software.
The software is a tool that can help you reach a conclusion. The similarity report generated by the software is merely an indication of plagiarism and should not be used without conducting further checks. When correcting academic work, you must take into account that the software may not have found all instances of plagiarism (e.g. because a source isn’t available online) or that it may have falsely flagged text as plagiarism (e.g. because the software didn’t recognize proper citation).
The legal basis for using plagiarism detection software has been set out for all faculties with the implementation of UZH’s framework ordinance template, which states:
§ 11 Copyright to Student Work
1 In principle, the copyright to student work belongs to the students.
2 Upon submitting work, students relinquish the copyrights to UZH to the extent necessary for administrative actions such as plagiarism detection or archiving.
§ 12 Plagiarism Detection
Student work may be monitored for plagiarism using plagiarism detection software. Suitable service providers in Switzerland and abroad may be contracted for this purpose.