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iThenticate Purpose

iThenticate and Turnitin are from the same company, but unlike Turnitin, iThenticate does not retain submissions, so a paper can be run as many times as needed. Comparison sources are only published, scholarly documents rather than classroom papers.    

The purpose of the use of iThenticate is to teach students to avoid unoriginality. iThenticate measures similarity between multiple published documents and the document under examination.

A similarity score is a percentage; it is the total amount of the text (words in sequence) of a document that is in common with published sources divided by the total number of words in the document of interest.

How much similarity is too much? The Graduate School currently uses a score of 12% as the cap for similarity score. However, a score higher than 12% does not necessarily mean an unacceptable level of unoriginality. Interpretation is needed. Some disciplines like chemistry and mathematics have chemical structures and formulas that must be expressed in a standard way. So, for some disciplines scores higher than the 12% cutoff score might be acceptable. However, experience suggests the 12% score is appropriate for most theses and dissertations. 

Running and Creating an iThenticate (Similarity) Report

All faculty supervising thesis and dissertation students can obtain access to iThenticate by obtaining a license through Tina Freeman ( Once access has been granted, faculty can obtain detailed instructions for running a similarity report here. For access to the iThenticate website, click here.

Advisors of thesis or dissertation students can submit a paper for iThenticate analysis at any time and as many times as needed. In minutes the algorithm compares the paper of interest to a massive database of published material and produces a report of sources (individually numbered and color coded) that have similar wording. The report also gives an overall similarity score. A student and his/her advisor  should review and analyze areas that need to be paraphrased, put in quotes, and/or cited properly in order to reduce the similarity score. The purpose of this process is to help students learn to write in a way appropriate to his/her discipline and to avoid unoriginality.

  1. Students and supervisors should review drafts using iThenticate as a method to learn scholarly writing.
  2. A current iThenticate analysis must be submitted with draft proposals, final theses, and final dissertations. Click here for instructions on how to submit an iThenticate report to TDS.
  3. For documents submitted to TDS, the exclusion settings on the iThenticate analysis must be those used by the Graduate School: exclude Quotes, exclude Bibliography, and exclude Small Matches (below 9 words). Do not exclude Small Sources, Abstract, or Methods and Materials.

If after a student and his/her supervisor have reviewed the iThenticate analysis and edited the student’s document to reduce the similarity score, papers with scores in excess of 12% may be submitted to TDS with an explanation by the supervisor that no inappropriate unoriginality are apparent. The staff of TDS will review the analysis. They may make suggestions for further revision of the document to reach the 12% standard or accept the paper as submitted.

If you have any questions, please contact Thesis and Dissertation Services, 903-886-5968.