Turnitin is a tool that allows papers to be submitted electronically to find whether parts of a document match material which has been previously submitted, can be found on the web, or copied from published journals and periodicals.
New enhancements to Turnitin include enabling anonymous submission of work by students for an examination scenario, with their identity masked until the results of the exam are published. In addition a Revision facility allows students to submit material, review the feedback from Turnitin and then adapt their material prior to final submission. This is very useful in training students in good citation practice when used in formative assessment in cases like tutorial work.
In addition to Web crawling and other publicly available material, Turnitin report that comprehensive material from the following publishers is in the database: ABC-CLIO (history resources), Emerald (management research), Gale GeneralOneFile (over 11,000 periodical titles), and SAGE Reference (over 80 encyclopedias). Currently being added are BioMedCentral, McGraw Hill and PubMed.
Membership in this project, known as 'CrossCheck', which aims to provide a mechanism to enable publishers to verify that content is original, and to provide electronic journal content to the Turnitin database, is voluntary, and in the next 6 months 70% of the total ejournal content which will be made available will have been indexed by the developers.
Publishers currently participating in the project include BMJ, Cambridge University Press, Elsevier, Nature, Oxford University Press, Springer, Taylor and Francis, and Wiley Blackwell. Further details on this project.
The Turnitin content team encourage librarians and tutors in universities and colleges to push publishers to deposit their content in the Turnitin database via their sales reps. Pressure from institutions in this way has led to publishers directly approaching the Turnitin developers in some cases.