These are bad times for plagiarisers in the academic community as not less than 123 Nigerian universities are uniting forces to deploy top anti-plagiarism software to check the integrity of academic work. Nigeria is the first African country to introduce the plagiarism detection software by Turnitin on a nationwide basis.
The deal is costing the universities N480 million for the first three years of the agreement.
Negotiations between Turnitin and the universities began in February. Right now, staff of the various universities are undergoing training and testing of the software which would become fully operational from May.
Turnitin is working in partnership with the Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVC) to roll out the technology across the country.
CVC Secretary General Mike Fabarode who said plagiarism in Nigerian universities is “becoming a major problem” and vice chancellors had to swiftly tackle it “before it spreads like wildfire.”
He said the committee wants to preserve the integrity of the Nigerian academic enterprise which could be destroyed by continuous plagiarism.
Worldwide, Turnitin is used by more than 10,000 institutions in 126 countries. In the UK alone, 98% of the country’s higher institutions use the software to check for academic originality and authenticity, save instructors time and provide valuable feedback to students.
This is how the software works: Students submit their assignments to Turnitin electronically and the system compares the content to a huge database of content from online resources, journals and student papers. It then flags up any references which match content on the database, that is, anything that could potentially have been plagiarised or not referenced correctly. It will highlight these sections so that the tutor can take a closer look.
Turnitin Vice President International, Will Murray, in a statement said Nigeria is following the example of UK, Pakistan, Turkey and several other countries to ensure the integrity of its scholarly work on a national basis.
“This move highlights the determination of Nigerian higher education institutions to address the issue of plagiarism and promote academic integrity and authenticity as well as enhance their reputations on an international level.
“We’re delighted to be assisting the CVC in establishing a national model for academic integrity in Nigeria and onsite training has already begun.”