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iThenticate - Verification of the originality of text passages

As with many other medical faculties, our faculty is faced with a growing number of accusations of plagiarized texts, especially where dissertations are concerned. In order to handle this problematic situation – which is not only difficult for doctoral candidates, but also for their supervisors – the faculty board has decided to enable all supervisors of doctoral theses to verify the originality of a thesis before it is officially submitted to the doctoral office.

Hopefully, this will prevent a growing plagiarism problem in future dissertations. In order to achieve this goal, the originality of as many doctoral theses as possible is to be verified before submission. The Medical Faculty will enable supervisors to do so, by introducing a new plagiarism detection software.

In practice, this means that for future doctoral theses, supervisors will receive an “iThenticate” account and each submitted doctoral thesis will be checked for congruent text passages against internet sources. As the verification will take place before the evaluation procedure is initiated, doctoral candidates will have a single chance to revise suspicious text passages, without the fear of potential consequences. Supervisors can then resubmit the doctoral thesis for a second and final verification. When submitting the thesis, doctoral candidates must also hand in the supervisor’s statement concerning the originality of the thesis.
Doctoral theses that have not been checked by iThenticate before official submission to the Doctoral Office will be scanned by the Munich Medical Research School (MMRS). In these cases, the resulting iThenticate verification report will become a part of the evaluation process and potentially arising consequences will be taken into account.

iThenticate is available as of now. From October 15th, 2016, all doctoral theses that have not been scanned by iThenticate before submission to the Doctoral Office will be checked by the MMRS.

Short description of the process:

  • You can request an account by sending an email to mmrs@med.uni-muenchen.de. The MMRS will create an account and a personal folder for each supervisor.
  • Submit doctoral theses that are to be scanned to the above mentioned email address. Please note the following:
    • Please only submit the actual text of the thesis (excluding title page, table to contents, reference list, acknowledgements, etc.)
    • Please specify the title of the dissertation, as well as the name of the doctoral candidate. This will lead to a better identifiability of each thesis in your personal folder.
  • Upon upload of the thesis by the MMRS, the verification report will be available for assessment within half an hour to an hour.
  • Assessment of the verification report:
    • In order to open the verification report, please click on the percentage shown next to the thesis you would like to assess.

      Please note:
      the given percentage is not an indicator for whether the submitted thesis contains plagiarized passages or not! It only shows how much of the text corresponds with scanned internet databases. These can also contain correct citations, common phrases, etc.!
    • Carefully read through the report. Only you can determine whether highlighted passages are really plagiarized or not.
    • Naturally the “Material and Methods” section of a thesis often contains established methods and their description. Rewriting these is difficult, which is why this needs to be taken into account when assessing this section of the thesis.
    • If necessary, the doctoral candidate has a single chance to revise problematic passages in his or her thesis. Of course you can also discuss the report with him/her. After revision, you can resubmit the thesis for a second and last scan.
  • After assessing the final verification report, please fill out the form “Statement for the verification of originality of submitted theses using iThenticate” (see below) and sign it. The statement must be submitted to the Doctoral Office by the doctoral candidate along with his/her thesis. Please do not submit the verification report! The MMRS and/or Doctoral Office can review the report online, should the need arise.

The guidelines below give comprehensive instructions on how to use iThenticate.

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