What is iThenticate

iThenticate is plagiarism software that is available to UNSW researchers to detect review and assess research outputs. The software assists researchers to detect plagiarised material in draft manuscripts and Higher Degree Research (HDR) theses prior to submission.

iThenticate cannot detect all plagiarism. It is a text matching tool and academics, who are the experts in their respective fields, are best placed to identify plagiarised material.

How do I get access to it?

HDR Candidates: HDR candidates do not have access to this software. Supervisors are expected to check their candidate's written work using iThenticate and discuss the outcome with their candidate, suggesting appropriate training in academic writing and referencing if needed.

You can submit your request for access to iThenticate with an email, along with you zID and a short message explaining why you need access, to the UNSW IT Service Centre.

Once your request is approved you will receive an email to confirm your access along with login information.

NOTE: HDR candidates should seek access to iThenticate through their supervisor.

Further information and where to get help

Login and technical support: Email itservicecentre@unsw.edu.au or call the IT Help Desk on +61 2 9385 1333


The video below explains the iThenticate policy at UNSW and the process for getting access to it (3min 46s).

How to upload and interpret an iThenticate Report?

In the video below, we upload a document and work through interpreting a sample iThenticate report (11min 14s).

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1.      Is this a new requirement?
    No. UNSW has required HDR supervisors to run theses through iThenticate before submission for several years. These videos are to support researchers in meeting their current obligations.

    2.      Who can use iThenticate at UNSW?
    HDR supervisors are required to use iThenticate. UNSW staff who are co-authors on collaboratively drafted papers should also use iThenticate as all authors are responsible for the whole research output.

    3.      When should staff use iThenticate
    Supervisors should use iThenticate to support the writing process throughout a student’s candidature. Supervisors must check a HDR thesis through iThenticate before completing the Supervisor’s Certificate and approving submission. Supervisors are strongly encouraged to ensure they have iThenticate access well before a thesis due date to enable any issues and corrections to be addressed. Staff who wish to check draft manuscripts may do so at any time.

  • 1.      Tell me quickly, how do I get iThenticate access?
    Submit an IT Service Desk ticket via https://www.myit.unsw.edu.au/contact-us or by email to itservicecentre@unsw.edu.au. Briefly say who you are and why you want access.

    2.      I think I had iThenticate access but forgot my password. What do I do?
    Submit an IT Service Desk ticket as above but indicate that you may already have an existing account. The administrator can then reactivate your account, if you have one, or create a new account for you.

    3.      iThenticate is asking me to pay. What do I do?
    UNSW has an enterprise-wide iThenticate license. Send an email to research.integrity@unsw.edu.au to reset your account.

    4.      I don’t have time for this. Can’t I get my student to do the iThenticate report for me?
    UNSW policy does not allow students to get access to iThenticate. It is the supervisor’s responsibility to review the student’s thesis and assess if there is any plagiarism. iThenticate is a tool to support the supervisor with their review by detecting potential plagiarism.

    5.      Where do I log in to iThenticate?
    You log in to iThenticate via their website.

  • 1.      Can I compare documents?
    There is a new feature in iThenticate that enables you to compare documents. You will find this new feature when you upload documents for checking.

    2.      Can I upload a Word doc or PDF?
    You can upload a Word doc or PDF. iThenticate can read text in either format. However, it does not check images or text in images.

    3.      I want to check the references in a document. Can iThenticate help me with that?
    No. iThenticate is used to check for plagiarism. It cannot check if a reference has been cited appropriately or correctly. Reference managers, like Endnote, have some features to check reference information (e.g., publication year or volume number), but assessment of whether a reference has been cited appropriately requires a manual review.

    4.      How long does it take a document to process?
    It depends on how long the document is. A short essay might only take 5-15 minutes. A long thesis may take an hour or so. If you don’t get a report within a day, contact research.integrity@unsw.edu.au.

    5.      I have uploaded a document but can’t view the report. What’s happening?
    iThenticate will take some time to compare the document to sources on the internet and in literature. Try checking back in a few minutes to see if there is any progress. If you can’t see the document in your list, try uploading the document again. If you don’t get a report within a day, contact research.integrity@unsw.edu.au.

  • 1.      At what percentage similarity should I begin to suspect plagiarism?
    The similarity score (percentage) is not a plagiarism score. You should always review the whole report before making any judgement about plagiarism. A document can have a ‘low’ overall similarity score but include sections that have been copied verbatim from other sources. Conversely, a document may have a ‘high’ similarity score because it includes appropriately referenced quotes, common technical phrases and a comprehensive bibliography.

    2.      I see some highlighting in iThenticate. How do I know that something is plagiarism?
    It depends on the nature and extent of the highlighted text. If a whole paragraph is copied with no acknowledgement, that is clearly plagiarism. Conversely, if iThenticate is only highlighting common technical phrases or standard definitions you would be unlikely to suspect plagiarism. You should use your judgement as a subject matter expert. If unsure, contact a Research Integrity Advisor.

  • 1.      What do I do if I detect plagiarism or copyright infringement in a HDR thesis?
    You should speak to the HDR student. Use the iThenticate report as an educational tool. Speak with a Research Integrity Advisor or contact the Conduct and Integrity Office if you have any concerns or have further questions.

    2.      How do I approach these conversations with my student?
    As with other forms of feedback – be kind but firm. Explain what the concerns are e.g., plagiarism and/or copyright and why they are important. It can be helpful to describe good practices for writing and incorporating copyright permissions into the discussion and thesis drafting process. For further support, speak to a mentor or a Research Integrity Advisor.

  • 1.      Copyright sounds complicated. Where can I find more information?
    Copyright is complicated! The UNSW Library has a website on copyright that provides further information on copyright requirements for students, teachers, and researchers. UNSW staff and students can also contact the library if they have any questions.

    2.      I have a question that wasn’t answered here. Who do I contact?
    You may contact your Research Integrity Advisor or the Conduct and Integrity Office by email at: research.integrity@unsw.edu.au