[Review] PlagTracker: Easily check for Plagiarism in academic papers

If you have completed all your homework, essays, and project reports without help of Internet, Google and Wikipedia, you are either a born genius or were born in or before 1970s. All of people are habitual to look for references on internet and most of the time use those magical short cuts “Ctrl C and Ctrl V”.

But using plagiarized stuff in your work could be troublesome as some Universities, Schools are very strict on plagiarism and thus they may result in heavy penalty. To avoid such situation one must check for plagiarized content.

What is PlagTracker?

PlagTracker is an online tool that lets you check for plagiarized content in a paper for free (for basic checks). All you have to do is to copy paste your content in to the check-area on the tool. After running the check, it tells the “suspicious content” with the link of the “original sources” where the content has been copied from. PlagTracker claims that it has unique checking algorithm. It checks the content in less than two minutes, pretty fine.

Does PlagTracker really work?

I ran few tests to see how effective PlagTracker actually is. I used my masters thesis to find out if there are any plagiarized content in it. I used certain sections of the thesis to run the check for which I was sure of whether it has been written by me or by someone else.

The one below did not give any plagiarized content. That seemed fine to me:

Then I tested for some content which I have used (almost) directly in my thesis. It did tell me about the presence of copied content BUT it was not what I expected. That was the only original line in the whole text shown as plagiarized content. Boo!

In the next test, I checked again for some random text of my thesis, only to be caught by PlagTracker for multiple occurrences of copied material.

Highs and Lows of PlagTracker:

Some of the high points:

  • Free (basic)
  • Easy to use
  • Online, no download required
  • No need to register to the online tool for free usage
  • Pretty decent result (better results claimed for premium users)
Some of the low points:
  • You cannot upload a whole document (at least in basic version). You have to copy paste it in the tool.
  • There is a limit of 5000 characters for basic users.
  • Results could be better
  • Too expensive ($14 per month) for premium version. Not suitable for individual needs.

Verdict:

It is a pretty decent tool that comes handy in checking your essays and other small academic papers. But it might be a bit cocky when it comes to check for a whole thesis, for free users. But no one can be blamed here as any company needs to generate revenue. And for one time home users, it provides enough basic facilities.
If you are responsible for evaluating the students’ work, you might be very well aware of the plagiarism issue in student’s work. You can push for your university or school for a subscription of PlagTracker. Students, feel free to use the free version, no need to go for a premium membership.