, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 1255-1266
Date: 23 May 2012

An Analysis of Student Privacy Rights in the Use of Plagiarism Detection Systems

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Plagiarism detection services are a powerful tool to help encourage academic integrity. Adoption of these services has proven to be controversial due to ethical concerns about students’ rights. Central to these concerns is the fact that most such systems make permanent archives of student work to be re-used in plagiarism detection. This computerization and automation of plagiarism detection is changing the relationships of trust and responsibility between students, educators, educational institutions, and private corporations. Educators must respect student privacy rights when implementing such systems. Student work is personal information, not the property of the educator or institution. The student has the right to be fully informed about how plagiarism detection works, and the fact that their work will be permanently archived as a result. Furthermore, plagiarism detection should not be used if the permanent archiving of a student’s work may expose him or her to future harm.

A version of this paper was presented at the 18th annual meeting of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics.