URKUND offers a fully-automated system for handling plagiarism. In short, the students send their documents to their teachers by e-mail. Along the electronic route between student and teacher, the documents are checked against three central source areas: Internet, published material and student material. If any document displays similarities with the content in the three sources, the system will flag it for possible plagiarism. An analysis overview is generated and sent by e-mail to the teacher concerned. The analysis overview presents in a simplified form the information needed by the teacher in order to determine if plagiarism has occurred.
Easy to use
URKUND does not require any software installation, no use of complex interfaces and no login to any website; neither for the student nor the teacher. This means that the service is very easy to use and introduce into an organisation.
It is important to differentiate between URKUND's e-mail based system and other tools, whereby the teacher needs to log in to a website and upload the students' documents for checking.
The most important differences are listed below:
Less work involved
URKUND's e-mail based system automatically checks all submitted documents with no extra effort required on the part of the teacher. If teachers use other tools requiring that they themselves select and upload documents, each check implies extra workload. If all documents need to be checked, it will require a major extra effort on the part of many different teachers. Consequently, the most likely scenario is that few documents will actually be checked using such a method.
URKUND's system requires no selection to be made; all documents are checked at every instance of submission. The system consequently maximises the discovery frequency at the same time as it avoids arbitrary and random selection. Using other tools requiring the teacher's active selection and upload, only those documents that the teacher considers to be plagiarised are checked, as well as any documents selected for random screening.
These factors lead to a certain arbitrariness in the screening process. Different teachers may make different assessments concerning what may constitute suspected plagiarism, and they may have different inclinations concerning the effort involved in checking submitted documents. Additionally the selection process risks being driven by prejudice against certain student groups and weaker student groups in particular. Furthermore, the teacher's selection-based checking method is an inefficient means of getting to grips with the number of unreported cases in relation to the prevalence of plagiarism. The number of unreported cases encompasses plagiarism that avoids the teacher's detection evaluation, and a tool based on such evaluations cannot subsequently be said to mitigate the number of unreported cases.
URKUND screens all submitted documents at every instance of submission. This maximises the discovery rate. All systems requiring the screening of only a selection of the submitted documents have a lower rate of discovery.