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Guide for Law Journal Students

Plagiarism Intro

Journals should avoid plagiarism

  • by students writing notes and comments
  • by outside authors whose work they are publishing

A spectrum of plagiarism (Turnitin) ranges from cloning someone else's entire paper to sampling some pieces with a few word alterations. offers lots of material (videos, research papers, blog posts) about plagiarism. It is sponsored by Turnitin, a commercial plagiarism-checking program.


Lexis offers plagiarism-checking software via its course software.

  • It assumes users are faculty, but a student journal can use it. UW Law journal editors, contact our Lexis rep (quinn.merrill [at]
  • SafeAssign is available until June 30, 2018. See University of Michigan guide.
  • Lexis is migrating its courses to Canvas by July 1, 2018. The new platform will include Turnitin.

UW IT licenses VeriCite for UW instructors to use in Canvas. In May 2018, UW IT told me that the license can't include a student-edited journal. - Mary Whisner, research services librarian.

A Few Tips

Online services don't cover everything.

The commercial plagiarism-checking services can save you a lot of work, but nothing is perfect. Bear in mind that an author could have plagiarized from a book or article that's not in the service's database. If you suspect plagiarism, check further, even if the program didn't find a problem.

Watch for dates.

If an author submits a paper that was supposedly just written, watch for sections that cite old sources (e.g., C.F.R. sections or U.S.C.A. pocket parts from a few years ago). That could be a sign that the author "borrowed" someone else's footnotes.