UHI Originality checking policy

Originality checking policy (Turnitin section)

The Turnitin Policy was approved by Academic Council on 16th June 2012. The Originality checking policy supersedes the Turnitin policy and was approved by Quality Assurance and Enhancement Committee on 3rd December 2019 and by Academic Council on on 11th December 2019. For HE, the Policy must be implemented in conjunction with the university’s:

  1. Academic Standards and Quality Regulations.  
  2. Assessment, feedback and feedforward policy The relevant assessment cover sheet must be used and (if an originality checker is used) must include the originality checking section: 
    1. Assessment coversheet: SQA
    2. Assessment coversheet: undergraduate
    3. Assessment coversheet: postgraduate 

Failure to adhere to the policy:

  1. may disadvantage students/
  2. may exceed licence limits, which will have financial implications,
  3. could result in withdrawal of service by the vendor.

Although students own the copyright to their work, their formal acceptance of the university’s regulations permits the use of originality checking software such as Turnitin and gives staff the right (subject to the software’s licence terms and conditions) to submit student assignments to university endorsed externally hosted originality checkers such as Turnitin. Staff are encouraged to use originality checking software as an educational tool to inform and educate students in scholarly writing and referencing. It is recommended that students should have at least one formative use of the originality checking software before it is used on summative assignments. Students using assistive technologies must have at least one formative use of the originality checking software before it is used on summative assignments.

Turnitin (HE licence)

The University has purchased a licence for HE staff to use Turnitin. Use of Turnitin indicates acceptance of Turnitin’s User Agreement. Please note: Urkund may not be used for HE courses.


The score and/or feedback received through the originality checker is but one piece of evidence about a student's writing ability. If a score is used to support an important decision about a student's performance, staff should review and evaluate the score and/or feedback to ensure the appropriate decision about performance or plagiarism. Staff must exercise their independent professional judgement in, and assume sole and exclusive responsibility for, determining the actual existence of plagiarism in a submitted assessment with the acknowledgement and understanding that originality checker reports are only tools for detecting textual similarities between compared works and do not determine conclusively the existence of plagiarism, which determination is a matter of professional judgment of the academic and university.

To comply with Turnitin’s user agreement and to ensure correct use of Turnitin, staff must adhere to the following:

  1. If Turnitin is to be used, students must be given access to information about Turnitin at Induction.
  2. Staff are solely responsible for any and all use of their Turnitin account.
  3. Staff must maintain the confidentiality of their Turnitin password and may not share their password with any other person.
  4. Generic accounts may not be used to access Turnitin.
  5. Passwords and class identification numbers may not be posted to any public forum or placed in any file that is accessible in a peer-to-peer network.
  6. If they suspect any unauthorized use of their Turnitin account or access to their password or class identification number, staff must notify Turnitin immediately by sending an e-mail to legal@turnitin.com.
  7. Staff may use Turnitin only for officially registered classes in the university’s records system in which they are officially teaching and students are enrolled.
  8. Staff must not state that their students are using Turnitin when the students are not registered with Turnitin.
  9. Staff may only provide Turnitin class identification numbers and passwords to students who are properly enrolled in the relevant registered class.
  10. Staff may not use Turnitin on an individual basis – if plagiarism is suspected staff have to enter the entire cohort, providing students have already had at least one formative use of Turnitin prior to the event.
  11. Staff must keep a record of the use of Turnitin which can be used in an appeal.
  12. If a request is received from Turnitin (made by another internal or external Turnitin user) to supply a copy of a past or present student’s work, to ensure that applicable laws and privacy rights are not violated, staff must follow these steps:
    1. Forward the email to the Head of Academic Development.
    2. Do not reply to the Turnitin email, keep it until you hear from the Head of Academic Development.
    3. The Head of Academic Development will discuss the request with the Deputy Principal.
    4. Only the Deputy Principal can make the decision to share the paper.
    5. Once the decision has been made, you will be contacted by the Head of Academic Development.

If the user is internal, permission will normally be granted for the sharing of such data. The Deputy Principal may grant external users permission if the work is necessary to establish academic misconduct. If permission is granted, the recipient will be asked to confirm in writing the purpose for which the paper is required and will guarantee that they will preserve the confidentiality of and destruction of the material on completion of their investigation.

For more information contact Andy Brown andy.brown@uhi.ac.uk, Tel: 01343 576 362.

HE Students

HE students

  1. Where Turnitin is used, compliance with this policy is a requirement of undertaking the unit/module.
  2. Students may only log in to Turnitin if:
    1. they are enrolled in a unit/module for which they have been given an identification number and password and
    2. the password with which they are entering the Turnitin site is their own which has been specifically issued to them by the university.
  3. Students must maintain the confidentiality of their password.
  4. Students may not share their password with any other person.
  5. If they suspect any unauthorized use of their account or access to their password or class identification number, students must notify Turnitin immediately by sending an e-mail to legal@turnitin.com.
  6. Students should use only their student number in submitting work through Turnitin and avoid providing any details that will compromise their privacy.
  7. While students are still registered and after they have left the university, students’ work will be retained under the university’s name in the Turnitin database and may be further reproduced and used for disciplinary investigations concerning other students.