DOC Cop Delivers Free Anti-Plagiarism Tools


A new service has been launched to help instructors in both higher education and K-12 institutions detect plagiarized work submitted by students. The service, DOC Cop, is an entirely Web-based tool that provides free and automated assistance in locating "source material" (ahem) used in assignments submitted to teachers.

DOC Cop was developed by Mark McCrohon, who previously worked in an Australian university and told us he got the idea from the system as he witnessed students colluding on work that was supposed to be an individual effort and turning in duplicate assignments to multiple professors.

"Often teachers and professors are oblivious to the amount of plagiarism and collusion by students so they are not even aware that they need to do something about it," McCrohon told us. "DOC Cop really helps in exposing the size of the collusion problem."

The service is available free of charge and requires only a valid e-mail address to use, which allows for a degree of anonymity. Also, according to the company, the service does not store work submitted for detection longer than the period required to perform the plagiarism check.

The service provides three types of checks:

  • DOC Check, which evaluates individual documents--up to five at a time, 250,000 word maximum each--against one another;
  • Corpus Check, which evaluates an unlimited number of documents (up to 12,000 words each) against one another; and
  • Web Check, which compares strings of text (up to 550 words) against results found on the Web.

Both DOC Check and Corpus Check offer an unlimited number of checks per day per guest account. Web Check supports limited uses per day, depending on the load on the system at ay given time.

Submitted works are checked, and the results are returned to the user via e-mail in less than an hour. McCrohon told us he's seeing the service used by K-12 and higher education instructors to check their students' work and by university researchers to check their own work against content on the Web in order to avoid accidental plagiarism.

McCrohon said he intends to keep the service free and that he hopes to fund continued development (and ongoing costs) by getting academic institutions to promote themselves on the site.

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About the author: David Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's online education technology publications, including THE Journal and Campus Technology. He can be reached at [email protected].

Proposals for articles and tips for news stories, as well as questions and comments about this publication, should be submitted to David Nagel, executive editor, at [email protected].

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 29-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEDavidNagel (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).