Turnitin Similarity Report, also called the Turnitin Originality Report, is a report that detects accidental or on-purpose plagiarism. iThenticate is a product of Turnitin that is basically designed for academic authors who want to submit manuscripts to scientific journals and is not used for classroom use.
iThenticate report, also known as CrossCheck or Similarity Check, is used before publishing a study in a scientific journal, submitting a thesis or dissertation, or submitting a grant proposal.
In this task, I used iThenticate as part of Turnitin. This article applies to Turnitin and iThenticate because they use the same database and are under the same ownership. However, their interpretations are different. Therefore, please refer to a wide range of frequently asked questions to get a deeper understanding of the Turnitin and iThenticate similarity reports.
Even though the Turnitin website tells authors that the score might normally be up to 20%, most Journals do not accept any iThenticate similarity rate above 10%!
Turnitin Report as well as the iThenticate Report can be understood as “plagiarism detectors” for non-academic people.
- 1 Task
- 2 Price of the Translation and Journal Adaptation
- 3 Preparations
- 4 The Academic Translation Phase
- 5 Revisions: Adjusting to the Turnitin Similarity Report
- 6 My Final Words
- 7 Frequently Asked Questions on Turnitin
- 7.1 What is the optimum rate for a Turnitin similarity report?
- 7.2 How much similarity on Turnitin is good?
- 7.3 How much similarity on Turnitin is bad?
- 7.4 How do I lower my Turnitin score?
- 7.5 Is 0% Turnitin good?
- 7.6 Does Turnitin’s report detect paraphrasing?
- 7.7 Should I delete my article from the Turnitin database after I am done with the similarity report?
- 7.8 How long does Turnitin keep papers?
- 8 Frequently Asked Questions on iThenticate
- 8.1 What is the optimum rate for a iThenticate similarity report?
- 8.2 What is a good iThenticate score?
- 8.3 How do I lower my iThenticate score?
- 8.4 Should I delete my article from the iThenticate database after I am done with the similarity report?
- 8.5 Is iThenticate free?
- 8.6 How to interpret an iThenticate Similarity Report?
- 8.7 How much % of plagiarism is allowed? Will my references be excluded?
In March 2023, a Turkish academician applied for our “manuscript translation services.” The client also wanted us to submit a report about the Journal, to which they would submit their research article.
Price of the Translation and Journal Adaptation
This was a service provided by our Turkish company, and we applied Turkish agency prices, which were $225 for the manuscript translation to English (6600 words) and $125 for the adaptation of the manuscript to a specific scientific journal, including the three revisions that I am explaining below.
I first read and summarized the concerned journal’s guidelines and detected that the manuscript had missing titles, was not anonymous, and exceeded the limits for word count and the number of references. Besides, the article was not compatible with any of the SEO rules (wrong location of keywords, very long paragraphs, etc.). I have known this client since 2012; therefore, I accepted the task despite my busy workflow.
It took a whole week to prepare the manuscript’s Turkish version. We had high phone traffic during this phase. After three days, I sent the client an email explaining what to change. The client worked on her article for 2 days and sent it back to me, and I sent it again because of the missing titles, etc.
I am a real perfectionist, and I didn’t start translating until she adapted her manuscript to the Journal’s guidelines. In addition to these revisions, she had to delete 2000 words from the main article and remove 12 references.
To be honest, preparing the article for the Journal was much more difficult than translating the Turkish article into English.
The Academic Translation Phase
I translated the document in three days. Meanwhile, I used QuillBot to check grammar and paraphrased some sentences when I saw a necessity. There was no problem with the translation phase. The original Turkish text was now 4100 words, and the Tables and Figures were around 2500 words. The price of the translation was calculated based on the original article’s 6600 words, including tables and figures, excluding references. I also edited the references properly.
Revisions: Adjusting to the Turnitin Similarity Report
Ok, now it is the phase where the translator waits for the revisions. Revisions?? Weird, right? Revisions are not typical revisions. In the academic translation world, revisions mean “adjusting to the Turnitin similarity report.” In our case, it was adjusting to the iThenticate similarity report.
Initial originality report check
The first Turnitin similarity rate was 32%, excluding the references, tables, and figures. When we add those, the similarity increased by +9 points! This originality report check was a complete disaster.
I asked and learned the reason (mostly self-quotations). At first, it looked impossible to decrease this rate because the article contained lots of quotations, and the scale items in between quotation marks should be written as they are in the original study. Even though Turnitin does not take the Table items, it detected similarity because the article was using an already published scale’s items in the current study. It may look confusing to you, but actually, it is not. This happens when you adapt a published study’s scale to another language.
First Revision: Turnitin Similarity Report 22%
I changed the sentences one by one without changing the basic meaning of the original Turkish article. Since almost half of the article had red or orange colors, it took me two more days to send my first revision. Meanwhile, I intensively used the Quillbot paraphrasing tool.
Excluding references, tables, and figures, I could manage to decrease the score from 36 to 22. However, I asked some academicians on Quora and learned that it is still a high score.
Second Revision: Turnitin Similarity Rate Decreased to 14%
Because I was aware that the Turnitin similarity report also considered sentence structure and that academicians used Quillbot more frequently than I had anticipated, the second revision was a complete waste of time for me. The task here was not only to replace words with their synonyms. The Turnitin software was detecting any similarity that could easily be used in other articles, such as “the study conducted by xxx et al., etc. I mean, even the phrase “et al.” or “the” was still red.
Third Revision: Turnitin Similarity Report Decreased to 9%
Until this revision, I was using a synonym dictionary to make the changes, and I was also using the Quillbot paraphrasing tool. In this revision, I completely made the changes manually. I informed the client about the problematic sentences and references. She worked on those sentences and deleted some of them. She also deleted a Table that was creating big trouble.
The final score for the Turnitin originality report was 9%, including tables and figures and excluding references. This was the hardest phase, and it took me two more days to complete it.
Last Revision: The Turnitin Similarity Issue is Over
I don’t want to write the whole story here.
At first glance, the translation was an easy one for me. And I thought I would submit it in one week. But I ended up working on that manuscript for three weeks.
The client offered me almost double the price because of the effort she witnessed.
However, at some stage, money loses importance to me, and I took this task as a challenge. I didn’t charge any extra for all of these unanticipated tasks, and I didn’t know the dangers of qualitative research papers in terms of Turnitin similarity reports.
We submitted the paper.
The answer arrived in one week. The research article was not accepted by the Journal the client selected. However, the platform offered easy submission to seven more journals.
Since the double-blind peer review is over and the reason for the Journal not to accept the paper is NOT the similarity issue, I can say that a 9% rate is acceptable by the majority of reputable journals.
A Q2 journal with an impact factor of 2.11 published the article. Is this a success? To be honest, this is not my business anymore. Nevertheless, even though it took three months, I’m glad that an international journal published the manuscript. The client had applied to another Q1 journal, and when the second Q1 journal did not publish, she tried a Q2 journal, and they accepted the article.
Please note that I wrote this text to explain my own experiences, and the ideas presented here belong to me and do not bind Turnitin, iThenticate, or any official Journal’s guidelines.
My Final Words
To decrease the rate of Turnitin similarity reports, I used no specific techniques. In other words, I tried some techniques, but they didn’t work. At last, I made all the changes manually. I used only a synonym dictionary when necessary.
Paraphrasing with Quillbot did not decrease the score significantly. I also did two small revisions and tested the basic two keywords by selecting these two keywords from the whole document and changing them with another word. These efforts decreased the score substantially. However, we could not touch or change the keywords, so we could not use this option. Despite this, I could manage the decrease in Turnitin score from 32% to 9%, including tables and figures but excluding the references list.