Does Turnitin Check Other Students’ Papers? Can I Re-use a Paper and Submit in Turnitin?

In the recent past, there have been prevalent cases of recantation, plagiarism, and similarity in the papers that students are submitting to their professors for grading. This worrying trend has called for institutions and educators to employ plagiarism and similarity detecting software services.

Among the most widely used software is Turnitin. This software gives a similarity index by comparing the student’s paper to its vast database of journals, publications, and previously submitted writing pieces. However, as a student, you might be curious to know, does Turnitin check other students’ papers?

To get an answer to this question and expand your knowledge on how Turnitin operates to curb plagiarism and similarity issues, kindly read this paper to the end because it seeks to expound more on these issues.

Does Turnitin Check Other Students’ Papers?

Turnitin checks other students’ papers. Turnitin has a database where all previously submitted papers are saved and they use the papers saved in the database to check other student’s essays. 

You ought to understand that apart from comparing your paper to its massive database of web pages, publications, journals, and articles, Turnitin also checks other students’ papers, those from your institution and other institutions.

As a student, you might commit plagiarism deliberately or unintentionally, primarily because of procrastination, inadequate research skills, the fear of getting a poor grade, bad referencing and citation skills, or a weakened interest to write the paper. These are reasons that may lead you to get another students’ piece of writing and submit it as your own.

Also see: Does Turnitin Check Images?

However, it is vital to remind you that as long as the same paper was submitted to Turnitin by another student to generate a similarity report, Turnitin will find the piece in its database and flag you for plagiarism. Turnitin will discover the paper regardless of whether it was submitted by a student from your institution or another institution.

Does Turnitin Check Other Students’ Papers from Previous Years?

Turnitin does check other students’ papers from previous years. Turnitin has a policy that involves storing all the documents passed through it in its standard paper repository by default for future comparisons.

These stored articles, previously submitted by students and other writers, are what this plagiarism checking software uses to make comparisons and generate originality reports.

Remember, most high schools, colleges, and universities today require students to submit their papers for grading through Turnitin. This move ensures that students do not commit plagiarism when writing articles, essays, or assignments. Turnitin keeps these papers in their database repository by default as long as these institutions allow them.

That said, there is a high likelihood that a paper submitted by a student undertaking your course in the previous year or previous years is still being stored in Turnitin’s standard paper repository. Therefore, when you take that paper and submit it as your own through Turnitin, this software will show massive similarities between your writing and the one in its database. In that case, you will be flagged for plagiarism and face the dire consequences of committing academic dishonesty.

Does Turnitin Compare Other Students’ Papers?

Turnitin does compare your paper to other students’ papers. As long as an article has passed through Turnitin, that paper is not erased unless you request the erasing.

Whether a student from your institution submitted the essay or not, it will still be in Turnitin’s standard paper repository, and Turnitin will use it to make future comparisons.

Remember, Turnitin generates a similarity report from comparing your paper to the documents stored in the repository of papers presented at your institution and those from other institutions worldwide. Therefore, if you submit an article previously submitted by a student pursuing your course but from another institution, Turnitin will indicate massive similarity.

In that case, this similarity checking and plagiarism prevention software will employ matching algorithms and detect any similar strings of words and phrases identical to the paper in its database. In addition, if two students from different institutions used the same source to write an essay, Turnitin will detect the similarity.

Does Turnitin Check Previous submissions?

Turnitin automatically stores the submitted papers in its standard paper repository from which it checks previously submitted work. This software uses these uploaded files in its database to create originality reports.

The Turnitin central database incorporates an immense volume of previously submitted documents, subscription-based publications, and web content. Remember, Turnitin has developed procedures to compare your work and the content in this database whenever you submit your paper to its platform for similarity report feedback.

In addition, this platform does not only save the papers submitted from your institution but from other educational institutions too. Therefore, when you submit your paper for a similarity report, your work will not only be compared to documents in your institution’s paper repository but also with documents in other institutions’ educational databases and libraries.

Two Years Ago, I Submitted a Paper to Turnitin. Can I Use the Same Paper Now?

You cannot use the same paper that you submitted some time ago. There is a high likelihood that Turnitin stored the article in its standard paper repository. Therefore, if you try and submit the same piece of writing through Turnitin, it will find your paper utterly identical to the one you submitted two years ago and flag you for similarity issues.

Submitting the same paper, you submitted two years ago will be treated as self-plagiarism. The consequences for committing such self-plagiarism will vary according to different institutions’ policies on infringement of the institution’s academic honor code.

Also check: Can Turnitin Detect Copy and Paste?

However, there is a scenario where you can use the same paper you submitted to Turnitin two years ago. This can only happen when Turnitin removes your article from its database. If you requested Turnitin to remove the piece in its database through your institution’s Turnitin administrator, chances are the paper is not in Turnitin’s repository. In that case, you can still use the same composition since Turnitin will not recognize it.

Is Using a Previously Submitted Paper Cheating?

Using a previously submitted paper is an ultimate act of cheating. Using a previous submission means that you are claiming ownership of that submission, but it is not yours. You will be committing plagiarism, which is a form of cheating.

You will face different repercussions for committing plagiarism according to your school or professor’s policies on cheating and committing plagiarism. Some of the consequences of doing so include getting a poor grade or failing the paper thoroughly, a tarnished reputation, legal tussles, suspension, or even expulsion. For professionals, using a previous suspicion may cost you your repetition or job.

Also see: Does Turnitin detect discussion posts?

Nevertheless, there is a way that you could follow and use a previous submission. That way, Turnitin will not treat your paper as similar to the last submission, and you will not be flagged for plagiarizing or cheating. You can paraphrase the content accordingly by changing sentence structures, using synonyms, and altering your delivery style. You should also, in such a case, reference your work and provide citations properly. Doing so means that you acknowledge that original writer, which is a good thing to do.

How to Avoid Submitting Previously Written Papers

As earlier said, using previous submissions will be committing plagiarism, which is a form of cheating. Therefore, you should stay away from such an act at all times. Below is a list of pointers to help you avoid submitting a previously written paper.

  • Write your original content. You may use an existing paper to get an idea of what to write about, but you should not use the author’s words and delivery style. Instead, use the ideas to write the paper from scratch, and by doing so, you will not get into trouble with your school.
  • Expound on the old ideas. If you are using a previously submitted article to write a new one, include fresh and different ideas. For example, if it was your previous paper, you may interpret the old ideas or explain them more deeply.
  • Ensure to reference the old Paper. If you are to use one or more sections of a previously submitted paper, ensure to paraphrase the phrases, reference your work and cite the sources and the author.
  • Hire an essay writer. You can hire an essay writer to write a plagiarism-free paper for you.


So, Does Turnitin check other students’ papers?

Turnitin is able to check for other students’ papers.

After carefully reading this article, you can agree that the honest and straightforward answer to this question is a yes. Therefore, as a student, avoid using papers that have been previously submitted by either you or other students.