Turnitin is the best-in-class plagiarism checker for students and teachers, as well as businesses that create online content. The consequences of infringing copyright can be severe, so it’s a useful tool.
The company offers several online services that are trusted by academic institutions and enterprises around the world. They’re not cheap, but they do a lot more than test for plagiarism, such as proofreading and classroom management.
In this article, we’ll quickly cover what Turnitin offers, who would benefit from an alternative, and what those alternatives are. Read on to learn what software tools will best suit your school or business.
Is Turnitin Right for My Business?
What Does Turnitin Do?
Turnitin offers a suite of products for the academic world. They cover quite a bit of ground:
- The ability to manage courses and students as well as assign work
- A text editor where students can type and submit their work
- Proofreading tools that warn of spelling and grammar errors
- Feedback tools that help students gauge how well their work meets the requirements of the assignment they are working on
- Tools that assist teachers when marking assignments
- Plagiarism checking for students and teachers, a standalone service that allows businesses to check for plagiarism without the academic features.
Their three premiere products include features that overlap; a student or institution would typically choose just one.
- Revision Assistant allows teachers to set up classes and give assignments. Students receive limited proofreading and feedback and the ability to submit their work through the app when finished. Teachers receive assistance with marking the assignments.
- Feedback Studio is a similar service with more features. For example, it allows both students and teachers to check assignments for plagiarism.
- iThenticate allows users to check for plagiarism without the need for an entire suite of educational apps.
These products are relatively expensive, but that cost may be justified by the value they offer. Pricing is not outlined on the website because the company prefers to provide specific quotes that meet your organization’s size and needs. However, numerous online reports estimate the cost to be around $3 per student per year.
Turnitin’s plagiarism testing is excellent. It uses more sources than comparable services. It also utilizes more sophisticated algorithms that aren’t fooled when the copied text has been modified. Here are the sources they use to detect plagiarism:
- 70+ billion current and archived web pages
- 165 million journal articles and subscription content sources from ProQuest.
- CrossRef, CORE, Elsevier, IEEE, Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis Group, Wikipedia, Wiley-Blackwell
- Unpublished papers submitted by students using one of Turnitin’s products
You can perform a plagiarism test without subscribing. The cost for individual checks is $100 for a single test up to 25,000 words, or $300 for up to 75,000 words.
Who Would Benefit from a Turnitin Alternative?
Not everyone needs the range of services that Turnitin offers. Here are some categories of users who should seriously consider one of the alternatives.
Those Who Just Need to Check for Plagiarism
Not everyone needs to manage classrooms and mark assignments. Some users consider Turnitin because it’s an excellent plagiarism checker. Plenty of other apps do the same.
Do you need to check for academic plagiarism, or are you just trying to avoid takedown notices by having content too similar to someone else’s blog? All plagiarism checkers compare against web content. However, not all check academic databases. Some even ensure a paper has not previously been submitted by another student to guard against cheating.
Those involved in creating content for businesses may prefer a proofreading and plagiarism tool that is less focused on academic needs.
- They need plagiarism tools more focused on the web than scholarly papers
- They have no need for the academic workflow of creating classes and setting assignments
- They prioritize catching spelling and grammar errors over plagiarism
- They value advice on improving their writing that isn’t so focused on the requirements of an assignment
Turnitin is an excellent tool for educational institutions and businesses with a strong training component. But it’s not the only tool on the market.
You may already be using a learning management system, which means you wouldn’t need those features in Turnitin. You might want an app that better suits your courses’ workflow, or one that is more affordable. Students may prefer to use proofreading tools not linked to the institution they attend.
6+ Alternatives for Checking for Plagiarism
You may be considering Turnitin only to check for plagiarism. You might need extra features like proofreading, feedback, and running courses. Here is a list of alternatives that search only for plagiarism. Many of the tools have complex pricing structures, so we’ll include a “pricing guide.”
Unicheck is a “Smart Plagiarism Detection Service,” the Number One alternative to Turnitin, according to users of Alternativeto.net and G2. It’s an online tool that integrates with major e-learning tools and works in Google Docs.
When checking for plagiarism, Unicheck uses 40 billion web sources. Its algorithms check that text manipulation is not being used to make plagiarism harder to detect.
- Free: up to 200 words
- Personal and business: 100 pages for $15
- Education: contact them for a quote
2. Plagscan by Ouriginal
Plagscan is the Number Two Turnitin alternative according to both Alternativeto.net and G2. It is an online plagiarism checker with a document manager. The app allows students and participants to submit work, but it doesn’t offer full classroom management software features.
Here are the sources it uses when checking for plagiarism:
- 14 billion web pages
- Millions of articles in academic journals including BMJ, Gale, Taylor & Francis, Wiley Blackwell, and Springer
- Your own document database
- The Plagiarism Prevention Pool with content from other participating institutions
And finally, a pricing guide:
- For single users: 6,000 words for $5.99
- For schools: 10,000 pages for $899
- For higher education: contact them for a quote
- For business: $19.99/month for 200 pages
PlagiarismCheck.org is an online tool for schools and higher education that integrates with popular e-learning tools. The sources used when checking for plagiarism are not listed on the official website.
- Free: a single page
- Individuals: 50 pages for $9.99
- Organizations should contact the company to get a quote
PlagiarismSearch is another online plagiarism tool that integrates with popular e-learning tools. When checking for plagiarism, it uses these sources:
- 14 billion web pages
- Database with over 50 million texts
- 25,000 magazines, newspapers, journals, and books
Here is a guide to their pricing:
- Free: 150 words
- One submission (up to 5,000 words): $7.95
- Subscription: 300,000 words $29.95/month
Plagramme is an online plagiarism checker for students and educators. Students and “simple users” can get a quick plagiarism check for free. Premium users and educators get a detailed report using the following sources:
- Web database
- Database of scholarly articles
Pricing isn’t listed on the website. After performing three free checks, you are required to register with them.
Viper is another popular online plagiarism tool that allows limited checking for free. 10 billion sources are used when checking for plagiarism. They’re not listed on the website, but described this way: “Viper checks for plagiarism against 10 billion sources, scouring books, papers, PDFs and journals across the web to find matches with your work.”
- Free (ad-supported): users receive two free credits per month that can be used to check two documents up to 5,000 words in length or one document of up to 10,000 words.
- Student: 5,000 word document for $3.95
- Institutions: contact for a quote
Other Commercial Plagiarism Checkers
Plagiarism checking is a popular software genre; the number of alternatives is staggering. Here are nine more:
- Noplag (from $10/month) uses a wide range of online and academic sources and offers a writing app.
- Compilatio.net Copyright (from 95 euros/month) compares with web sources plus documents you have already analyzed on the service.
- Copyscape offers a free comparison tool and a premium service that starts at 3 cents for 200 words. A 5,000-word check costs just 51 cents.
- URKUND by Ouriginal is a plagiarism detection service for institutions. Pricing is by quote only.
- Copyleaks Plagiarism Detector (from $8.33/month) is an online tool and mobile app for business and academia.
- Plagius (from $5/month) is a Windows application that analyzes academic papers for plagiarism.
- Quetext (free or $9.99/month) is an online plagiarism checker and citation assistant.
- Plagiarism Checker X (free, $39.99 for individuals, $147.95 for businesses) is a Windows application that doesn’t require an ongoing subscription. It “helps you detect plagiarism in your research papers, blogs, assignments, and websites.” The free app allows you to perform 30 searches per day.
- PlagiarismHunt is an online tool that gives you a plagiarism percentage for free. A detailed report of the findings costs $6, while a more extensive check costs $45.
6 Alternatives for Businesses
If you create written content for your business, you need help with proofreading. You need hints on how to make your copy more engaging. You want confidence that there are no copyright infringements that could lead to takedown notices. Turnitin meets these needs somewhat, but there are better alternatives for business users.
Grammarly is the world’s best-known grammar checker and the winner of our Best Grammar Checker Software roundup. Its free plan lets you check your work for spelling and grammar errors. In my tests, it outperformed all of the competition, including Turnitin. The Premium version costs $139.95/year (or $150/year/user for businesses) and helps you improve your writing and checks for plagiarism. We cover it in detail in a full review.
I found Grammarly Premium’s suggestions on how to improve my writing very helpful. It considers clarity, delivery, and engagement, and will make your website content, blog posts, emails, and other writing more effective.
Its plagiarism check is good, but not as good as Turnitin. The latter app compares your work with far more sources and uses more sophisticated algorithms to identify plagiarism. However, Grammarly’s check will meet most businesses’ needs at a more affordable price.
For more details, refer to our comparison of Grammarly and Turnitin.
ProWritingAid is another recommended grammar checker. It offers plagiarism checking as an add-on. For 60 plagiarism checks per year, it costs $24/month. We cover the app in detail in a separate review.
I found the plagiarism check as fast and accurate as Grammarly’s. Its other features come in second best, however. Spelling and grammar checking is good, but it lags behind Grammarly when correcting punctuation errors. Turnitin is better at detecting plagiarism, and worse at checking for grammar.
When suggesting how to improve your writing, ProWritingAid offers 20 detailed reports. While live suggestions are offered, those reports allow you to study various ways of making your text more readable and engaging.
WhiteSmoke (from $59.95/year) is a more affordable competitor to Grammarly and Turnitin. It offers proofreading and plagiarism checking. But the reliability of these features is inferior, as we cover in our full review.
In a test document, WhiteSmoke picked up all spelling errors but one. However, its grammar checker fell well short of Grammarly’s capability (and well ahead of Turnitin’s).
When checking for plagiarism, WhiteSmoke compares your document with online content but not academic databases. In my experience, it gave too many false positives to be useful. For example, when checking my test document, it said both the phrase “Google Docs support” and the single word “punctuation” were plagiarized, which is ridiculous.
I can’t recommend WhiteSmoke as strongly as the other options. Unless budget is your highest priority, you’ll be better served by another tool.
GradeProof is even more affordable. In fact, much of its functionality is available for free, while a Pro subscription costs just $17.47/month. The trade-off is that it only works in Google Chrome and by using the iOS mobile app.
It effectively identifies spelling and grammar errors, but I have not yet tested how successful it is at detecting plagiarism. The Pro subscription includes 50 checks per month, so if you’re on a budget, it’s another tool worth considering.
PlagiaShield (from $14.90/month) takes on plagiarism from the opposite direction: it makes sure your website’s content isn’t being used (and misused) by others. It even helps fight thieves by preparing DMCA forms for you.
Their limited free plan will get you started. It performs one check on a single domain to warn if your content has been stolen by other sites.
Plagly is a free online tool that checks for grammar mistakes and plagiarism. It helps businesses optimize their websites by eliminating duplicate content. It’s also used by students and teachers.
The plagiarism checker compares your text with 20 billion sources, including web pages and document databases. A citation generator is included.
5 Alternatives for Education
If you’re involved in education and training, Turnitin should be the first tool you consider. However, many alternatives are available.
Scribbr is a direct competitor to Turnitin. It offers proofreading and editing, plagiarism checking, and a citation generator. The big difference is that a team of real human academic editors do the proofreading, not a computer program. That’s a huge benefit over Turnitin’s software, especially when it comes to identifying grammatical errors.
The company is in partnership with Turnitin, so the Scribbr Plagiarism Checker uses the same sources: “over 70 billion web pages and 69 million scholarly publications.” The software can detect plagiarism even when sentence structure or wording is changed, even when multiple sources are combined.
- Proofreading and editing of 5,000 words: $160
- The above with structure and clarity checks: $260
- Plagiarism check up to 7,500 words: $26.95
PaperRater is an online tool that uses artificial intelligence to help improve your writing. The software does proofreading (including a spelling and grammar check), writing suggestions, and plagiarism checking. Submissions are pasted into a web form. It offers a usable free plan; if you subscribe to the Premium version, they can be uploaded.
The plagiarism checker compares your text with “more than 20 billion pages found in the books, journals, research articles, and web pages indexed by the search giants Google, Yahoo, and Bing.” It does not check it against other PaperRater submissions. For Premium subscribers, plagiarism checking is integrated into the Proofreader.
The software is designed for students and teachers, but can also be used by businesses, writers, and editors. It does not include class management features.
- The Basic plan is free (ad-supported). It’s limited to 5 pages per submission, 50 submissions per month, and 10 plagiarism checks per month.
- The Premium plan costs $11.21/month and raises those limits to 20 pages/submission, 200 submissions per month, and 25 plagiarism checks per month.
15. Compliatio.net Studium & Magister
Compilatio.net offers writing and assessment tools for students and teachers in addition to the copyright tool we mentioned above. These tools significantly focus on detecting plagiarism and checking submitted work against internet sources, Compilatio’s own database, and documents previously analyzed by your institution.
- Magister is an assessment support tool for institutions and teachers. It helps teachers mark work that has been submitted electronically and check for plagiarism. It doesn’t offer classroom management features as Turnitin does, but integrates into popular e-learning tools.
- Studium is a writing support tool for high school and further education students. It doesn’t offer proofreading features but will help reference sources and build a bibliography.
- Studium: 7,500 words for 4.95 euros
- Magister: contact the company for a quote
16. Citation Machine
Cite4me.org is a completely free online tool that helps students generate reference pages and check for plagiarism when working on academic papers. Creating a free account unlocks all of its features.
According to their website, 15+ sources are used when checking for plagiarism, but they are not listed. They claim to use “one of the largest databases of sources.”
They also offer writing help such as editing and proofreading, but this is not free: professional writers will look over your essay or paper. The cost for that service starts at $7.89 per page.
Proctorio is a “learning integrity” platform that does more than plagiarism checking. It provides an electronic test proctor service. Proctorio will verify students’ identity via facial recognition, lock down computers and mobile devices during a test, warn when exam questions have been posted online, and offer full analytics.
The company’s website doesn’t list the sources it uses when checking for plagiarism. However, it describes them as being “within the institution’s locally stored repository and from across the internet.” Pricing is by quote only, and described on the website as “scalable and cost-effective.”
So What Should You Do?
When testing for plagiarism, Turnitin is one of the most respected tools out there. Before making a final decision, though, consider some alternatives:
- If you only need to check for plagiarism, consider Unicheck or Plagscan. Read through the descriptions of other tools we mention to see if they may better meet your needs.
- If you are a business user, consider Grammarly or ProWritingAid. Also, take the free version of PlagiaShield for a spin to ensure other sites are not plagiarizing yours.
- Finally, if you are in education, Scribbr is the closest alternative to consider. If you already use a separate learning management system, products like Compilatio.net will integrate with it. Finally, consider using Proctorio to guard against cheating during exams.