Monday, May 9, 2022

President of Peru being investigated for plagiarism

ABCnews reports that the president of Peru is being investigated for plagiarism in his Master's thesis, which he wrote together with his wife. Journalists apparently used a freedom of infomation act application to obtain the thesis, then shoved it through a system that sells its product as a plagiarism detection system. They report, as people are wont to do, on the number reported.

This bears repeating: Software cannot determine plagiarism! The most recent study that I participated in was published in 2020, we sum it up as:

There is a general belief that software must be able to easily do things that humans find difficult. Since finding sources for plagiarism in a text is not an easy task, there is a wide-spread expectation that it must be simple for software to determine if a text is plagiarized or not. Software cannot determine plagiarism, but it can work as a support tool for identifying some text similarity that may constitute plagiarism. [...] The sobering results show that although some systems can indeed help identify some plagiarized content, they clearly do not find all plagiarism and at times also identify non-plagiarized material as problematic.

Emphasis added. Quit thinking software will solve this problem!

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