Originality checking

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Originality checking is an editorial process intended to ensure that articles and essays do not include plagiarism. To check for originality, follow these steps:

  1. Copy and paste a string of words from the article into a Google search window. Use a substantial sentence but don't include end punctuation. Do not paste in more than one sentence or more than 32 words. Note that you if you don't get exact hits, there may be a list of hits marked as occuring without the quotation marks.
  2. Enclose the string of words in quotation marks.
  3. Check for "hits."
  4. Evaluate whether any hit is meaningful. Is the page a likely source of the language, or is the similarity perhaps a coincidence?
  5. If you find meaningful hits--a source that the article may have inappropriately copied--you should:
    1. Add a comment to the articles's Discussion page describing the problem.
    2. Make minor changes (if possible) to eliminate the plagiarism.
    3. Or, if the passage requires major changes, in addition to the note on the Discussion page, add the following parenthetical comment: (Originality Alert) (enclosing the words "Originality Alert" in double brackets and using the tags shown below to make the text color red).
      1. <span style="color:#FF0000">'''(Originality Alert)'''</span>
    4. If you find extensive plagiarism, please contact the editor, voelkerd.

Note that the direct copying of language without quotation marks and a citation is only one of many ways to plagiarize. You can also plagiarize through poor paraphrasing or by omitting a citation altogether. For additional information about plagiarism, see the Wikipedia plagiarism policy.

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