Plagiarism-catching Technology is Fighting Indonesia’s Plagiarism Problem

Technology might cause some of your problems, but it can also solve them. As with all tools, whether using them is helpful of hurtful depends on the care with which they are used. Such is the case with technology in the sector of education in Indonesia. The internet technology has given Indonesian students access to a plethora of information, easily solving the problem of a school library’s outdated or incomplete selection of titles. However, the increased use of these tools of the digital age have given rise to other technological problems such as plagiarism.

In response to this academic dilemma, the Indonesian Ministry of Technology, Research and Higher Education revealed plans to let undergraduate students obtain their bachelor degree without completing a final year dissertation mandated by most if not all higher education institutions in the country in 2015. The final year project is a hefty research work or book report which trains students to develop skills in understanding, analyzing, describing and explaining problems related to the topic of research. Many universities require a minimum of at least 40 pages that takes months to complete. It was further explained that this was done in response to the large-scale cheating involved in the assignment—a transgression of academic integrity found rampant even at the nation’s most competitive schools. Those who advocate for the proposal argue with the reasoning that most dissertations are “more like a compilation of downloaded materials from the internet or a copy of other people’s work, not purely scientific work”, as stated by one East Java Chapter of Asosiasi Perguruan Tinggi Swasta Indonesia (APTISI). The rest of the response was overwhelmingly negative, with most universities opting to keep the thesis as a requirement to graduate.Yet despite the strictness that characterize many public Indonesian universities and the harsh sanctions posed by the government, there has not been any concrete steps taken to deal with and detect such forms of cheating. In other parts of the world, softwares that have been designed for the purpose of addressing this growing problem of plagiarism are being used in many schools. Such technology works by checking papers against billions of web pages, content items from publishers, scientific journals, as well as student papers. Algorithms are used to compare strings of text against its ever-growing database. In the United States, for example, more than half of all higher educational institutions and roughly a quarter of all high schools use these services.

Aside from decreasing the incidence rate of plagiarism, the implementation of plagiarism detection software in an educational capacity will be successful in teaching Indonesian students proper paraphrasing and source acknowledgement. The use of such preventive measures and the accompanying focus it necessarily places on the associated issues will help students develop a moral sense regarding academic integrity and encourage a sense of importance in avoiding plagiarism. With the growth of information technology and accessibility in Indonesia, the higher education in Indonesia should consider implementing such academic tools to enhance the learning experience and increase the quality of undergraduate education.