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Turnitin Service Level Description

Turnitin Service

Title of Service: Turnitin (plagiarism prevention)

Status of Document: This document describes the service provision of Turnitin, an externally hosted software application supported by Oxford University IT Services. This document is occasionally updated, for a list of changes please see the change log at the end of this document.

Contact for first line support: or phone the IT Service Desk: (6)12345

1 Introduction

1.1 Turnitin is an online software service that is used for identifying matches of text in submitted work against other electronic sources. This can be used in teaching to inform plagiarism awareness and support student learning about academic writing.

Access to Turnitin is either direct via or by means of the Assignments tool in WebLearn.

1.2 The Turnitin suite of products includes originality checking as well as electronic marking, commenting and audio feedback on student work. In the interface, the originality 'layer' is red and the grading 'layer' is blue – it is easy for a marker to switch between the two layers.

1.3 This SLD is aimed at outlining what support is provided by IT Services to any department, college, institution, or staff member within Oxford University (the client) who wishes to use Turnitin, as well as the responsibilities of the client. IT Services has certain restrictions in terms of the amount of support it can offer as it is not responsible for the maintenance of the external Turnitin service.

1.4 This SLD indicates the primary support path for elements of the Turnitin service which are controllable by the University.

1.5 The Turnitin service is managed by the Technology Enhanced Learning team on behalf of Academic IT Services.

2 Summary of IT Services' responsibilities

IT Services provides the following:

  • direct access to Turnitin by creating instructor accounts
  • indirect access to Turnitin through integration with the Assignments tool in WebLearn
  • support to users of Turnitin in the form of technical and educational support, and advice by phone and email
  • training for users in the use of Turnitin and associated products, where applicable

Hours of Support Service

2.1 The external Turnitin service is intended to operate at all times, although IT Services cannot guarantee the service level for this application. The user agreement states: “Turnitin shall use reasonable efforts to make the Service available for access over the Internet at least 99.5% of the time during each month of the Term, except for scheduled maintenance and repairs, failures related to Institution's systems and Internet access, and any interruption in the Service due to causes beyond the control of Turnitin or that are not reasonably foreseeable by Turnitin” (Turnitin User Agreement, Clause 10)

2.2 Support cover by IT Services runs from 9.00-5.00 on working days. If a problem is reported during these hours IT Services will

  1. commence investigation within one hour provided that no similar fault is already being handled by the same team for issues concerning Turnitin access through WebLearn
  2. contact Turnitin within one working day should the problem involve direct access to Turnitin or non-delivery of originality reports which may result from service disruptions

2.3 IT Services is informed by Turnitin of any break in/restoration of service and will report this to users through the Turnitin at Oxford blog which feeds into the Plagiarism Support (Turnitin) site in WebLearn. For longer or more significant outages, email notifications may be sent to all registered Turnitin instructors and to the user group mailing list:

Serviceability Targets

2.4 If a serious fault is reported outside of working hours, it will be investigated at the beginning of the next working day (no funding is allocated to cover support outside of working hours).

Software Maintenance

2.5 IT Services has a software licence for Turnitin and associated products, which is renewed on an annual basis.

Conditions of Use

2.6 Turnitin is available to University of Oxford staff members to screen and grade the work of full-time equivalent students (FTEs) registered at the University. The University holds a 10% licence for the grading layer i.e. 10% of the FTE student numbers licensed for the main product, TurnitinUK.

Various conditions must be met in order for Oxford staff to use Turnitin; for direct access to Turnitin, an instructor account is required:

  1. A Turnitin instructor account may be requested by staff members (all categories) of Oxford University and Colleges. Staff members should send an email to to request an instructor account, stating their credentials and intended purpose.
  2. The student(s) whose papers are to be screened must be registered with Oxford University and not any other (or affiliated) institution.
  3. The student work to be screened must be University work, as required by their course, curriculum, tutor, supervisor or examiner.
  4. The Turnitin licence covers the work of registered Oxford students only, not the writings of researchers, academic staff, or prospective students (admissions).
  5. iThenticate is a separate product (offered by the same Turnitin company) for screening the work of prospective students, researchers and academic staff. If you need to use iThenticate for admissions purposes, please contact Graduate Admissions: Researchers and academics need to contact to request an account. (Please note that licence capacity and support for iThenticate are extremely limited. Requests from researchers and academics will be considered on a case-by-case basis.)

This Service Level Description does not cover the use and support of iThenticate.

In addition to the conditions of access to Turnitin imposed by the licence agreement and usage policy, the University has also stipulated conditions of access:

2.7 Access to Turnitin via WebLearn relies upon a number of other IT services, the main ones are: WebLearn, Maintaining Security, Oak LDAP service, Registration Service and WebAuth Authentication System. Please refer to the individual SLDs for further information.

Archiving of Papers Submitted To Turnitin

2.8 There is no default length of time that a student paper is stored in the system. Once papers are submitted to Turnitin they remain in the TurnitinUK repository indefinitely, until the IT Services Turnitin administrator requests deletion of one or more papers.

2.9 If necessary, the Originality Report generated on the first submission of a paper can be refreshed by the instructor at a later date to re-check the paper against more recent sources.

Administration and Support

2.10 IT Services will provide basic support detailing the use of the service (including general documentation, instructor accounts, and help desk advice). Due to budgetary restrictions we cannot offer a 24/7 support service, but will be available to offer support 9:00-5:00 during working days. We will also endeavour to provide a response within one working day on all requests addressed to

2.11 Any person responsible for the administration of Turnitin accounts, or otherwise having access to data, shall comply with the provisions of the IT Security and Privacy Policy.

2.12 Fault reporting. Faults should be reported to the IT Services Help Desk at (01865)(6)12345 or by email to

Education and Training

IT Services will:

2.13 provide face-to-face or group training on how to use Turnitin (either at IT Services or remotely). Note that a room hire charge may apply for customised group sessions at IT Services.

2.14 provide written help documentation for use of Turnitin ( in conjunction with the support materials offered by Turnitin (

2.15 provide formal teaching sessions and handbooks through the IT Learning Centre (ITLC),

2.16 offer advice and support pertaining to effective practice and usage of Turnitin.


2.17 The following items are excluded from the service:

  • Setting up Turnitin assignments on behalf of users, or extracting and uploading course lists of students
  • Interpreting originality reports (these should be dealt with by academic staff and examiners)
  • Advice to students on academic writing and citation techniques


2.18 Major Turnitin updates and news items will be reported in the Turnitin at Oxford blog which feeds into the Plagiarism Support (Turnitin) site in WebLearn.

3 Summary of clients' responsibilities

For the purpose of this document, the client is the University of Oxford and its Colleges. This embodies the users of Turnitin, namely the academics, students, college-only staff, and administrators (permanent and contract).

3.1 The client's responsibilities concerning Turnitin fall into the following main areas:

  1. Compliance with the Turnitin licence requirements as covered in section 2.6 of this document
  2. Provision of authorisation of the right to use Turnitin for temporary instructors; these comprise those members of the University of Oxford who assume teaching duties but are not classified as staff members (e.g. researchers or postgraduate teaching assistants). Authorisation must be provided by the course leader or tutor for whom the temporary instructor is deputising.
  3. Maintenance of the security of instructor passwords to Turnitin and adherence to the University of Oxford's Regulations Relating to the use of Information Technology Facilities.

4 Conditions for Turnitin sub accounts and sub administrators

Units such as institutes, faculties, departments, schools or centres within Oxford University may wish to create and manage their own sub accounts within Turnitin (i.e. besides the Turnitin Oxford Repository managed by IT Services).

4.1 A separate Turnitin sub account can be negotiated with IT Services, under the following conditions:

  1. Instructor accounts may be created with the new sub account, for Oxford University staff members only ('staff' status on university card is required)
  2. Instructor accounts may NOT be created for external users
  3. Instructor accounts may NOT be created for student users
  4. Only the work of registered Oxford students may be submitted to Turnitin (not any work by external students, prospective students, researchers, or staff members)
  5. If a particular department elects to submit student papers to the TII Oxford repository, all such papers will be available for future matching against any Oxford Univ student work submitted via different departments.
  6. The IT Services institutional administrator can access all sub-accounts and all that they contain.
  7. IT Services does not provide individual assistance to instructors or students using anything other than the WebLearn-TII integration, or those using Turnitin direct (e.g. admin staff).
  8. IT Services does not provide technical or user support for any departmentally based sub-accounts, beyond standard instructor and student guides available on the Turnitin support site and standard training courses offered by the IT Learning Centre (listed under 'Plagiarism').

5 Request for a Turnitin instructor account using a generic email address

In specific cases, for official university units, there may be a need to create a Turnitin instructor account using a generic email address. This will allow multiple people (such as administrators and examiners) to view the electronic version of the Originality Report (colour and hyperlinked), as opposed to the downloadable PDF version which is linear and not as easy to interpret.

5.1 The requestor needs to supply the following information:

  • The name of the owner of the Turnitin generic account – unless otherwise specified, it will be assumed to be the requestor.
  • A relevant 'first name' and 'surname' for the generic instructor account, e.g. 'BT Centre' (first name is 'Bt'; surname is 'Centre'); or Mathematical Finance (first name is 'Mathematical'; surname is 'Finance').

5.2 On accepting and activating a Turnitin instructor account using a generic email address as the user name, the requesting division, institute, department, school or faculty agrees that:

  1. Unless otherwise specified, the requestor of the Turnitin generic account is the responsible person for the Turnitin instructor account created based on a generic email address.
  2. The Turnitin instructor password may be shared only with those staff members who are registered users of the generic email address.
  3. The Turnitin generic account owner accepts responsibility for the use and security of the instructor password, in accordance with the University Information Security Policy. This includes secure use of the password and changing it regularly.
  4. The Turnitin generic account owner must ensure that the account is used only in accordance with the Turnitin licence conditions described in this Turnitin Service Level Description (section 2.6).

6 Change Log

  • 14 May 2013
    • Updated all mention of OUCS to IT Services, and relevant links accordingly
    • Updated section 2.6 – Added links for more information on iThenticate (for individual researchers) and Turnitin Admissions (for prospective students)
    • Added section 4 – Conditions for sub accounts and sub administrators
    • Added section 5 – Request for a Turnitin instructor account using a generic email address
    • Added section 6 – Change Log
  • 8 July 2013
    • Added section 1.2 – GradeMark and PeerMark
    • Clarified section 2.6: information about iThenticate and Turnitin Admissions
    • Updated the URL in section 2.15
  • 6 December 2017
    • Updated all links
    • Updated change of company name from 'iParadigms' to 'Turnitin'
    • Updated all mention of 'Turnitin Admissions' to iThenticate.
    • Inserted caveat about limited capacity and support for iThenticate.


Written by IT Services. Latest revision 6 December 2017