Friday, November 24, 2017

Intermission: Beware the term paper mills

Every so often, I do a google search to see who is citing work relevant to my lines of research. I was disheartened recently to find that when my name showed up, it was to documents that led me to a number of term paper writing mills. These companies have been around in one form or another for a while. One of the most recent ones I have become aware of I will refrain from adding a link. No need to give them free advertising. I would advise students to think twice before using these services. Since there are multiple versions of essays citing me (each with the same title) it is likely that buying one of those "original" papers will show up on plagiarism software searches. Any student paper uploaded to my Blackboard course sites are added to our plagiarism software database - and since that database belongs to a third-party company, it becomes easy to match if one tries to upload one of these plagiarized documents. And just in case the software doesn't catch it, be on notice that I will be suspicious of any paper in which I miraculously appear in a Google search that links back to one of these paper writing mills.

If you're a student, save yourself the money, your self-respect, and yourself from a failing grade - and possible embarrassment of appearing before an academic integrity committee or worse. In my field, we are quite forgiving of imperfect student work, and student work in which serious mistakes are present. Heck, I make plenty of mistakes of my own all the time. There is no room, however, for forgiveness for fraud any more today than there was in my day as a student.

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