Turnitin: Similarity Report: Accept or decline a paper access request

When would you accept or decline a request?

The University considers it beneficial to permit such requests, where appropriate, in order to maintain academic integrity and to encourage reciprocal arrangements with other institutions.

A significantly large single match to a paper submitted to the University of Reading can potentially indicate that one of the students has willingly shared their work. This could constitute academic misconduct and require investigation by the University of Reading.

Please be aware that there are also other possible reasons for matches to another students paper to occur and does not always indicate collusion. For example, if both students have independently quoted directly from the same source but the source is not part of Turnitin’s internet database (e.g. an unlisted text book or article).

The decision to allow a request ultimately depends on your academic judgement. As long as you strictly follow the procedure outlined when handling a request to meet UK data protection and copyright law, then it is acceptable to allow the request.

The email request you receive will indicate the overall percentage match to the corresponding paper and include the full text of work requested. It does not show where the match occurs or provide you with the details of the work from the other institution.

To determine if you should accept or decline a request:

  • Locate and verify the paper (where possible) and check the assignment details through the relevant Blackboard course to check the validity of the request.
  • Consider the type of assignment, the context of the content (e.g. is there likely to be a large number of smaller matches to standard phrases) and the length of the work in proportion to the percentage match (e.g. 20% of a 5000 word assignment would be a significant match).

General guidelines:


  • Small percentage matches between 1-10%.
  • If the paper contains sensitive or private information and data.
  • Matches to the bibliography.
  • Matches to sourced text in appendices.
  • The paper is a predominantly a personal reflection or original research.*


  • High percentage match between 70-100%.
  • Significant match 30-70% that is likely to be a single passage of text.*
  • Significant match where the source has been correctly referenced in the University of Reading student’s paper. (This may help the person requesting the paper identify an un-referenced source in their student’s paper.)

* Note: It may be necessary to ‘Query the Request’ and correspond with the person requesting the paper to obtain more information before making a decision on whether it is appropriate to accept a request, before including the paper.

Page last updated on March 19, 2020 by Asif Muhammad

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