Frequently asked questions about PlagAware

PlagAware questions and answers icon PlagAware is a modern, powerful and reliable anti-plagiarism service for educational institutions, companies and individuals. Here you can find a list of the most common questions that PlagAware users are faced with during the plagiarism checking process.

General questions

  • question_answerWhere can I find more detailed instructions and help?

    In addition to the technical articles and the frequently asked questions, there are how-to videos on various topics are available. For questions beyond this, please contact our support via the Contact form.

  • question_answer What file types and sizes are supported?

    PlagAware supports Microsoft Office documents, Open/Libre Office documents, Adobe PDF files, web pages and text files up to a maximum size of 100MB and up to 1 million characters (about 500 pages). If you have problems with the upload, we recommend that you save and submit the review text as a text file (*.txt). For more details, see Features and specification.

  • question_answerDo we also check sources that are not publicly available?

    No. PlagAware does not have access to non-public sources (such as paid scientific journal articles or paid content from portals like However, it often occurs that copies of freely accessible summaries of these sources are detected. In case of concrete suspicions, you have the possibility to acquire these documents for your institution and to repeat the check including the documents (via the library).

Privacy and data security

  • question_answerWill the uploaded test texts and library texts be made available to third parties?

    No, all texts are accessible only from your personal PlagAware user account. Note: Reports that you share via a static link can be opened without logging in to PlagAware. Also, library texts are available to all users of the same license key. For more details, see Privacy.

  • question_answerHow long will my plagiarism checks/library texts be stored?

    Your texts will be stored until you delete them manually or have them deleted automatically.

    To have texts deleted automatically, please specify a retention period under Settings and Configuration/Privacy. Library texts and plagiarism checks older than the specified number of days will be deleted the following night. The respective texts will be permanently deleted and cannot be recovered.

    Please note that the retention period may be imposed on all members of a license. In this case, the deletion period imposed by the license administrator applies to all users.

Performing the plagiarism check

  • question_answerIn which languages can the plagiarism check be performed?

    PlagAware's plagiarism checker works without restrictions in all languages - with the exception of Asian languages such as Chinese or Japanese.

    Since PlagAware only accesses online sources and does not maintain its own document database, the performance of the plagiarism search is independent of the language of the checked text.

  • question_answerIn what file format should I upload my check text?

    The file format of the check text is of minor importance, since PlagAware supports all common formats like Adobe PDF, Microsoft Word or Open Office equally. In detail, however, there are minor differences:

    Internally, every file you upload is converted into a text-only format, as the formatting or graphics are not relevant for the plagiarism check. So if your text is already in plain text format (*.txt), you can speed up the upload and save bandwidth by submitting the file in its original form. Also, if you have problems uploading other file formats, we recommend uploading as a plain text file.

    Furthermore, it should be noted that Adobe PDF is primarily a file format for formatting text. This means that text content of text sections that are continuous in terms of content may not be read as a whole. For example, page numbers, references to graphics, or text boxes of the original document may be displayed in the middle of the continuous text. This is not a bug of PlagAware, but is due to the way the texts are stored in PDF.

    This problem does not occur with Office documents (Microsoft or OpenOffice / LibreOffice). Here, text sections that are connected are also saved continuously, so that the flow of text is not interrupted.

    In summary, it can be said: the safest and fastest way is to transfer a text-only file. Office files are just as suitable, but are usually larger, so the upload takes longer. With PDF files, it can sometimes happen that continuous sections of text are broken by page numbers etc. However, this is irrelevant for the quality of the plagiarism check.

  • question_answerDoes PlagAware also find translation plagiarism?

    No. Translation plagiarism is generally not reliably detected.

    However, an increasing number of websites exist that automatically translate content from other languages and publish it as their own content. This content - often widely used texts, such as articles from Wikipedia - usually appears in search results. By its nature, however, the reliability of plagiarism searches is lower than for copies of the original language.

  • question_answerHow can I submit my own texts to be included in the check?

    With PlagAware you can submit your own texts to be used as additional sources for your plagiarism checks. To do this, select the function Library/Add text in your user area. After a successful upload, your library texts will be included in future checks.

  • question_answerHow long does the plagiarism check take?

    Plagiarism checking takes a few minutes for short texts, but can take several hours depending on the load of our servers, text length and number of sources found to be analyzed. If the plagiarism check is not started immediately, there is usually no malfunction, but a high workload.

  • question_answerWhy does PlagAware report sources that have been properly cited?

    PlagAware reports all sources for which matches are found. Whether, to what extent, and under what conditions citations are permissible is an individual decision of the reviewer. However, correct citations can be marked as irrelevant or correctly cited and thus excluded from the review.

  • question_answerWhy does Plagaware show a result close to 100% on the second check of my text?

    Add text to library Most likely, when you ordered your plagiarism check, you checked the option that submitted your text to your private library. When you subsequently run another check, the previously submitted text is counted as a source, resulting in the high percentage shown.

    To exclude this incorrect source, please select the corresponding source in the plagiarism checker results view and select "Exclude source". The percentage will then be displayed correctly.

    Alternatively, you can delete the text in question from the library and run a new check (or version check). Similarly, you can run a new check, excluding library sources (see Order new plagiarism check).

  • question_answerAt what percentage is it plagiarism?

    PlagAware can be used as a decision support tool to show the degree of similarity as well as the manner of rewriting. However, the assessment of to what extent and under what conditions citations are permissible - or already considered plagiarism - must always be made by the reviewer. In our article, you will find Tips for evaluating a plagiarism check.

  • question_answerWhat does "relevant", "covered", "excluded" mean by sources?

    Relevant sources contribute to the overall result (the percentage) of the plagiarism check. This means that the overall result of the plagiarism check will usually change if a found source is manually excluded.

    Excluded sources are sources that have been excluded either manually or automatically (e.g. via the whitelist or the options when requesting the check). These are not analyzed and do not contribute to the overall report result.

    In many cases, sources are covered by other sources. This means that these sources are fully contained within another source. Therefore, exclusion of the overlapped source will not affect the overall result of the check.

  • question_answerWhich texts does PlagAware access during the plagiarism check?

    When searching for plagiarism, PlagAware accesses all documents that are available online and can in principle be found via common search engines such as Google or Bing. The file format does not matter, so e-books or PowerPoint presentations, for example, are also included in the plagiarism check.

    Texts that are behind a paywall are generally not recorded in full. However, free copies of numerous publications exist on the Internet, which are then detected during the plagiarism check - if necessary with a deviating source reference. Likewise, summaries of paid publications can usually be found on public sites, which are then of course also displayed.

    In addition to online sources, users can upload documents to their respective private libraries, thus adding their own texts to the database against which checks are made. In this way, for example, existing publications, but also parallel and previous year's work can be included in the plagiarism check.

    Texts in the private library are optionally shared within the organization. In this way, organizations can build their own database of reference documents, which is then available to all users of the organization.

    Sharing texts outside the organization is generally not supported by PlagAware for privacy reasons.

  • question_answerCan texts that have been written by AI tools such as ChatGPT also be detected?

    PlagAware identifies text sections up to a match of about 35% - 40% as plagiarism. Not only the number of matching words, but also their frequency and other statistical factors play a role in plagiarism assessment. Thus, PlagAware is currently not able to detect completely reworded texts as plagiarism. This is also the case when texts are rewritten by AI programs such as OpenAI / ChatGPT.

    In specific cases of suspicion, we recommend that you perform a direct text comparison, as the sensitivity here is higher than with the pure plagiarism check. In this way, even smaller matches can be detected. You can find this function under the Tools and Help menu item.

Automated text monitoring

  • question_answerWhy is there only one scan per day, even though I bought a subscription?
    You can find the setting how many scans should be performed per day in your user area under "Text monitoring/Settings and configuration". If, for example, all ScanCredits of your subscription should be fully scheduled for scans, please activate the option "Automatic exhaustion...".

ScanCredits, terms and licensing

  • question_answerHow long will my purchased ScanCredits be valid?

    All credits purchased in the online shop have an unlimited validity, so they do not expire after a certain time. ScanCredits assigned to a time-limited subscription or license agreement can no longer be used after the agreed-upon license period expires.

    For more information on ScanCredits, please also see our Overview of prepaid tariffs.

  • question_answerWhat happens if I exceed the agreed upon usage of a teaching license?

    The teaching license allows you to perform any number of plagiarism checks during the contract period. Since there is a cost associated with each plagiarism check performed, we try to estimate in advance how many checks to expect. The estimate is based on the experience values of the licensing organization. If no empirical values are available yet, we estimate the checking volume based on the number of learners and on the planned deployment - i.e. whether, for example, only a random check is planned in the case of existing initial suspicion, or whether routine integration into the teaching process is planned.

    If the estimated usage is exceeded during the term of the contract, this will not affect the current license.

    If there is a very significant overage, we will contact the license administrator in a timely manner - usually three months before the license expires. In doing so, we show the usage to date and discuss the requirements for the next contract term. Based on the requirements, we then submit an updated offer for the extension of the teaching license, if applicable.

    On our website, you will find more information about teaching licenses.

  • question_answerWhat are the responsibilities of the license administrator?

    Each PlagAware license is assigned to a user who "owns" and manages the license. This license administrator is our contact person in the licensing organization. The license administrator has special rights, e.g. he can see to what extent PlagAware is used. He also decides how new users can log in to the license and which texts can be shared within the organization.

    These settings are usually made once and do not generate any further expenses during the license period.

    Detailed information about the license manager options can be found in the License management guide.

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