Press Release

7th August 2003 Updated October 6th 2003

Free plagiarism prevention software for UK universities and further education colleges

Offer details

CFL Software Development announces that there is now a free version of its CopyCatch Gold plagiarism prevention software available to all universities and further education colleges in the UK. The software uses cutting edge technology to compare essays and detect plagiarism or collusion.

David Woolls, the founder of CFL Software Development, said: "We’ve decided to give all universities and colleges the opportunity to show students what plagiarism and collusion look like from the start of their academic careers. We hope that this will help them to learn good academic writing practice. "

The existence of the JISC Plagiarism Detection Service has meant that some would-be users of CopyCatch meet the financial objection that while a free service is available funds will not be forthcoming for another commercial program, so the only way to encourage wide immediate use was to give it away.

Since the offer was announced on the plagiarism list 40 universities have requested a copy and at least a further 45 downloads have been made from the LTSN Bioscience web site, following their request for a copy they could distribute. The program is also available from the Law, CEBE and PRS LTSNs. CopyCatch has 36 users of the full version in the UK and a further 10 in other countries.

We made the offer because we believe universities need a system which can be used immediately for instruction, prevention and detection. CopyCatch achieves this because it does not require registration or additional student permissions and it can be up and running in 15 minutes. This is in contrast to the acknowledged administrative overhead of the JISC service.

In addition, the advantage of starting to look in-house and working out is that it provides a good deal of information on how students are working and how they are using electronic sources. This knowledge assists the development of appropriate prevention strategies.

This is one way Dr Paul Gent, of the University of Leeds, uses the program. He said: "Whereas almost anything detects cut and paste, CopyCatch detects much more subtle paraphrasing. This means we can start talking about stealing ideas, not just words, and the whole thing becomes educational not adversarial."

The version of CopyCatch Gold that CFL is giving away is fully operational and is not time-limited or restricted to a single user. It is very easy to work with and extremely fast, giving clear results in seconds, making it ideal for classroom use. Once users have sampled the benefits the program offers, they can choose if they want to upgrade to one of the full versions.

As part of CFL's R&D, the very latest version has been extended to assist tutors to uncover web plagiarism. John Fairhurst, of the University of Huddersfield comments: "This is a welcome development because it makes the product even better with regard to its range, but does not detract from its ease of use."


For further information, please contact David Woolls at CFL Software Development.