iThenticate: Tell us about the editorial process [for screening financial reports] at Amba Research, and the types of results your clients are looking for.
Suma Ramachandran: “I manage the editorial the editorial team. We have editors in all our delivery locations—Colombo, Bangalore and San Jose. My team edits all of the written work that goes out of Amba to our clients. We clean it up for English, language structure, etc. Part of our work also includes when a document comes into our team for editing, it is also run through iThenticate at the same time. This is to make sure that if there is a higher score on iThenticate, then we write back to the delivery manager who the analyst reports to and we tell them that ‘Look, there seems to be too much content here that seems to have been copied.”
Some of our clients are okay with copy-pasted things, but we need to still provide due attribution. If you have taken it from somewhere, you’ve provided the correct attribution, that’s okay. And these are usually the by-sidelines who are not publishing work and selling their research. They just need it for internal consumption. But, obviously, they, too, need to know where that information came from. So, attribution is very important. For different types of clients the threshold, the acceptable threshold for an iThenticate score differs. There are some clients where it simply cannot be more than 1%, literally just 1%.
For other clients, even 50% is okay because they just want the analyst to have a bunch of news items and information on a particular topic sent to him with some analysis. Supposing it’s a news article out of Bloomberg or a subscription based thing like an SMP or a Moody’s Report, they may want to know what SMP and Moody said – so, obviously, that would then show up in the form of a higher score in iThenticate, which is acceptable, provided there is due attribution given.”
iThenticate: What kind of impact has your plagiarism screening process had?
Suma Ramachandran: “I think iThenticate serves as an internal policeman of sorts. Our analysts know that we use iThenticate on all written materials. The newer ones are especially scared of being caught, to the extent that they won’t go ahead and try to copy. We hold regular trainings internally to teach everybody about what constitutes plagiarism because, believe it or not, there are a bunch of people out there who may not genuinely understand what the big deal is. ‘It’s out there in the public domain.’ ‘I took it from Wikipedia.’ Those are the genuine responses we get sometimes. So, it is important for the analysts to be first educated. We take care of that, but then we also tell them that, look, you know what? We use iThenticate. Then they know they can’t get away with it. So, that way it proves to be quite helpful to us.”