Top Ranked Business School Checks Reports for Plagiarism
Featuring: Sheryl Gregson, Manager of Business Systems from The Richard Ivey School of Business
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iThenticate: Can you tell me a little about Ivey Publishing and your professional experience there?
Gregson: Ivey Publishing is the publishing division of The Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. We publish case studies that are written both by our own faculty at Ivey, as well as accepting case studies from individuals and schools outside of Ivey. We have a number of case studies from partner schools in the U.S. and overseas, as well as about half of our collection comes from our own faculty. We use these both inside our own organization for teaching at Ivey and we sell them outside as well to academics and students directly. In addition to our own materials, we distribute case collections of other schools; Harvard materials in Canada, Darden Business Publishing, Nanyang Business School in China, and we distribute Ivey Business Journal Reprints, which is a periodical that is published by the Ivey Business School.
iThenticate: Can you tell me a little bit about your position/role as the Manager of Business Systems and sort of what that entails?
Gregson: As Manager of Business Systems with Ivey Publishing, I work very closely with our Associate Director to ensure that our processes and business systems operate in support of our customer service and intake of new product. I work closely with a team of product coordinators who accept new product and make sure that they are formatted and edited properly, so that it’s presentable for the public. Then we also have a team of external sales and customer service people and we make sure that everything’s working well for our customers from their perspective.
iThenticate: Were you encountering any issues with originality?
Gregson: It wasn’t that we were encountering problems with work originality. And we weren’t trying to penalize people. We are taking products into our system from a variety of sources, and we wanted a way to protect ourselves from any inadvertent use of material that wasn’t original. The use of iThenticate was a way for us to do that and to be able to make sure that the authors of the case studies were aware that what they were taking from other sources was not useful in terms of producing the case study if it wasn’t original work.
iThenticate: Why did you choose iThenticate as opposed to another program?
Gregson: iThenticate gave us a really good cross-section of materials, a big cross-section of a database that was checking materials. Most of our product is business-based. It’s business case studies, so we wanted something that was going to look heavily at those kind of publications and having a database as extensive as iThenticate was really helpful to us in terms of checking the largest number of sources that we could.
iThenticate: How exactly do you use iThenticate? Do the writers submit it to you and then you run it through iThenticate or do they give you an originality port – how does that work?
Gregson: The authors submit a case study to us and we run it through iThenticate. We’re not penalizing them if we come across something for which there are significant matches within iThenticate. It provides a way to educate them on what is and is not acceptable in terms of what they’re submitting to us. So we run it through and evaluate the scores that are coming back from iThenticate and then return to the author and say, okay, you need to either cite this information more thoroughly or you need to investigate different ways to go about getting this information and presenting it so that it’s not plagiarizing other material.
iThenticate: As far as the results from using iThenticate, has it done what you had anticipated it would do?
Gregson: It has, and it’s given us some other side benefits as well. All our case studies have a standard copyright statement in them and by using iThenticate, we’ve discovered sites where our cases have been posted illegally. So we’ve been able to track down where there are postings of our cases that haven’t been authorized by us. In some cases it was a legitimate use, but it was posted it on a public website and so we’ve been able to track down the site owners and ask them to take it off the site so that it’s not available publicly. In some cases, we didn’t authorize it, and so we’ve been able to track that down as well.
iThenticate: That’s great. That’s the most interesting side usage of it I’ve heard yet.
Gregson: Yes, we’re using it as a compliance tool.
iThenticate: So, it appears you anticipate continuing to use the product.
Gregson: We do anticipate continuing to use the product. It certainly lends support to us. It is a third party saying, okay, look you’re plagiarizing here and it is a significant use of the material; it’s not just us or our editors saying it. So it lends support to that for sure.