One of TaxAudit's core values, particularly in its education department, is integrity. Though plagiarism may often be accidental, an incident, depending on the level of severity, could damage a company's reputation. To prevent such incidents, TaxAudit.com has integrated iThenticate into its educational and marketing editorial processes. Their director of communications discusses their reasons for using plagiarism detection software more in-depth in the following video.
Listen to the discussion (5:11 min.):
TaxAudit.com: Using iThenticate to Prevent Plagiarism and Maintain Integrity
iThenticate: Thanks for joining us today. I am pleased to introduce Karen Reed, who is the director of communications at TaxAudit. Karen, welcome.
Reed: Thank you.
iThenticate: Ms. Reed is a customer and user of iThenticate, and she has also recently participated in a survey of ours that asked about different types of plagiarism. So she’s going to talk a bit about her experience with iThenticate and also a bit about her opinion of plagiarism and about plagiarism in her industry. Let’s start off by asking you, Karen, a bit about your role at TaxAudit and the reason you might use plagiarism detection software?
Reed: Well, I am the director of communications at TaxAudit.com, as you mentioned. And I also oversee the tax education and research department. Just a little bit about our company, TaxAudit.com. We are the largest and fastest growing audit defense firm in the country. We help individual taxpayers and small businesses with their tax audits at a price point any American taxpayer can afford, we alleviate the fear, stress, and hassle in the event that the IRS decides to audit you. We also provided affordable services for individuals and small businesses who are facing an IRS audit, but who don't have prepaid coverage; and this can save potentially thousands of dollars.
So we have a very robust education department and we have as one of our company’s core values is integrity, and so we want to ensure that all of the materials that we present in our courses and offer to our employees have this integrity. We tell everyone who writes something that’s going to be published to make sure that what they do is original and that they’re not copying other people’s work. So we want to make sure that we live up to the standard as a company in the materials that we present to our employees. Every tax professional is required to take a certain number of CE hours in order to keep their licensing. So what we do is provide our tax professionals with that education so that they don't have to go elsewhere. It also helps us to train them in the areas that we feel that they need the most training and the areas that apply to the work that they do as audit representatives.
iThenticate: That work is being published online, or is it also being published in like publications?
Reed: It is currently not being published in publications. But as far as copyright law goes, even if you publish internally you make a copy because we have a hundred audit reps here, so we have to make copies of all the classes and you’re not allowed to take other people’s material and just copy it. So we don't want to violate copyright law.
The reason why we started using iThenticate is that what was happening was people who were putting the course materials didn't necessarily realize that they had copied materials from other sources. Maybe they put it in as a placeholder, and then they never changed it because after a while it starts looking -- you think you may have written that; you can't remember what you did. So what we found was that there were materials that had been plagiarized. We found out and so now it’s just a general practice here that we run everything through iThenticate before it goes out for our classes.
iThenticate: Right. Plagiarism detection software is relatively new, just in the last 10-15 years has really been a boom of people going online and visiting sites like Wikipedia, copying-and-pasting information, and not realizing that they're plagiarizing because they think it’s collaborative information and it doesn't require citation. So there are lots of people who just aren’t aware that it’s an issue.
Reed: And we actually had that exact situation. Someone who was developing course material for the first time didn't understand copyright law and did do that. They actually copied a whole bunch of stuff from Wikipedia. At the time I was education manager and I just check. Anytime anyone turned in a course I would kind of check around and I found immediately big -- lots of text that had been taken right out of Wikipedia, but the person really had no idea that that was plagiarism and not really a legal thing to do.
iThenticate: How did you find out about iThenticate?
Reed: I actually tried a couple of different services like that online that you can find. But there’s nothing -- our course texts can be a hundred or more pages, and so that’s not really feasible for us. So we did some research and we researched a lot of different services online and yours seemed to be the most thorough and the most intuitive. So it worked for us.
iThenticate: That’s great to hear, excellent. What aspect do you think iThenticate is most valuable and why? You had indicated on the survey that it protects reputations?
Reed: Yes. I think that’s most important thing for us, is that we want -- I mean we have a really strong position as far as having integrity in everything that we do. And it’s important that everything that we create reflects that integrity. So if go and put out course material and people say oh that was plagiarized, then we're not living up to that core value that we have. And then if we did decide to take -- sometimes we take our materials out and do seminars outside of our company and it’s the same thing; if we were found to be distributing plagiarized materials, it would hurt our reputation.
iThenticate: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us.