Checking theses for plagiarism

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To ensure that no plagiarism occurs in doctoral and licentiate theses, Karolinska Institutet (KI) runs systematic plagiarism checks of all theses (in Swedish; ramberättelser). Once a thesis has been electronically “nailed” in KI’s e-publication system, it is checked using the iThenticate plagiarism detection tool. The iThenticate report is then sent to the Examination Board as a supporting document in its review of the thesis.

Plagiarism check by the Examination Board

The coordinator of the Examination Board will be sent an email containing the iThenticate report. Examination Board members who need help interpreting the report are welcome to contact Ingeborg van der Ploeg at

If there are grounds to suspect that a doctoral student has made an attempt at deception in connection with their examination by, for example, plagiarising text in their thesis, the Examination Board is required to report the matter promptly to the Vice-Chancellor.

Information on the handling of disciplinary matters at Karolinska Institutet and administrative procedures

Access to the iThenticate plagiarism detection tool

Doctoral students and their supervisors might find it useful to run the drafts of the thesis through iThenticate in the interests of quality control and learning.

Supervisors and doctoral students at KI can access iThenticate for pre-review by mailing

Instructions on how to use iThenticate can be found here:

Preventive work to avoid plagiarism

To avoid plagiarism, the doctoral students must learn correct scientific writing and referencing praxis. To help students in this, KI has purchased an online course called Avoiding Plagiarism. Read more about how to log in and take the course.

The Board of Doctoral Education has also decided to earmark funds for thesis (in Swedish; ramberättelse/”kappa”) writing seminars that may be applied for from the Course and Programme Committee. Read more here.

Plagiarism checks of theses – pilot project 2014-2015

Over a period of six months, every tenth thesis was randomly selected for checking. The theses were checked by five people (four researchers and a librarian) using the iThenticate plagiarism detection tool after having been nailed electronically in KI’s e-publication system.

The pilot project checked a total of 24 theses, none of which were judged to contain plagiarism. However, there were some passages that had been copied from the students’ own constituent papers and other such sources. In some cases, there was extensive lifting from the discussion section of their own constituent papers, which is not in accordance with KI’s guidelines for writing the thesis, which state that “The text of the summary chapter must be the student’s own original work without the extensive reproduction of extracts from the constituent papers.”


Doctoral education