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 KI Open Archive, it is checked using the iThenticate plagiarism detection tool. The iThenticate report is then sent to the Examination Board coordinator as a supporting document in its review of the thesis.

Plagiarism check of the thesis

The university library sends the iThenticate report as well as information regarding iThenticate and how to interpret the report and so on to the coordinator of the Examination Board by email.  

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

It is useful for doctoral students and their supervisors 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 logging in with their KI-login at

Instructions on how to use iThenticate can be found here: Tips: Exclude the reference list and set an exclusion threshold to exclude matches of less than ten words.

What else can a thesis check with iThenticate show you?

A thesis check using the iThenticate plagiarism detection tool shows also copying from the students’ own constituent papers. . The KI’s guidelines for writing the thesis state that “The summary chapter should be weighted towards a reflective discussion and contextualisation of the student’s own research results” and “The text of the summary chapter must be the student’s own original work without the extensive reproduction of extracts from the constituent papers.”

Preventive work to avoid plagiarism

To avoid plagiarism, the doctoral students must learn correct scientific writing and referencing praxis as well as good long-term and short-time planning. 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.


Doctoral education