Using Ouriginal

What is it?

Ouriginal is an online text-matching service which checks electronic, text based submissions against a large database of material (including journal articles, websites and other student submissions) and produces a scored originality report for each piece of work. Submissions made to Moodle Assignments can, in turn, be routed to Ouriginal for checking.

Ouriginal Analysis Reports make no judgement regarding plagiarism, they simply highlight matching text fragments, providing the reviewer with information that can be useful in helping to determine whether or not plagiarism has occurred.

Once an assignment has been uploaded to Ouriginal, the application will produce two things:

  • Ouriginal Similarity score – This number shows how much of a student’s assignment matches content from Ouriginal’s databases.
  • Ouriginal Analysis report – Alongside a copy of the student’s original work, this report gives further detail on the specific sources of matching text.

Further details on the capabilities of Ouriginal’s service can be found on the Ouriginal website.

Analysis reports and similarity scores can be made available to students (where this may be appropriate), however since a high similarity score doesn’t necessarily indicate plagiarism, guidance should be given regarding how to interpret the results.
In this way, the service not only supports academic integrity, but it can also be the basis for writing skills development (e.g. a high analysis score may indicate an over reliance on source materials).

It is important to ensure that the Ouriginal service is enabled in the Assignment settings at the time the Assignment link is created.

Using Ouriginal within Moodle

The standard way to use Ouriginal is within the Moodle Assignment. See below for details:

Ouriginal is enabled by default within Moodle Assignments, so unless you wish to disable the feature or otherwise modify the settings, staff may not need to do much more than create a new Moodle Assignment.  Nevertheless, should it be helpful, settings can be modified as required (clicking on the question mark associated with each setting will provide further information about each option). The default Ouriginal settings as they appear in Moodle Assignment settings are shown below:

Image of default settings for Ouriginal plagiarism detection plugin.

Ouriginal plugin default settings

Please note that:

  • Ouriginal does not place limits on the maximum file size that can be analysed (though Moodle limits uploads to 50 MB per file)
  • Limiting file types within the Ouriginal settings does not limit the students’ ability to upload specific file types to Moodle (it simply defines which of the submitted file types uploaded to Moodle will be analysed by Ouriginal).
  • Unlike some other text matching systems, there is no way to automatically exclude the bibliography from the analysis
  • Nb: Where you need students to make a draft submission ahead of a formal submission, unticking ‘Add submissions to the Ouriginal database’ on the draft submission will prevent unwanted content matches between the draft and final submissions.

Ouriginal must be enabled before a student submits their assignment in order for an originality score / report to be generated.  Enabling the setting retrospectively will not affect files already submitted. 

Please note that only Moodle Teachers will be able to view similarity scores and reports on Assignment activities where Ouriginal was enabled at the point of creation.  Once a file has been submitted to an Ouriginal enabled assignment in Moodle, it will be passed to the Ouriginal service for review.  An interactive report will be produced that highlights any text fragments found to match against other sources, and a similarity score will be generated and passed back to the Moodle assignment. For Teachers to view similarity scores and analysis reports related to assignment submissions:

  • Go to the Assignment activity that students have submitted assignments to.
  • Click on the green View/grade all submissions link.
  • A list of all assignments submitted will be displayed in tabular format, an example of one submission is shown below.
Image of an Assignment submission showing Ouriginal score
  • Similarity score will be displayed next to the file submitted. This is also the case where multiple files are submitted by a student within a single activity. Similarity scores are colour coded on a green-amber-red scale to give a visual indicator of potential issues. Clicking on the percentage score will open the Ouriginal analysis report for that student submission.
  • The date and time displayed beside the file above remains the timestamp of when the student submitted their assignment file to Moodle – rather than when the report from Urkund was received.
  • To view the detailed Ouriginal Report, click on the Similarity link next to the link to the file upload (see above). This will launch a new web browser window, taking you to the Ouriginal website and the relevant report.

If there is a warning triangle at the end of your file submission, it means an Ouriginal report cannot be generated. There may be several reasons for this issue; however, hovering over the icon will typically provide an explanation. In some cases you can click on the button ‘reset’ to create a new report.

It is important to note that Ouriginal is simply a tool to help support academic staff in determining if an academic offence has taken place. ‘Matching Text’ and even ‘Warnings’ in the similarity report do not necessarily mean that plagiarism has taken place, and you should always be careful to thoroughly check the report as the judgement about whether an academic offence has taken place remains with staff.

The analysis report should be used to help inform that decision, and where appropriate, be used as evidence in any claim taken forward. Academic staff should refer to the relevant Faculty/School and University policies for information relating to suspected academic offences.The Analysis Overview provides a report summary.

Ouriginal Guide

Note:  The name of the submitter has been removed to ensure that originality checking does not compromise anonymous submission

The detail of the analysis report can be viewed in one of three ways:

  • Click on highlighted elements within the ‘Document overview bar’ Provides quick access to individual matches and/or warnings (via a pop-up message).
  • Click on the ‘View the entire document’ button (located in the ‘Findings’ panel) Opens the ‘Entire document’ page and highlights text fragments within the context of the entire document
  • Click on ‘Matching text’ or ‘Warnings’ (within the ‘Findings’ panel) Opens the ‘Findings’ page. Only text fragments are displayed (the full document is not visible)

However, you choose to view the detail of the report, an ‘Exclude from analysis’ setting will be found alongside each matching text fragment and warning.

This setting allows you to adjust the originality score by excluding any unexpected sources that may have been picked up (e.g. a common cover sheet used by the students will affect the originality score of individual reports).

Note:  Excluding sources will affect the similarity score within Ouriginal, however these changes will not be passed back to Moodle.

Whilst excluding sources will affect the similarity score associated with the document, the excluded sources will still be visible in the ‘Document Overview Bar’ (highlighted in a paler colour to denote their exclusion), and also within the ‘Findings’ and ‘Entire Document’ tab. This enables the reviewer to toggle the exclusion setting on/off as appropriate.

When viewing the detail of the report, a number of other settings will be available to the reviewer.

Ouriginal Guide

By default, Ouriginal reports linked with Moodle assignments are available to all Moodle teachers who can see the assignment, and (depending upon the settings that have been used) the reports and scores may also be available to the students.

Should it be necessary to share the analysis reports outside of the Moodle environment, this can be done in one of two ways:

  • Downloading the report Click the ‘Export analysis report as pdf’
  • Sharing a link to the report Click the ‘Profile’ menu and select ‘Share analysis report’. Specify an email address and press ‘Send’ button.


Please note that Students will only be able to view similarity scores and reports on Assignment activities that were Ouriginal enabled at the point of creation.

For students to view similarity scores and analysis reports related to assignment submissions:

  • Go to the Assignment activity that they have submitted their assignment to.
  • If access to the similarity score has been enabled they should then see the Ouriginal similarity score displayed underneath the submission filename.
  • If student access to the analysis report has been enabled, clicking on the Similarity link above will open a new web browser window. Within this, the student will see the analysis report relating to their assignment.
  • If access to the analysis report has not been enabled, the Similarity text in the image above will not be hyperlinked.

There are certain caveats that apply to Ouriginal’s ability to generate analysis reports with regard to file types and compatibility. The linked guidance is intended to clarify some of the limitations that apply and also to support any troubleshooting that may be necessary:

Useful Resources

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