iThenticate for HDR candidates

iThenticate is a text-matching software tool designed specifically for you (as HDR candidates) to assist you with your academic writing. iThenticate compares documents to an extensive database of web pages and scholarly content to produce a similarity score and report. Only you, as the HDR candidate, have access to run your work through iThenticate, but it is recommended that the iThenticate similarity report is shared with your supervisor/s (primary and/or associate) throughout your candidature. Your report allows you to progressively review your work by checking for originality and ensuring that you have cited non-original work appropriately. However, it should be noted that iThenticate cannot by itself detect plagiarism and therefore, should work collaboratively with your supervisor to discuss the content of your similarity report.

You are required to submit a Similarity report with your final thesis as part of the eForms process unless you commenced the examination eform process prior to the 6th of July 2023. ANU has paid for all current HDR candidates to have an iThenticate account. The use of iThenticate for HDR candidates will be outlined in the Procedure: HDR: Submission and Examination of Theses, which is currently in the process of being updated. To view your role in this broader eForms process, see the User Journey Flow Chart .


As an HDR candidate, you will need to learn about the iThenticate tool and how it produces "Similarity Reports". No one else can use the tool on your behalf but you can work collaboratively with your supervisor to interpret the report.

There are various training materials available for HDR candidates on iThenticate including: 

Getting Started

If you are a first-time user of iThenticate, this section will guide you on how to access iThenticate. 

 To log into iThenticate please follow these simple steps:

  1. Log into ISIS
  2. Within the Menu Bar select "Research"
  3. Select "Acess iThenticate". 
  4. See the image of the ISIS menu bar.​

A new window will then open and you will automatically be logged into iThenticate through ANU Single Sign On (SSO). When you log into iThenticate for the first time an account is automatically created for you seamlessly in the background, you don't have to do anything for this to happen. The next time you login through ISIS and select "Access iThenticate" you will again be logged in through ANU Single Sign On (SSO) to your existing account. Any reports you have generated will remain in your account until you delete them or your account is closed once you are no longer an ANU HDR candidate (you have completed your program or your program has been discontinued or ended). Note you will still have access to iThenticate when you are on approved Program Leave. 

Navigating iThenticate

For information about navigating your way around the initial landing page of iThenticate, please see the 'Finding your way around' user guide.


The 'Folders' Tab (shown) is the first page you will see.

In this tab you can:

Click the links above to learn more about how to complete these actions.

Note: When creating a new folder,* you have options to exclude quoted text or your bibliography from comparison of documents submitted within the folder.

For clear exclusion definitions of what this setting involves, please see Quote Exclusion Definitions and Bibliography Exclusion Definitions.


Under the 'Folders' Tab, there is a section titled 'My Documents' (see below).

Within this section you can:

Click the links above to learn more about how to complete these actions.

The Similarity Report

The Similarity Report provides an indication of similarities between your submitted document and other online texts including submissions, journals and web articles. No one else can run a report on your behalf and the Similarity Report remains private to you until it is shared.

Note:iThenticate does not check for plagiarism in a submission; it checks a submission against the content database. If the submission's content is similar to, or matches against, one or more sources, it will be flagged for your review. It is perfectly natural for a submission to match against sources in the database.

The database includes billions of web pages (both current and archived content), a collection of documents, which comprises of thousands of periodicals, journals, publications, and CrossRef member content. If the submission has used quotes and has referenced correctly, there will be instances where there will be a match. Although iThenticate is a powerful tool, using it does not guarantee that writing does not contain plagiarised text. It does not check against, for example, Google Books or material that has only been published in hard copy. It is essential that using iThenticate is only part of a researcher's strategy to ensure academic and research integrity.  

The Similarity Report will contain a similarity percentage/score that indicates the overall similarity of your submission, based on the amount of matching text that is identified. The similarity score simply makes the user aware of any problem areas in the submission; iThenticate should be used as part of a larger review process with your primary supervisor to determine if the match is or is not acceptable. Together, you will interpret the Similarity Report. You should review each section of highlighted text with your supervisors. Below are some guiding questions that should be considered:

  • Is all matching text enclosed in quotation marks and correctly cited? 
  • Are all quotations attributed to the correct source?
  • Are clusters of quotations in appropriate sections of the document?
  • Has any single source been quoted to an extent that copyright permission should be sought?

To view some more examples of common plagiarism mistakes, you can visit iThenticate's Plagiarism Spectrum 

Access the Similarity Report by double-clicking on the percentage score of a document. These can be viewed in either Document View or Text Only. Toggle to Text Only by clicking the button in the bottom right corner of the window. Toggle back to Document View by clicking the 'Document View' button at the top left of the Text Only view page. Text Only View has some modes which are not available in Document View, but Document View is easier to compare with a file or printed copy. Document View in Match Overview mode is recommended unless an alternative mode is identified for particular tasks.

To learn more about the similarity report, use the resources below:

We recommend watching this short video about how to navigate and interpret the Similarity Report in iThenticate.

Interpreting your Similarity Percentage 


There are no standard or universal ideal maximum or minimum percentages to aim for. Even a document with a low percentage could contain plagiarised text, while a document with a high percentage may have no problems. 

A document with a low percentage score (less than 20%) should still be carefully checked to ensure that citations are correct and that matching text is attributed correctly. Use the Similarity Report to do this. If the score is low researchers may wish to consider whether the document engages closely enough with existing literature in the field.  

A medium to high percentage score (above 20%) requires more consideration. A higher percentage score can result from either:

  1. significant quotation from a single source; or
  2. a combination of many shorter quotes from multiple sources.

Both of these may be acceptable according to context and usage. An English article about a single poem or novel would likely quote extensively from the primary text, while a systematic review in medicine or the sciences might quote briefly from many sources.

The more quotations are used the more likely it is that inadvertent plagiarism will occur through errors in note-taking, typing, etc. 

Even if all matching text is quoted correctly, a high percentage score may indicate that the document does not meet academic standards for originality of ideas, argument, or new discoveries. See the Self-citation and Self-plagiarism and Genres of Writing sections of this guide for more information about the levels of originality expected in different kinds of publications.

Sharing your Similarity Report

To share a report with your supervisor (or anyone else), open the relevant report and select the print icon at the bottom left of the screen.

This will download a PDF version of your Similarity Report which you can send to your supervisor (or others). You can then send this PDF via email. If the file is too large for email, upload the Similarity Report to a cloud-based account (e.g. OneDrive, Google Drive) and provide access to your supervisor.

Note: he PDF will reflect the current report mode you have selected; work with your supervisor to create a preference that works for both of you.

Settings & Account Information

There are various settings that you can control for your iThenticate account and reports:

General Settings: Here, you can make changes to the general settings of your account and document settings. This includes your home folder default, number of documents to show, display after upload, time zone, and language changes.

Account Information: Your account information (including your name, email, photo, password and profile) can be found under the third tab at the top of the iThenticate landing page (see below).

Document Settings: The documents settings tab allows you to change the default of how iThenticate sorts your uploaded documents, and the colour of your similarity scores. To access your document settings, click the "Settings" tab under the Documents section (see below).

Report Settings: This includes email notifications, colour coding preferences and available document repositories.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you are an HDR candidate and have a question about iThenticate, a list of Frequently Asked Questions below:​​​​​​