I can see who’s visited my site on the ‘management’ side of things and noticed last week that someone from a certain website had trolled through and commented. The site in question advertises a service in which one pays $12.99 and, in return, receives a one hundred percent original term paper on the subject specified. The comment they left (which I’ve since removed) said something like ‘thanks for pulling all this together.’ ‘This’ was the text of my academic papers from grad school I have placed online. Well, you are welcome, obvious shysters; I hope your dunderhead clients are satisfied with the work I’ve ‘pulled together’ for them.
Later I mentioned this to my uncle who is a professor at the local university; he said there is little chance of a plagiarised paper making it through; all papers are submitted electronically and automatically scanned through a system that is also trolling the internet for pre-existing material. This is standard practice for most universities now. Also, I’m rather imagining an American undergraduate student submitting the content of one of my papers as his or her own; the professor might find it remarkable that an erstwhile failing student suddenly writes like a graduate student in his mid-30’s and, as an added bonus, in British English and citation standards.
I would like to note a couple things for anyone who might be tempted by such a service. First, what do you think $12.99 is going to get you? Do you really assume you are paying a competent writer to compose an original term paper (which, if you didn’t know, takes longer than the duration of a feature film to complete!) for the price of a pizza with two toppings? Second, why are you in school? The degree that you hope to obtain (should you avoid all detection of plagiarism) won’t shelter you from your obvious incompetence out in ‘the real world.’ Take the money you are spending on school and go travel, learn about yourself and others instead of wasting it on imaginary un-earned grades. If you are faced with writing a paper and afraid of failure, write it and fail! At least it’s your own experience and you become richer from it (trust me; pertinent side story here).
That said, I do now have the maniacal idea that my theories may find wider acceptance as they permeate through the Academy. (Though I am rather miffed that I’m not getting some of that $12.99 for pizza and movie money.)