The Best AI Detection Tools to Catch Cheating and Plagiarism

These AI detection tools can help teachers and professors catch students using artificial intelligence, such as ChatGPT, to complete their homework assignments.
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Chloe Appleby is an associate writer for BestColleges. She contributes to both the News and Data teams, writing both higher education news stories and data reports for the site. She graduated from Davidson College with a BA in English and communicati...
Updated on October 13, 2023
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  • OpenAI, a research company aiming to advance artificial intelligence (AI), released ChatGPT, a new tool that made national waves at the end of 2022.
  • Now, educators and school professionals are concerned about academic integrity and the future of learning.
  • Several companies, including companies that work to advance AI, have worked to create AI detection tools.
  • Although none of the tools are foolproof, they can be used to feel out whether a piece of text was written by a human or a robot.

OpenAI's ChatGPT has embedded its way into higher education and can write essays, pass exams, and teach you a good dorm recipe.

Since the tool made national headlines, professors and universities have had to address it in syllabi or policy, some schools have embraced and recommended students' use of ChatGPT and Utah Tech University even made curricula around it.

But just as quickly as ChatGPT and other AI-generating tools have made national headlines, new detector tools have been launched to sniff out if a piece of text is written by a human or by a bot.

These tools are not foolproof, and the companies that created them do not claim they are.

According to TechCrunch, "As text-generating AI improves, so will the detectors — a never-ending back-and-forth similar to that between cybercriminals and security researchers… That’s all to say that there’s no silver bullet to solve the problems AI-generated text poses. Quite likely, there won’t ever be."

Still, these tools can at least detect lower-quality AI-generated content and give users a feel of whether or not a text was human-generated. Generally speaking, the longer the body of text in a passage, the better the tool works.

According to Search Engine Journal, OpenAI plans on introducing a cryptographic watermarking feature. By embedding statistical patterns into word choices and even punctuation, the watermark would make it easy for a detection tool to catch it.

Scott Aaronson, a computer scientist working on the OpenAI watermarking project, said, "We want it to be much harder to take a GPT output and pass it off as if it came from a human. This could be helpful for preventing academic plagiarism, obviously, but also, for example, mass generation of propaganda… Or impersonating someone's writing style in order to incriminate them."

Until watermarking features are implemented, however, AI detection tools may be needed to help prevent cheating and plagiarism. Here's a list of the current tools that students and professors can use to help detect if something was written using AI.

OpenAI discontinued its AI Text Classifier last July; it was a work in progress that correctly identified "26% of AI-written text (true positives) as 'likely AI-written.'" The tool yielded significantly less positive results than other detectors that claim up to 99.6% accuracy.

TurnItIn's AI Detection Model

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    Detects GPT-3 and ChatGPT

On April 4, TurnItIn released their AI writing indicator, which will pair with their pre-existing programs, including Turnitin Feedback Studio (TFS), TFS with Originality, Turnitin Originality, Turnitin Similarity, Simcheck, Originality Check, and Originality Check+.

For the most part, the tool is intended for educator-use only. Students will not be able to use the indicator tool from their accounts.

The detection model will show an overall percentage of the document that might have been AI-generated after breaking down the submission into five-to-ten sentence segments, and rating those sections on a scale of 0, human-generated, to 1, AI-generated. BestColleges senior writer and college instructor, Mark Drozdowski, found the tool to be "remarkably accurate."

Beginning Jan. 2024, only customers with licenses to Originality or TFS with Originality will have access to the detection tool, according to their site.

Winston AI Detection

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    Detects GPT-3, ChatGPT, and GPT-4

Created specifically for educators and publishers, Winston AI's detection tool is one of the best for checking if educational writing was written by a student or with the assistance of AI.

It is capable of detecting the upcoming version of ChatGPT, known as GPT-4.

Their Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology takes out text from scanned documents, including hand-written text. The tool also supports French, and is gearing up to support more languages soon.

The detector lets users know, on a percentage scale from 0-100, the odds that the copy was written by a human. The software also detects plagiarism, and provides a list of duplicate text found on the internet with printable reports available.

Users can try the tool for free for up to 2,000 words, but will have to pay $14 per month for up to 80,000 word scans.

Copyleaks AI Content Detector

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    Detects GPT-2, GPT-3, ChatGPT, GPT-4, T5, Bert, Jasper

Ten years in the making, Copyleaks' AI Detection tool has been trained to sniff out content written by other AI chatbots. Their tool is the first of its kind to detect AI across several languages, including English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Italian, Russian, Polish, Romanian, Dutch, Swedish, Czech, and Norwegian.

Copyleaks claims a 99.12% detection rate accuracy, but admits that the accuracy to detect AI-generated creative writing is typically lower than other content styles.

Copyleaks stands out because not only does it provide a browser-based detection, but it easily integrates with some of the most popular learning management systems (LMS) used by educators, including Canvas, Moodle, Brightspace, Blackboard, Schoology, and Sakai.

The company is working to detect AI-generated text that has gone through a text spinner or has been manipulated to avoid detection. However, it comes with a price. For 1,200 credits, users will have to pay $8.33 per month, and the price rises with more credits.


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    Detects ChatGPT

Edward Tian — a computer science major and journalism minor at Princeton University — recently created GPTZero during his winter break. More than one million people have already used the app since its launch on Jan. 3.

Tian tweeted, "in short, there's so much chatgpt hype going around. is this and that written by AI? we as humans deserve to know!" His original tweet about the app's launch received over 7 million views on Twitter.

According to NPR, Tian trained the bot to detect two different factors: "perplexity," which measures the text's complexity, and "burstiness," which compares sentence length and complexity variation.

Tian recently released a model update called GPTZeroX, intended primarily for educators. The updated tool highlights the parts of the text that are AI-generated, supports larger inputs — including files for an entire class — and operates faster than the pilot version, according to Tian's Twitter. According to Tian, these were the most requested features by educators.

Originality.AI Chrome Extension

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    Detects GPT-3, 3.5, and ChatGPT

Originality.AI's detection tool is designed to be used by writers and web publishers. It claims a 94% detection rate on GPT-3 generated content, and it is easily downloadable as an extension on Chrome for reviewing any piece of content a person is writing or reading on the web.

The detection module scores text, and even entire websites, on a scale of 0-100 on the chance that it was AI-generated. The trial for the detection tool is free, but after the trial period ends, it will cost $0.01, or one credit, per 100 words for users.

The tool can also scan for plagiarism. According to Gold Penguin, an agency that writes free tutorials about the latest AI software, "With the abundance of information available online, it's easy to accidentally plagiarize without even realizing it. Originality can be a valuable tool for students looking to verify the originality and authenticity of their work before submitting it for a class or assignment."

Content at Scale AI Detector

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    Detects GPT-2, GPT-3, 3.5, ChatGPT, and GPT-4

Content at Scale is best known for its promise of generating full length and SEO-optimized blog posts with just a few clicks, all the while surpassing even the toughest AI detectors. This is why its version of the AI Detector, which measures a text's human content score, is one of the most popular free detectors on the market.

Users can input up to 25,000 characters into the tool.

Writer's AI Content Detector

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    Detects GPT-2, GPT-3, 3.5, and ChatGPT

Just like Originality.AI's model, Writer's AI Content Detector is intended to help writers make decisions about what content they are posting online. But anyone can use the tool for free. Users can enter 1,500 characters at a time. After entering text into the box, the tool will spit out a detection score — the higher the percentage, the higher the likelihood the content was written by a bot.

The tool can now detect GPT-2, GPT-3, GPT-3.5, and ChatGPT, according to Gabe.

Hugging Face OpenAI Detector

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    Detects GPT-2

The community at Hugging Face claims dedication to "good machine learning," including an open access AI detection tool free for all.

Content is ranked from a scale of "real" to "fake" in the Hugging Face OpenAI Detector, which can detect GPT-2 produced content. The tool uses the GPT-2 output detection model, a product created by OpenAI in 2019, and currently does not detect the latest AI models, such as GPT-3 and GPT-3.5.

OpenAI says that the detection model "needs to be paired with metadata-based approaches, human judgment, and public education to be more effective."

Gold Penguin classified this detector as an extra detection method as opposed to a standalone tool. The blog said, "Generally you can get a decent clue based on the response, but I've pasted some fully robotic AI writing and it has told me it was 99% real. I've also pasted an advanced academic essay written by a human and claimed 99% AI."

Scribbr's Free AI Detector

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    Detects GPT-2, GPT-3, and GPT-3.5; GPT-4 with lower confidence

Scribbr's AI detector requires no sign up to use. Scribbr recommends text between 25 and its cap of 500 words to get a good result. The site says students can find out whether their sources were created by AI or if their work accidentally contains AI sections.

The tool uses a bar to highlight what percentage of the text was written by humans and what was written by AI.

Sapling's AI Detector

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    Detects ChatGPT and Bard

The AI detector developed by former researchers at University of California Berkeley, Stanford University, Google, and Meta, uses a similar machine learning system to one's that generate content like ChatGPT. It generates the probability it thinks each word is AI-generated or not. According to Sapling, it is over 97% accurate and recommends longer text inputs to increase accuracy.

Sapling's free version allows up to 2,000 characters and the pro and enterprise versions allow up to 8,000 characters.

Sapling also offers an internet browser extension.