IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

Report Finds GenAI Use Up, Plagiarism Down in 7 Countries

A 13-month study from Copyleaks found an encouraging decline in plagiarism, and most papers and assignments completed by high school and college students were not found to contain AI-generated text.

While student use of generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) skyrocketed in the past year, plagiarism rates actually decreased, a new study found.

Copyleaks, a Connecticut-based company that produces AI filters and digital writing tools, analyzed data from "tens of thousands” of high school, college and e-learning certification students across seven countries between January 2023 and January of this year. Released March 19, the study noted a 76 percent surge in how many papers and assignments scanned by Copyleaks' AI-detection software were found to contain AI-generated content, while the proportion found to contain plagiarism decreased by 51 percent during the 13-month period. However, plagiarism was still more common than AI-generated content on average in all but two of those seven countries, and neither the rate of GenAI use nor plagiarism exceeded 34 percent in any country.

“As the data highlights, students have gradually adopted generative AI over the past year; however, the data around plagiarism rates strikes me as most insightful,” Copyleaks CEO and co-founder Alon Yamin said in a public statement. “That’s why it remains an absolute necessity for academic institutions to adopt comprehensive solutions that can detect AI-generated content and plagiarism to ensure full transparency and maintain academic integrity.”

The research is based on schools in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, Myanmar and Philippines that use Copyleaks’ AI Content Detector and Plagiarism Detector tools. The eight-page study does not define plagiarism, and the guidelines for citing sources presumably vary across schools, districts and countries. One line graph in the study tracks the release dates of four generative AI tools — ChatGPT-4, Bard, GrammarlyGO and Claude 2 — the average rate of plagiarized content, finding an overall downward trend that doesn't precisely correspond to the availability of any of those tools.

Copyleaks’ research also found that most papers and assignments did not include detectable use of GenAI, even though the technology’s popularity had exploded in the past year. For all seven nations collectively, the study found the use of GenAI increased from 12 percent in January 2023 to 21 percent in January 2024. The rate of detected plagiarism based on the same number of papers and assignments examined by Copyleaks, meanwhile, decreased from 35 percent to 17 percent in that time.

According to the report, different countries were found to have different rates of AI-generated content and plagiarism from January 2023 to 2024:

  • United States — 17 percent (AI-generated content) and 30 percent (plagiarism)
  • Canada — 16 percent and 27 percent
  • United Kingdom — 10 percent and 33 percent
  • South Africa — 26 percent and 13 percent
  • Myanmar — 23 percent and 24 percent
  • Philippines — 19 percent and 30 percent
  • Australia — 31 percent and 19 percent
There were also notable differences in the use of GenAI and plagiarism at various educational levels. At the college level, the study reported use of AI-generated content and plagiarism around 18 percent and 28 percent, respectively. For e-learning certification students, those figures were 26 percent and 39 percent. And for high schoolers, it was 16 percent and 29 percent.

“As the data shows, AI and plagiarism began to coalesce somewhat in the latter half of the year, highlighting the importance of having insight into whether the content was human-written or AI-generated and where it originated from,” the report concludes.