Screening for duplicate text in PhD thesis – University of Copenhagen

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Screening for duplicate text in PhD thesis

The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences screens all PhD theses for duplicate text after submission and prior to forwarding to assessment committees. If no duplicate text is identified, the screening takes a maximum of seven days. The Royal Library conducts the screening using the detection software iThenticate. It is not possible for PhD students to conduct this screening in advance.

Learn more about avoiding questionable writing practices

Overview of the screening process

Overview of the screening process

Distinction between plagiarism and self-plagiarism

  • Plagiarism is considered research misconduct
  • Self-plagiarism is regarded as questionable research practice.
Plagiarism is defined as the acquisition of ideas, processes, results, texts or specific concepts from others without the proper references and citations.

Self-plagiarism is categorised as the duplication of text without correct references from the PhD student’s own work. This includes master theses as well as published articles and manuscripts for which the PhD student is an author or co-author.

Consequences when duplicate text is found


When plagiarism is suspected in a PhD thesis, the University of Copenhagen Practice Committee and the Danish Committee on Research Misconduct investigate the scope and nature of the duplicate text.

The ruling from the Danish Committee on Research Misconduct must be presented before the thesis is submitted for assessment. If the Committee finds the duplicate text to be plagiarism, the thesis is rejected with no further opportunity for revision.


In most cases of suspected self-plagiarism, the PhD student and their principal supervisor are summoned for a meeting at the Graduate School to discuss revisions of the thesis before it is submitted for assessment. The Practice Committee may also investigate the matter.

PhD theses are considered research products

As per 1 July 2017, PhD theses are covered by the Danish Act on Research Misconduct. PhD students are responsible for the content of their thesis. The principal supervisor is expected to advise the PhD student on Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). Information about RCR at the faculty is available on the SUND website. 

For questions on text duplication, please speak to your principal supervisor. For additional guidance, contact the Graduate School.

Danish Act on Research Misconduct (in Danish).

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