Term paper mills were created by entrepreneurial companies hoping to make
money off college students. At one type of paper mill, the students pay a small
fee and gain access to papers listed on the website. The other type of paper
mill allows the student to upload their information, including type of
citations, page length, topics and any other specifications. A writer working
for the company will then write the paper and hand it off to the student.
Internet paper sites charge different amounts, depending on the time, length
and topic of the paper. For example, there are actually websites that write
thesis papers and dissertations for advanced college students. These papers can
sell for $100 or more, depending on the length. A regular college paper
typically sells for less money, and some sites offer specials for $20 on new
papers. Other websites charge by the page, usually around $5 per page. For a 10
page paper on any topic, they’ll charge $50.
Many of the websites claim that they’re used as a resource and not actually
selling a paper. They state that students should never use the paper as their
own work, but use it as a starting point to create their own work. They include
resources and citations that students can use for help with their own paper.
Once a student finds one of these websites, they can search for appropriate
papers already written on the subject or request a fresh paper to be written by
one of the authors on the website. The writer usually gets a specific amount of
time to complete the work and turn it over to the website owner. The owner
accepts the payment and sends a copy of the paper to the student’s email
Teachers have learned about these internet paper mills and learned ways to
detect if a student has turned in a copied or plagiarized paper. Some teachers
simply enter a phrase from the paper into a search engine and look for any
matches. Other teachers use anti-plagiarism tools to check the paper against
known papers. They’ll typically do this if they notice that the paper seems of a
different quality than what the student has turned in previously.
Coastal Carolina University's Internet Paper Mills gives a full listing of paper mills. They
also list Internet Subject Specific Paper Mills to show those sites that
cater to one major or area of study.
Professors and teachers are beginning to use some specific databases to
search for papers and articles in order to look for plagiarized materials. One
of these is InfoTrac, another is Pro Quest.
There are other resources for teachers to look at such as Internet Plagiarism: A Teacher‘s Combat Guide, Plagiarism Stoppers: A Teacher‘s Guide and Term
Paper Mills, Anti-Plagiarism Tools and Academic Integrity.
Students can help themselves by looking at Why Students
Should Avoid Term Paper Mills. Other helpful sites include Anti-Plagiarism
Strategies for Research Paper, Term Paper Mills, Plagiarism and Plagiarism and Ethics.