For those of you who are considering buying a custom-written research paper online, one of the more pressing questions in your mind is likely: will I be committing plagiarism if I decide to purchase this paper? Will I get into trouble if my purchase is discovered? Given all of the recent publicity regarding the academic writing industry that has been sparked by the inquests of the UK government, as well as some of your own professor’s admonitions to avoid such services or face the consequences, this is a perfectly natural apprehension on your part. In this post, I will do my best to answer these questions and to offer potential strategies by which you can protect yourself if you face such accusations.

Prior to dissecting the legalities and philosophical questions inherent in this dilemma, please first allow me to introduce myself and demonstrate my qualifications to properly answer this question. I am a former professor of Latin American and Caribbean History, and since that thankless and miserably underpaid year, I recreated myself into a full time academic writing professional. I have been working in this field for over three years now, and am uniquely qualified to answer this question.

A cartoon teacher in front of blackboard that says, "Welcome Class."

This is me in my dark, depressing days as a professor, when I couldn’t afford a decent dress and compensated by torturing my students with essay assignments about Aztec sacrifices and the Treaty of Tordesillas.

To provide a succinct answer to the above stated question, the answer is an unequivocal “no.” If we are to read the question literally, the act of buying a paper online at a site such as Jittery Monks does not, in and of itself, constitute plagiarism. In fact, there is nothing in United States Federal law, nor in any state law, that prevents you from commissioning a work of academic writing (or any other type of writing, for that manner) and paying for this service. That being stated, all universities and colleges have their own, internal codes of conduct that may well prohibit students from purchasing papers online.

In my own experience in academia, I observed that one of the stranger aspects of the university system is that each individual college and university seems to become a legal entity unto itself, and can create its own legislation and codes which it is then responsible for enforcing—very similar to a Native American reservation in the United States. Further, individual professors are typically provided with a great deal of latitude in the creation of their course syllabi, and they often include a very detailed description of what they consider to be “plagiarism.” Thus, I would highly recommend that you thoroughly review your own university/college code of conduct, as well as the syllabus provided by your professor, so that you can be properly informed of the attitudes of all third parties who may be involved in the possible reading and assessment of an academic paper that is purchased from the Jittery Monks website.

A dean standing at a podium, wearing a flamboyant hat

A university dean. This is the guy who decides what is “plagiarism” and what is not.

All this being said, one should also closely read the disclaimer that is included in the “Terms of Service” provided by the Jittery Monks: “The essays, research papers, dissertations, capstones, computer programs, coursework, and other services provided by the Jittery Monks are intended to be used exclusively as reference materials, study materials, and/or as examples. The Jittery Monks do not condone the use of any services for any other purposes” (Jittery Monks, 2017). Ultimately, the brief answer to the question of “Is buying a paper online plagiarism?”is “no.” The simple act of purchasing a paper does not, in and of itself, constitute plagiarism. What determines “plagiarism” (or the lack thereof) is what you, the customer, decide to do with the paper once the transaction has been completed. To further probe this issue, let us examine a definition of “plagiarism.”

Plagiarism: Some Terminology and Definitions

Prior to expounding on this very important question, let us first examine how major universities in the United States define plagiarism. According to the Indiana University School of Education, “Plagiarism is defined as presenting someone else’s work, including the work of other students, as one’s own. Any ideas or materials taken from another source for either written or oral use must be fully acknowledged, unless the information is common knowledge. What is considered “common knowledge” may differ from course to course” (Indiana University, 2014). While this definition of “plagiarism” is specific to Indiana University, it is a definition that is generally universal across all accredited (and unaccredited) institutions of higher education.

Extrapolating from this basic definition of “plagiarism,” it is thus clear that simply buying a paper online does not, in and of itself, constitute plagiarism. However, if you the valued customer were to willingly violate the Terms of Service that have been established by Jittery Monks, and turn in your custom-written paper as your own work, you are then engaging in the act of plagiarism. Turning in academic work that has been written by another person, even if you have paid for it, without acknowledging this fact or properly crediting it, does place you in extreme danger of this accusation.

That being stated, those of us who are employed in the academic writing industry and the illustrious management at Jittery Monks, are not naïve individuals. We do recognize that many customers will decide to take the risk of liability upon themselves, and submit these papers as their own work. Speaking as both a current academic writing professional, and as a former professor, I must say that I cannot blame the customers of Jittery Monks for failing to resist this temptation! After all, when one beholds a beautifully written, thoroughly researched, and properly cited paper (such as those that are produced by the expert writers at Jittery Monks), it surely must seem completely blasphemous to even attempt to sully such a pristine work of writing or disrupt such precise argumentation in an attempt to circumvent what are often antiquated and arbitrary rules of academic conduct. However, do be aware that you, the new owner of this fine piece of academic research, are running the major risk of running afoul of the codes of conduct that have been established by your professor and university.

What If I Decide to Take a Chance?

Now, I am in no position to advocate that you willingly violate the Terms of Service that have been established by Jittery Monks, nor am I in any position to prevent you from doing so. If you go ahead an decide to submit the fine piece of scholarship that you receive from Jittery Monks as your own work without properly crediting it, there are some things you should know. First, while submitting a custom-written paper as your own work does, technically, count as “plagiarism,” the onus then falls upon your professor and/or university to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed this deed. At present, the only manner of plagiarism detection that all educators have at their disposal is plagiarism detection software such as “Turnitin.” Turnitin (and similar plagiarism detection software programs) basically compare the paper you have submitted against their database, which typically contains tens to hundreds of thousands of student papers that have been previously submitted.

If a paper has been custom written, it obviously will not match any work that has been submitted previously by anyone, anywhere. For this reason, if you decide that you want to take a chance and submit a custom-written academic paper as your own work, be forewarned that you need to be exceptionally cautious as to the academic writing company that you select to provide this service. The academic writing industry is completely self-regulated; as such, there are many unscrupulous companies and individual writers who have no qualms about selling you a paper that has been written previously (and, probably, submitted previously) as a completely new paper. Thus, if you trust the wrong writing company, you may find yourself with a very unpleasant surprise a few weeks down the line: a notice from your university Dean that the student honor council has taken it upon themselves to hold a hearing accusing you of violating the student code of conduct by committing the terrible, terrible deed of plagiarism.

However, when you select Jittery Monks as your academic writing service provider, and buy a paper online, you can rest assured that you will never, ever run the risk of being accused of plagiarism. To directly quote the Jittery Monks website, “Our studious monks never take shortcuts. Each order is written from scratch based on your custom instructions. By request, the Jittery Monks team can provide you with a report verifying that your work will pass a plagiarism scan. If you want to cheat Turnitin, you’re in the right place!” (Jittery Monks, 2017). So, if you decide to go ahead and buy a paper online in order to submit it as your own work, you would be well advised to avail yourself of the trustworthy and honest writing services that are provided by Jittery Monks. Once again, Jittery Monks does not condone the improper use of their materials whatsoever; however, they are what they say they are: jittery monks. They are not policemen, so once the transaction is closed, there is not much anyone can do about it if you decide to violate their Terms of Service.

Reflections Upon Plagiarism by a Former Professor

To conclude this meditation on the question of whether buying an online paper constitutes plagiarism, I will end with a personal anecdote from my dark days of professorship. During one fine Fall semester, I taught a large (more than 200 students) survey course on Colonial Latin American history at the flagship campus of a state university system in the Southeast.

In this course, I hammered my students with various forms of assessment, including in-class examinations which consisted of an “on the spot” essay question, as well as several out of class essays. After the first examination, one student (whom I will refer to as “Billy Bob”) stood out in particular to me, precisely because his in-class essays were extremely horrible. Billy Bob’s writing was incoherent, filled with sentence fragments and misspelled words, and it was abundantly clear that he had very limited comprehension of any of the lecture material or assigned readings. Billy Bob was very well behaved, though, so I was nice and gave him a “C-,” which was extremely generous. However, I secretly wondered at the integrity of a university system that would admit such an obviously intellectually challenged student and charge him thousands of dollars per semester to listen to lectures about the Catholic Church and their evangelization efforts towards the Nahua (Aztec) people in sixteenth century Mexico (but, that is a matter for another post).

An unintelligent man

“Billy Bob” after receiving an A+ on a paper that he bought online.

Thus, when I received the first round of out-of-class essays for grading, I paid special attention to Billy Bob’s essay, thinking it would provide fodder for a good chuckle. Much to my surprise, Billy Bob’s arguments regarding religious syncretism and transculturation in early modern Spanish America were well articulated and sublime; at some points, I felt as though I was engaging with an academic colleague (he must have purchased the paper from Jittery Monks!). Of course, I was immediately suspicious, but decided to give Billy Bob the benefit of the doubt, and figured test jitters must have gotten the best of him. However, when I gave the second in-class essay, Billy Bob once again came across like the main character from the film “Switch Blade” and the out-of-class essay he submitted a week later was inexplicably brilliant.

Now, I knew something was up. I immediately scanned the suspicious essay through turnitin.com, which revealed that the paper was original and unique. I then approached my boss, the Head of the Department of History at this university, and showed him both the in-class essay and the superb out-of-class essay. The Department Head agreed that Billy Bob was probably not the author of the latter paper, but simply shrugged his shoulders and said, “Billy Bob probably bought this paper from an academic writing service. If so, there is nothing we can do about it.” At this point, I experienced a personal breakthrough. As a professor, I did consider this paper to be “plagiarized,” yet I also realized I had come across a potential new career path. Thank you, Billy Bob!

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