The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Fight back against outsourcing: plagiarism edition

June 10, 2006

A mutual friend sent my wife an email about The site claims to protect students against “fraudulent” mail-order foreign-operated academic paper services. These scam artists, claim the staff at, will either steal unsuspecting students’ money or send them papers “riddled with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes.” They note that:

Foreign sites like [omitted] hire poor, ESL writers in Pakistan for as little as .70¢ per page, which is how they can offer the low prices of $6.95–$15.00/pg that lure students into their traps. Qualified writers in America will not work for less than $12.00/pg, yet foreign scam sites like [omitted] charge customers only $9.95/pg. So, if the site gets $9.95/pg from a customer, that means the ESL writer gets less than $3.00/pg! Of course, foreign sites do not reveal these extremely crucial details. In fact, they blatantly lie about their location and qualifications. In contrast, American companies employ professional, native English-speaking writers for at least $12.00/pg, and typically charge students $17-$40/pg, depending on the due date.

I’ll forgive you if you think this is an attempt by American mail-order academic paper companies to deal with steep price competition from offshore operations.That’s what Hiram Hoover thought as well before an emailer from set him straight. As Hiram wrote:

An emailer from Essayfraud hotly rejects the implication that the firm has anything to do with plagiarism… Here’s the anti-plagiarism statement that Essayfraud wants you to see.

I’ll go one better and provide key excerpts for our readers:

The First Amendment guarantees all American citizens the right to free speech. We are free to think, speak, read, or write whatever we wish. That is what makes America the greatest country on Earth. However, there is a vast difference between conducting legitimate research and engaging in literary theft. condemns academic fraud and plagiarism in any form.
Consumers have the right to expect that the example, custom research and unique ideas for which they pay will not be plagiarized from a third party. […] We believe that legitimate research services in America have every right to compose sample research documents on all topics for students to reference and properly cite as secondary sources of information. There is nothing wrong with a student purchasing a sample research document, as long as that student properly cites quoted text within parentheses throughout the student’s own, original, personally-written paper, and lists the quoted sources in a bibliography.

Strong stuff. I’m glad to see that stands for the first-amendment rights of students everywhere to receive original pre-written papers and, after saying as much, reminds them that they should cite anything they purchase or risk engaging in “infractions.” But, in case you’re confused, the policy ends on this stirring indictment of paying someone else to write your paper offshore paper mills: condemns the grossly unqualified, foreign syndicates that deceptively pose as legitimate, American research companies in order to garner undue trust from unsuspecting, American consumers. These so-called “services” attract students with suspiciously low prices that are often 300% less than the prices of genuine, American companies. Such foreign outfits (based in countries like Pakistan and Ukraine) prey on budget-conscious students who are seeking unique ideas and example research content from professional, native English-speaking writers in America. The low-paid, ESL writers employed by foreign Web sites receive such little compensation that they do not hesitate to blatantly plagiarize, word-for-word, from published sources. After all, since neither the foreign outfits nor their writers are located in the United States, they do not respect American copyright laws or fear American prosecution.

I get all choked up when I think about all those academic-paper sweatshops. So much better to be chained to a loom or die from exhaustion while making Mardi Gras beads.

Cross posted at LGM.

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Daniel H. Nexon is a Professor at Georgetown University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service. His academic work focuses on international-relations theory, power politics, empires and hegemony, and international order. He has also written on the relationship between popular culture and world politics.