Paper deletions

About Paper Deletions

Now available for all - The content on this page is applicable for all users in all regions.

There are two types of deletions in Turnitin. Removing a paper from the Inbox and requesting a permanent deletion. Both of these deletion types start with your Instructors trying to delete a file.

We only support self-serve deletion requests for assignments created using,, Blackboard Basic, or LTI.

Managing deletion requests

Before reviewing the deletion request, it is important to understand what will be removed if you approve the request.

  • The uploaded file will be deleted and no longer accessible.

  • Any associated grading will be removed.

  • The Similarity Report will be deleted and the paper will no longer appear in future similarity matches.

  • After 30 days have passed, this process can’t be reversed by anyone.

    This process will not automatically remove a match from a previously generated similarity report. To remove these matches, Instructors will need to regenerate the report after their request has been approved.

  1. Select the Account Name for the institution you have received the request from.

    Paper Deletions happen at the sub-account level. Requests are sent to the administrator or sub-administrator for that account.

  2. From the account summary page, select the Deletion Requests tab.

  3. On the Deletion Request homepage you can find information about all of the requests that have been made for your institution. Each request is shown along with a reason for the deletion that the instructor has selected to help you contextualize the request. Spend sometime reviewing the requests before proceeding.

  4. Use the check boxes from beside the Author column to select any papers you would like to approve for deletion or you want to reject. You can select multiple requests at once for approval but rejections must be done one-by-one.

  5. Your next steps will be a little different based on your choice.

    1. If you choose to reject the request, select the Reject Request button once you've selected the check boxes from the table. You'll be asked to give a reason for your rejection. This is an optional step, but can help instructors understand why their request was rejected.

    2. Ready to approve the request? Select any files that you'd like to delete, and use the Delete from Database button. You'll be shown a series of screens that will help you to confirm you have the correct papers selected.

      If everything looks good, type the word DELETE into the provided check box to proceed and then select the Confirm button to complete the process.

      The DELETE confirmation step in localized interfaces will use the localized version of the word.

  6. You're all done! Confirmation of the deletion will be sent to the instructor who requested it. Made a mistake? You can recover the paper up to 30 days after your approval. After 30 days have passed, you or Turnitin are unable to recover the paper under any circumstance.

Recovering a paper

We get it, sometimes mistakes are made. When a paper deletion request is made, we give a 30-day grace period just against this scenario happening. During the 30-day window, no one at Turnitin can access any of that data. For all intents and purposes, it is as if the file never existed on our servers. However, we keep just enough track of the data so that the files can be recovered at your direction. Once the period has passed, the file is fully wiped and no longer exists in our database at all.

  1. Select the Account Name for the institution you would like to recover the paper for.

  2. From the account summary page, select the Deletion Requests tab.

  3. From the NOW VIEWING drop-down, select Recoverable.

  4. Use the check boxes to select a paper you would like to recover. You can only select one paper at a time.

  5. Select the Recover Paper button.

    The latest submission for an assignment is always the primary submission. You will be unable to recover papers that have already been replaced by a newer submission.

  6. As easy as that! The instructor should find the paper appear back in the Assignment Inbox soon.

Enabling Paper Deletions

By default, paper deletions are enabled for all institutions, but we realize that not every institution is able to manage the extra overhead from such requests or like to introduce features at your own pace. You can remove the ability to make a permanent deletion request at any time from your Institution's Turnitin account settings.

Paper Deletions happen at the sub-account level. Switching it off for a parent account won't disable it for any children accounts.

Once live for your geography or access path, this is the only way to make a paper deletion request going forwards, bringing the control entirely within your school. You won't have to contact Turnitin manually except in the most exceptional of circumstances.

One way of managing requests could be to designate a specific period of time during your academic calendar when permanent deletion requests will be allowed.

  1. From the Administrator homepage, select the 'gear' Edit icon for the account you'd like to change, and choose Edit account settings.

  2. Find the Allow these features section. Use the check box to deselect Paper deletion requests.

    Instructors will still be able to remove papers from the Assignment Inbox like they have always been able to.

  3. Next, find the Paper Deletion information section. From here you will be able to decide whether you would like the paper deletion requests to be sent directly to the account administrator's email, or whether you would like to designate a different email to receive requests.

    Only the account administrator can approve or reject a paper deletion request. Designating an email address will not allow that user to review requests and is simply to aid visibility within your institution.

    Care should be taken to only designate an address that meets the data privacy requirements of your institution, as emails may contain personal information as a part of the request.

  4. Move to the bottom of the page, and select the Submit button to confirm your choice.

  5. You're all done! Don't forget you can re-enable the feature at anytime.


Can other integrations use Paper Deletions?

Due to how most LMS make integration paths available, we can only support this workflow via, Blackboard Basic, and LTI at this time.

Why can't students request for a paper to be deleted?

As a data processor, Turnitin can't decide how to handle data destruction without instruction from the Data Controller (your institution). Depending on your institutional policy, rights of a paper may lie with the student or with the institution. As we make a processing agreement with your institution, we need confirmation that a request is appropriate before we can process it.

Many of the Instructors who use Turnitin prefer students to approach them in the first instance too, so they can have a meaningful discussion with the student about why the paper needs to be deleted.

What happens to the paper once a request has been sent?

The paper will be moved to the 'Pending Requests' view within the Assignment Inbox. If instructors use the All Papers view, an icon will be shown to indicate the paper is pending deletion.

Nothing will happen to the paper itself until you, the Turnitin Administrator, has approved the request. If Turnitin finds any matches to the paper before you have approved the request, the paper will still show in Similarity Reports.

We'd recommend instructors to not add any further grading to a paper that has been requested for deletion. Any associated grading will also be deleted along with the paper.

I've approved the request. What happens now?

  1. The paper will no longer appear in any new Similarity Reports.

  2. It vanishes from the Assignment Inbox.

  3. Any associated grading is also deleted.

  4. If you regenerate a Similarity Report for a submission where this paper matched, it will no longer appear within that report.

  5. A 30-day grace period starts where you can still recover a paper if it was deleted accidentally. Once this period has passed, it can’t be recovered in any circumstance. During this window, the paper won't appear in any new Similarity Reports.

Whoops. I made a mistake. Can I get the paper back?

Yes! Papers essentially enter an 'unreachable' state for a period of 30 days. During the 30-day window, the Turnitin Administrator can recover the paper. Once recovered, it will appear as if the request had never been made in the first place.

Once recovered, a paper cannot be requested for deletion a second time. In this rare event, you, the Turnitin Administrator, must contact Turnitin Support on their behalf.

When is the paper permanently deleted from Turnitin?

We give a grace window of 30 days in which administrators can recover a paper that may have been accidentally deleted. After 30 days have passed, the paper cannot be recovered under any circumstances by you or by Turnitin.

Can administrators disable the paper deletion functionality?

Yes. We recognize that not every institution has the capacity to manage requests all of the time, or like to introduce new features to Instructors at your own pace. You can disable the functionality at any time. We'd recommend designating a specific period of time during your academic calendar when permanent deletion requests will be allowed and you can be responsive to them.

Can we manually request deletions by contacting Turnitin support?

No. Once live for your geography or access path, this is the only way to make a paper deletion request going forwards, bringing the control entirely within your school. You won't have to contact Turnitin manually except in the most exceptional of circumstances. Users of unsupported integrations can continue to use the manual process.

If you are unable to manage paper deletion requests coming into your institution regularly, we'd recommend designating a specific period of time during your academic calendar when permanent deletion requests will be allowed and you can be responsive to them.

Can instructors request more than one paper deletion at a time?

Paper deletions can only be requested on a paper-by-paper basis, and each instructor may submit a maximum of 50 requests per hour. The feature was intentionally designed this way to reduce user concerns about people misusing the system, to encourage extra care to be taken with each deletion request to prevent mistakes, and prompt instructors to review their assignment settings.

Couldn’t instructors delete papers previously?

Deleting from the inbox simply removes it from view. Instructors would then have to contact their Turnitin Administrator, who would contact Turnitin Support to actually remove a paper. The option to remove the paper only from view still exists, but is now more descriptive of what it actually does — ‘Remove from Inbox’.

An instructor removed a paper from the Inbox when they actually wanted it to be deleted. Can it be recovered?

Contact Turnitin support and they will be happy to help. The more information you can provide, such as a class name, student's name, assignment title, paper ID etc, the quicker the process will be. Once recovered to the inbox, the instructor can then make a permanent deletion request.

Are administrators/instructors notified about any changes to their request?

Administrators receive an email and in-product notification via the ‘Messages’ inbox for every request.

Instructors receive an in-product notification to confirm their request has been sent to the Administrator, and another to inform them if it has been approved or rejected.

What happens if I reject a request?

If a request is rejected, instructors will receive an in-product message informing them. You can also send a reason to contextualize why you rejected the request as a part of this message. After a rejection, instructors are unable to make any further paper deletion requests for that specific paper.

In the rare event that you mistakenly reject a paper, you will need to contact the Turnitin Support team to manually request a deletion.

Can papers submitted via Quick Submit be requested for deletion?

Yes. As of our release on May 25th, 2022, papers checked with Quick Submit can also be requested for permanent deletion from within the Quick Submit inbox.

Can this be used for GDPR requests?

No. As a user's personally identifiable information may be spread across multiple assignments, classes, and even accounts, we would want to ensure that due care is taken with each request. You can contact with any questions.