Kindle Forum banner
1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,104 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/jane-goodall-book-seeds-of-hope-contains-borrowed-passages-without-attribution/2013/03/19/448

From article above: Goodall joins a list of famous authors who have recently faced questions about material they included in their work. Often, the cause is speed and sloppiness in the research, sometimes performed by co-authors and abetted by technology that allows a writer to swiftly transfer passages from one place to another - and just as swiftly to forget it was done. An expert in botany invited by The Washington Post to review "Seeds of Hope" noticed some of the echoed passages, notified the editors and declined the assignment.
What do you think? Honest mistake?

I own a signed copy of one her books, now I'm curious to see if I find anything in that one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,628 Posts
It would be hard for me to say, as I haven't kept up with her work. I hope it was an honest mistake, and she owns up to it (and even if it was deliberate).

I always admired her for the work she did.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,665 Posts
Difficult to say whether this was a sloppy mistake or systematic plagiarism without a side by side comparison.

But the plagiarism epidemic is steadily growing. In Germany we've had a couple of very high profile cases, including two cabinet ministers, in the past few years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,546 Posts
I don't quite understand. Are they saying it is a regular practice to cut and paste material into the manuscript and change it enough not to resemble the source material?

I've never copy/pasted research into the manuscript. I read the material, find a way that I easily understand it, then adapt the knowledge to a segment of new writing. I don't quite see the "honest mistake" part. Maybe I'm just not familiar enough with the situation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,412 Posts
BrianKittrell said:
I don't quite understand. Are they saying it is a regular practice to cut and paste material into the manuscript and change it enough not to resemble the source material?

I've never copy/pasted research into the manuscript. I read the material, find a way that I easily understand it, then adapt the knowledge to a segment of new writing. I don't quite see the "honest mistake" part. Maybe I'm just not familiar enough with the situation.
I think they are saying that they cut and paste, intending to credit, but somebody forgets to actually put the footnote in.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,665 Posts
In academic writing, it's regular practice to cut and paste (or type it out, if you don't have an electronic copy of the text in question) a passage you want to quote, properly set it off from the regular text and then add a foot/endnote indicating the source of the quoted text.

Miller writes:

Quote whatever pertinent thing Miller has written.²

²Miller, John: Really great text, 215

It's possible to forget adding a footnote, though you should always recheck all footnotes during edits. If you repeatedly forget footnote or don't properly set off the quote from the rest of the text, then it goes beyond a simple mistake and delves into the realm of plagiarism.

The various cases of academic plagiarism involving German politicians were doctoral thesises clumsily patched together from texts "borrowed" from elsewhere without any attribution. Some of those thesises consisted of more than 50 percent plagiarised material. One particularly brazen guy plagiarised more than 80 percent of his thesis and used the tax payers' money to commission a study which he promptly plagiarised.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,243 Posts
BrianKittrell said:
I don't quite understand. Are they saying it is a regular practice to cut and paste material into the manuscript and change it enough not to resemble the source material?

I've never copy/pasted research into the manuscript. I read the material, find a way that I easily understand it, then adapt the knowledge to a segment of new writing. I don't quite see the "honest mistake" part. Maybe I'm just not familiar enough with the situation.
Your first point is exactly right, Brian. That's why I never buy these phony "honest mistake" defences. The only conceivable way you'd have very large chunks of unattributed text--i.e., more than say 4-8 lines--from others in your MS is that you missed a chunk during the process of cutting, pasting, and re-phrasing text from others--i.e., missing something during the process of plagarizing. I've written a dissertation, papers, and presentations, and I edit and research academic papers and monographs for a living. Not once have I ever seen a case where an author plunked large chunks of text from someone else into the monograph. Not once have I sent someone research with large chunks of text from someone else. Never.

Unless the academy--and maybe even the law--starts cracking down on these people, it'll get a lot worse before it gets better.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top