Plagiarism isn’t just for students

15 Dec

The Chronicle of Higher Education in an article entitled Four Academic Plagiarists You've Never Heard Of: How Many More Are Out There? comes to a sobering conclusion:

While this article delves into a few cases we uncovered, our reporting suggests that what we found is not exceptional. Indeed, an editor at History News Network receives so many tips about purported plagiarism that he now investigates only those involving well-known scholars. A professor at Texas A&M International University was bombarded with hundreds of e-mail messages after writing about being plagiarized. Many of them were from graduate students and professors who believed that they, too, had been victims.

In one of the rare surveys conducted about plagiarism, two University of Alabama economists this year asked 1,200 of their colleagues if they believed their work had ever been stolen. A startling 40 percent answered yes. While not a random sample, the responses still represent hundreds of cases of alleged plagiarism.

Very few of them will ever be dragged into the sunlight. That's because academe often discourages victims from seeking justice, and when they do, tends to ignore their complaints — a kind of scholarly "don't ask, don't tell" policy. "It's like cockroaches," says Peter Charles Hoffer, a University of Georgia historian and author of a recent book about academic fraud. "For every one you see on the kitchen floor, there are a hundred behind the stove."

Read the rest of the article if you want to see examples of how dishonest academics have become and how little recourse people have when their work is stolen.

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