From the issue dated December 17, 2004
Plagiarism is the gravest sin in the academy -- or so we have been
told. Stealing someone else's words and passing them off as your own is
the lowest of the low in a realm where scholarship is king.
But when the conversation turns to individual cases, the room falls
strangely silent. The same professors who constantly bemoan their
students' lax attitudes toward plagiarism often clam up when it is
their colleagues doing the copying. Journal editors, department
chairmen, and association leaders likewise become skittish, fearing
lawsuits and bad publicity.
In this special report, The Chronicle examines academic plagiarism
-- not the kind that procrastinating, lazy students engage in late
at night, but the kind that professionals who know better attempt in
order to further their careers.
Lazy students are not the only ones guilty of plagiarizing. We found
four scholars who copied the work of others without giving credit. How
many more plagiarists are out there?
A biology professor published his graduate student's words as his own.
Is that wrong?
WHO'S TO JUDGE?
The responsibility for punishing plagiarism falls to any of a number of
entities, few of which ever take action.
Return to Writing
- DEFINING THE TERM: Just
what qualifies as "plagiarism"?
- FROM 'I'M SORRY' TO 'I'M SUING':
When six scholars were caught plagiarizing in separate cases over the
years, the outcomes ranged from apologies to lawsuits.
- CHOOSING A CIRCLE OF HELL:
Institutions and groups that uncover plagiarism among their own have
various options for punishing the offenders.
- THE SCARLET P: After scholars are
found to have lifted someone else's work, how long before their "debt"
to academe is considered paid?
- HOT TYPE: University-press officials
generally agree that plagiarism is usually careless, not conscious, and
best dealt with quietly.