Edward Waters College loses accreditation

The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools voted to drop Edward Waters from membership two months after the college "acknowledged that it had plagiarized material from another college in a document crucial for its reaccreditation bid."

Plagiarism on the rise?

During a conference at the University of Washington in November, Donald McCabe announced survey results in which 38% percent of undergraduates admitted to engaging in "cut-and-paste Internet plagiarism in the past year. This is a considerable increase from the 10 percent who admitted to this same act in a similar study two years earlier."

Barnard opts for Turnitin

Barnard College signs on for a one-year trial subscription to the plagiarism detection service, Turnitin.com.

Increase in pursuing plagiarism

Commenting on plagiarism at Michigan State, University ombudsman Stan Soffin claims that "in the past few years he hasn't seen an increase in plagiarism, but an increase in professors choosing to punish students. 'Faculty members, I believe, are more inclined to pursue students who have cheated than they were several years ago.'"

Plagiarism and the law revisited

Plagiarism is increasingly being included in legal actions. Besides being invoked in a recent government suit against the Tobacco industry, EMediaWire reports: Brayton Purcell, a respected plaintiff law firm based in Novato, California, filed a lawsuit for copyright infringement when it discovered large portions of its popular web site, Elder Abuse Information (http://www.elder-abuse-information.com), posted on another law firm's web site.

Managed books

Recent admissions of inadvertent plagiarism by two prominent Harvard law professors, Charles Ogletree and Laurence Tribe, have drawn attention to a largely undiscussed aspect of plagiarism -- "the phenomenon of managed books . . . in which some academics rely on assistants to help produce books, in some cases allowing the assistants to write first drafts." See "Harvard in a Quandary" for further details.

Google Scholar

Google's new service, Google Scholar, allows users to search "scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from all broad areas of research." Concerns about it's possible misuse have already begun to appear.

"Yo, professor. Cantcha read?"

In a complaint directed at Peter Charles Hoffer, professor of history at the University of Georgia, B Timothy Noah identifies one way that plagiarism creeps into a scholar's research: "inaccuracy due to laziness."

"Plagiarism: a misplaced emphasis"

According to Brian Martin, plagiarism is conventionally seen as a serious breach of scholarly ethics, being a theft of credit for ideas in a competitive intellectual marketplace. This emphasis overlooks the vast amount of institutionalized plagiarism, including ghostwriting and attribution of authorship to bureaucratic elites. There is a case for reducing the stigma for competitive plagiarism while exposing and challenging the institutionalized varieties.

"A plagiarism on them all"

Simon Caterson provides a thoughtful survey of the ubiquity of plagiarism in academic, literary, and popular cultures. He notes: We are living in what the American writer Hillel Schwartz has dubbed 'the culture of the copy', where virtually nothing in everyday life in the West is absolutely unique. As Schwartz dryly observes: 'Of plagiarism, little new can be written.'