Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Plagiarize Your Way to a Career!

Thomas Bartlett and Scott Smallwood, two writers at the Chronicle of Higher Education, are up for a prestigious journalism prize, largely on the strength of their reporting on plagiarism in the academy. Of their multi-part series, I was most struck by this piece on scholars who have made plagiarism a habit and a means to career advancement.

Having spent hundreds and hundreds of hours poring over my primary and seconary sources to avoid even the hint of "copying," and spending even more time getting the footnotes exactly right, this kind of stuff nearly makes me ill. And yet, it's also to be fully expected. In as hypercompetitive an environment as the modern academy, with so many worthy candidates vying for so few decent jobs, it's practically inevitable that some (many?!?) will take the time- and energy-saving step of simply stealing others' work. What's really shocking is how few and minor are the effects of getting caught: the four profiled plagiarists all have decent academic jobs, unlike many scholars I know who have never plagiarized.


Post a Comment

<< Home