Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Another college newspaper writer fired for plagiarism

If you publish a plagiarized article in a college newspaper, odds are you will be fired immediately when the plagiarism is discovered. However, if you work at CBS or at the Harvard Law School, your chances are survival are much greater.

From the article: "The DP [Daily Pennsylvanian] does not tolerate plagiarism in any form..."

One notes that "success in the marketplace" is not a mitigating factor for plagiarism in the college newspaper business. Being a "good" plagiarist is not a defense.

See also Bad Patents, or Bad Copyists?

In a quirky followup to the University of Pennsylvania plagiarism matter, David Ryan at West Virginia University noted: The Daily Athenaeum ran a guest editorial by University of Pennsylvania student Jamie France titled "A survival guide for the college all-nighter."

The WVU newspaper used a service called "copyboy" to identify and to obtain the UP article: We ran the column from Copyboy, a service that features editor-submitted material from student newspapers across the country. It was funny, it was informative, and as Opinion Editor, I thought it might be worth a read.

And, of course, it was plagiarized. Ryan at WVU ended his piece with the words: We apologize for the running of this piece, and stress that we at the DA take the matter of plagiarism very seriously. Couric of course used the words of her producer, which had been plagiarized from the Wall Street Journal, but never said anything about plagiarism. Thus, when Ryan at WVU also wrote: it is unthinkable that anyone who had any respect for the trade would be tempted into passing off the work of others as their own, especially in editorials, IPBiz can only say YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING!

In a separate, but not unrelated, matter, the article by Terri Somers which was published in the San Diego Union Tribune under the title Embryonic stem cell pioneer chose to publish, not patent was RE-PUBLISHED in The Paramus Post under the title Embryonic stem cell pioneer chose to publish, not patent. It's been up at The Paramus Post for a while but carries the dateline: By Terri Somers Monday, April 30 2007, 01:09 AM EDT Views: 28. Curiously, The Paramus Post piece does not cite, or otherwise reference, the previous article in the San Diego Union Tribune. Now, this case is similar to the WVU matter in that one publication (The Paramus Post) used material in a different publication (San Diego Union Tribune) but it is (presumably) different from the WVU matter in that there is no mention of the PRIOR publication ie, the Union Tribune article) within the LATER publication (the Paramus Post). Within BOTH the Union Tribune and Post stories is the line Thomson declined to be interviewed for this story. but one wonders WHICH story is "this" story?

Further, both stories include the text: "But Thomson's work was an advance, not an invention," said Loring, summing up the core argument of the patent challenge.

"Thomson made a very important contribution to science," said John Simpson of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights. "It just wasn't something that was patentable."

with the omission of the fact that Loring had a 1998 patent application with a broader claim to embryonic stem cells than found in any patent of Thomson.

The current posting on The Paramus Post website
makes NO mention of the use of any wire service used for the story OR the fact that had been previously published. This is clearly "duplicate publication" of the type discussed in the Cha matter involving Fertility & Sterility. But once again one asks, can there be self-plagiarism?


Blogger Lawrence B. Ebert said...

An August 2007 post on regrettheerror suggests that self-plagiarism is possible:

a reporter for the Explorer, weekly paper in Arizona, was fired after he/she was found to have taken a story written for a journalism class and, with a few minor updates, passed it off as new work. Aside from the dishonesty, one of the problems was that the piece was outdated and therefore contained inaccurate information.

This is separately relevant to the recent IPBiz posting about Aharonian on patenting movie scripts, for which a later ZDNet posting was outdated, in not discussing the presence of an article in JPTOS and a published patent application, all on patenting movie scripts/storylines.

6:30 AM  

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