Sunday, November 25, 2007

Gorbach on Merrill matter: a question of compassion?

Julien Gorbach in the columbiamissourian has a piece obliquely about the Merrill matter but more directly about "what to do" after plagiarism is identified, as can be seen from the title: Plagarism pits integrity, compassion against each other.

As to Merrill, Gorbach wrote at the end of his piece:

And now I’m faced with the story of Dr. Merrill. There’s a lot to debate and discuss here, obviously, about the importance of attribution, about where to draw lines, about taking care and responsibility, and other things. But what is clearest to me at the moment is the basic human dimension to this problem: namely our inherent frailty, which is, after all, just our mortality. And who can blame the guy, for whom it’s a battle at this point just to keep on going, for wanting to hang on to some semblance of pride after all these years?

As IPBiz has written, this event could have, and should have, been handled differently. HOWEVER, saying that quotes, taken by others, are in the public domain is not the correct approach. Writers who use quotes, taken by others, should verify the accuracy of the quotes, taken by others. PERIOD.

In passing, there is a sort of microcosm of the problem in the use by Sheppard of arguments made by Reavy, which separately reminds IPBiz of the use by Mark Lemley of the "transistor as hearing aid" saga proposed by someone other than Lemley (which separately was totally untrue). A story for another day.

IPBiz challenges Noel Sheppard on quote lifting and the Merrill matter


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