Thursday, March 05, 2009

Plagiarism at UMichigan

An editorial at "the Michigan Daily" (University of Michigan) contains the text:

Written by a senior news editor, this piece [In Other Ivory Towers] plagiarized an article from The Diamondback (Teleportation: Information? Yes. People? No., 01/30/2009), a blog post from The Chronicle of Higher Education (Freshman Retention Continues to Decline, Report Says, 01/22/2009) and an article from The Chronicle of Higher Education (2 Universities' Plagiarism Policies Look a Lot Alike, 01/28/2009). By nature, this feature is a compilation of news from sources across the country. While this particular piece cited these three sources, it inappropriately took complete sentences and phrases verbatim from them without using quotes. This implied the material was paraphrased when, in fact, it was not.

The rather harsh result to this "senior news editor" (resignation) evokes the Merrill incident at the University of Missouri. In contrast, one has the Poshard matter at SIU, wherein Poshard used many complete sentences from other sources verbatim without footnoting (see especially page 52) in the context of a Ph.D. thesis (supposedly an original work) in distinction from the news compilation referenced at Michigan.

Ironically, the Michigan piece included mention of 2 Universities' Plagiarism Policies Look a Lot Alike, 01/28/2009, which is of course about SIU's copying the plagiarism definition of Indiana University in a report on plagiarism triggered by the Poshard plagiarism incident. Officials at SIU had found that Poshard's plagiarism was inadvertent, a concept not mentioned in the Michigan editorial.

The Michigan editorial includes the text:

Though this is a relatively isolated incident, in the coming weeks and months, we plan to use it as an opportunity to improve our safeguards against plagiarism and our commitment to ethical journalism. We will be providing readers with updates about these efforts, which will include more thorough plagiarism checks, mandatory training and technological safeguards. These updates will appear on our blog The Editor’s Page, which can be found at


Blogger Unknown said...

I bet the University of Michigan student journalist now wishes he had enrolled at SIU. They probably would have made him an administrator.

10:04 AM  

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