Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Generational attitudes on plagiarism

In a commentary titled Generation Plagiarism, SARAH WILENSKY writes in the Indiana Daily Student:

In a 300-level political science class, we spent nearly an entire day of lecture reviewing how to effectively write without any risk of being accused of plagiarism.

No professor would spend that amount of time nailing home what should be a completely assumed skill, unless her students had shown a desperate need for a review.

Of "a completely assumed skill," one recalls in the Glenn Poshard/SIU case, part of the defense was, that at the time of the Ph.D. thesis, there were not clear guidelines on citations.

The comments to the Wilensky piece had several references to Joe Biden's plagiarism in law school, including

Oh, as for Joe Biden. He's a successful guy, but also a known plagairist. I guess it didn't hurt him in his career all that much when all is said and done, but just the shame of knowing that everyone knows he was a cheater is a kind of punishment in itself. Its humiliating. So, bottom line: don't cheat. Ask for help if you need it or an extension on your assignment or whatever, but do honest work. And not just to avoid public humiliation or a trip to the dean's office, but also because, cheezy as it sounds, you can be proud of yourself when you do something honestly and the right way.


Clearly joan's hurt feewings should be directed at Vice President, Joe Biden-- who defended his law school plagiarism as "much ado about nothing" justified by no "malevolent" intent. /quod plagiari demonstrandum

Unintentional plagiarism was a theme in the Poshard matter.

Back in Syracuse Law School, Biden copied about five pages from a law review article, but thought it was all right. Poshard copied material into his Ph.D. thesis. Both of these matters happened a long time ago. The work of Helene Hegemann relates to a book. The difference in generational attitude is not so much that plagiarism happened but that Helene Hegemann is publicly saying it's ok.

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