Monday, July 19, 2010

Times commentary on plagiarism

The New York Times presented some letters in response to the earlier "editorial observer" piece on student plagiarism, titled “Cutting and Pasting: A Senior Thesis by (Insert Name)."

The first, by one Michael Hadjiargyrou , seemed to say "it's not that bad" [ Yes, plagiarism is a problem, but at least in my experience, it is not as pervasive as Mr. Staples suggests. ]

The second, by a student, seemed to negate an opinion piece in the Boston Globe, which had followed Staples' "editorial observer" piece and which had suggested students need instruction on plagiarism:

As a rising senior in a New York high school, I can certainly attest to the high incidence of plagiarism by students — but they are under no illusion about the nature of their actions. When we plagiarize, we understand that we are cheating, and we understand that phrases lifted from the Internet are not original writing; we merely hope to get away with passing them off as such.

Thus, I am perplexed by speculation that students unwittingly plagiarize, caught in a 21st-century universe where term papers represent only a mosaic of excerpts. If educators truly wish to stem the tide of plagiarism, they must stop concocting such bizarre excuses and start holding students responsible for their actions.

**In passing, Hadjiargyrou wrote another letter to the Times back in 2001:

David J. Anderson, in arguing for federal financing of stem cell research, mentions that as the solutions to getting embryonic stem cells to differentiate are delayed, ''people will die who might otherwise have been saved.''

I would add that this type of work will undoubtedly generate a wealth of data about the inner workings of mammalian cells.

In the many years since, embryonic stem cell research didn't generate "a wealth of data." Moreover, it didn't develop treatments such that "people were otherwise saved.'' Federal support of stem cell research was allowed on a set of certain lines in the US, and people, with their own money, were free to do such research in the US and elsewhere.

Meanwhile, one can look at the muddle of funding issues at California's CIRM:

Sticky, Troubling Appeals by Rejected Researchers Targeted by Stem Cell Agency

**On the earlier Times article:

**Boston Globe piece:

**RE: ''The Alchemy of Stem Cell Research'' (Op-Ed, July 15, 2001):


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