Saturday, January 02, 2016

New epidemic of plagiarism in Great Britain: Passing-off ghost-written work as one's own is plagiarism, plain and simple.

On 2 Jan 2016, The Times (London) had a story on student cheating in Great Britain that began

Almost 50,000 students at British universities have been caught cheating in the past three years amid fears of a plagiarism “epidemic” fuelled disproportionately by foreign students, The Times can reveal.

Students from outside the EU were more than four times as likely to cheat in exams and coursework, according to an investigation into academic misconduct based on more than 100 freedom of information requests.

The preferred form of cheating is to hire professional writers to prepare the work for the student:

Professor Geoffrey Alderman of the University of Buckingham told the paper: "What I'd call type-1 plagiarism, copying and pasting, is on the wane because it's so easy to detect.

"But my impression is that type-2 cheating, using a bespoke essay-writing service, is increasing."

Headline from The Sun related to the investigation by The Times:
Fears of plagiarism crisis as probe finds foreign university students 'cheats'
Those from outside EU more than four times more likely to be dishonest

As to so-called "type-2 cheating," recall a 2007 post on IPBiz which included the text:

Shelly Mar in the UNLV Rebel quotes one Andrew Schwartz of

“What we do is ghost writing – not plagiarism,” Schwartz said. “We are paid for the writing.”

Schwartz says customers request shorter assignments, between 6 and 7 pages, more frequently than longer assignments and dissertations. Most of the students using the website are third or fourth year college students, and science majors make up approximately 50 percent of their clientele. Business majors comprise 30 percent, social sciences make up 15 percent, and only 5 percent are other majors.

Long, long ago, during the plagiarism matter involving Laurence Tribe of the Harvard Law School, someone brought up the possibility that Tribe's book had been ghost-written, which was considered a far worse problem than the specific plagiarism matter at hand. This was based in part on the rather convoluted form of Tribe's apology, which never acknowledged that Tribe plagiarized and allowed for the fact that the ghost-writer was the one who plagiarized the work of the University of Virginia professor.

To the Schwartz matter, plagiarism is utilizing the words of another without giving credit to the other person (i.e., citing them). Passing-off ghost-written work as one's own is plagiarism, plain and simple. Under the copyright doctrine of "work-for-hire", it likely would NOT be copyright infringement, but as repeatedly noted on this blog and elsewhere, plagiarism and copyright infringement are two different things.


AND, yes, there is a New Jersey connection.

From the IPBiz post
Grassley continues inquiry into medical ghost-writing

Duff Wilson in the 12 Dec 08 issue of the New York Times reports on an inquiry of Senator Charles Grassley to Wyeth about possible ghost written articles appearing in medical journals:

letters, sent electronically Friday [Dec. 12] by Senator Charles E. Grassley, ask Wyeth and DesignWrite, a medical writing company [based in Princeton, NJ], to disclose payments related to the preparation of journal articles and the activities of doctors who were recruited to put their names on them for publication.

The letters explicity raise the issue of manipulation of the scientific literature:

“Any attempt to manipulate the scientific literature, that can in turn mislead doctors to prescribe drugs that may not work and/or cause harm to their patients, is very troubling,” Mr. Grassley, an Iowa Republican, wrote Friday to Wyeth’s chairman and chief executive, Bernard J. Poussot.

[One wonders if such ghost-written science articles have ever been used to support a patent application? That would be inequitable conduct.]

Also, fyi:

Ghost- and Guest-Authored Pharmaceutical Industry–Sponsored Studies: Abuse of Academic Integrity, the Peer Review System, and Public Trust
Ann Pharmacother July 2013 47: 1081-1083,


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