Plagiarism in the news this week will begin abroad. The website Bella Naija says that four academic staff from the University of Calabar (Nigeria) have been dismissed because of plagiarism. Vietnamnet.vn has an article discussing how plagiarism is rampant in non-fiction textbook publications in Vietnam. Many university-level textbooks contain plagiarized text. It is not uncommon for the same book to be published repeatedly with different covers and different authors. Not only does this mean fewer actual resources for students, but less money in royalties for the true authors of the textbooks.
In news from the U.S., the Montana school district Florence-Carlton has been dealing with a plagiarism scandal surrounding its superintendent John McGee who was caught plagiarizing an article for the school’s monthly newsletter. McGee used an article written by a school administrator in Georgia, changed the school name as needed, and published the article under his own name. The school board had considered the incident over after McGee complied with their request to write a correction in the newsletter and to write an apology to the original author. However, members of the community are calling for further action and the school board has responded by setting a date for a special meeting to hear the public’s complaints against McGee. According to the Ravalli Republic, an anonymous blogger in the community has found further incidents of plagiarism. These are all similar incidents in which McGee published newsletter articles under his own name when in fact they were taken from other sources on the Internet.
On March 8th, Science Insider published an article about the growing number of plagiarism incidents among National Science Foundation (NSF) grant winners. The federal agency’s independent, internal watchdog group used plagiarism detection software on the entire portfolio of approximately 8000 awards grated in the 2011 fiscal year. They discovered nearly 100 cases of suspected plagiarism. Science Careers says that James Kroll, head of administrative investigations in the Inspector General’s office stated in an e-mail message to Science Careers that the cases of plagiarism that have been discovered are not self-plagiarism. NSF director Subra Suresh told Science Insider “… it’s very important to train everybody [on the responsible conduct of research], especially young people, to the fullest extent possible with the resources that we have, do we can bring that rate down.”
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