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Articles for Discussion

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Faculty Resources > Teaching Material > Articles for Discussion


Articles for Discussing Plagiarism


Here is a list of articles that are useful in discussing the many sides and dimensions of plagiarism.  This is a more expanded list of articles than provided on the Teaching about Plagiarism page.



Focus on Who Owns Ideas

This feature article from The New Yorker by best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell tells the story of a playwrite who used a person's real life story without asking permission or even acknowledging the person as the basis of a play.  The article exams the question of who owns ideas in the arts.


 This feature article from Harper’s Magazine explores instances and issues of influence in the arts.


Focus on Accidental Plagiarism

A short piece written by presidential historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin, who addresses how she came to accidentally plagiarize and the steps she is now taking to make sure that doesn't happen again.


Focus on Honor 

A short editorial on that questions the whether plagiarism detection software, though successful in catching plagiarists, is missing the point. Boyton believes that the real issue is not how to catch plagiarists,  but adhering to the honor code established by institutes of higher learning.


Focus on Responsibility

  • Baty, Phil.  (May 28, 2004)  Plagiarist Student Set to Sue University. Times Higher

    Education Supplement. [Available through Lexis Nexis]

This short news piece presents the case of a college student who had plagiarized on papers throughout his college career but only got caught his last year.  The university decided not to grant the student a degree.  The student decided to sue the university charging that it was the university's responsible to better educate him on plagiarism. 


Focus on Cheating

The author of the book Cheating Culture talks to college students about how cheating has seeped into busines, sports, and academics.  Callahan identifies three forces driving the prevalence of today's proclivity for cheating: importance placed on money and winner, the national sense of fear and insecurity, and the ineffectiveness of organizations and agencies meant to stop such behavior.  He concludes by stating that academic integrity is worth fighting for and challenges students to follow the words of Gandhi and "Be the change you want to see in the world." 




Wikipedia, a marvel in demonstrating the power of social networking in buildling content  is not without its controversy.  Below are links to examples of the challenges presented with audience generated content


Nature versus Britannica over Wikipedia Accuracy

In 2005, an article was published in Nature that claimed that information found on Wikipedia was as accurate as the Encyclopedia Britannica.  Britannica printed a 20 page rebuttal on its corporate web site.  Nature responded with its own press release rebuttal.



This segment from a July 30, 2006 "Colbert Report" from Comedy Central brings a humorous look at the benefits and liabilites of audience generated content.





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