Sunday, November 4, 2007


Plagiarism isn't the worst sin in the academic world, fraud is. Plagiarism is stealing something valuable; fraud is selling cyanide labeled as aspirin. Still, as this October 8, 2007 Inside Higher Education article points out, students are now calling professors on plagiarism, instead of the other way around. From the October 4, 2007 Yale Daily News:
Several passages in Yale Law School professor Ian Ayres’ ’81 LAW ‘86 newest book are unattributed verbatim reproductions or nearly identical paraphrases of passages from various newspaper and magazine articles published in the last twenty years, an investigation by the News has shown.

Ayres’ ninth book, entitled “Super Crunchers: Why Thinking-By-Numbers Is the New Way to Be Smart,” was published in August by Bantam Dell Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. The News found nine passages in the book similar to or the same as sentences from articles printed in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the San Diego Union-Tribune and Fast Company magazine.

Ayres, the William K. Townsend professor at the Law School and a professor at the Yale School of Management, said he plans to make changes to future printings of the book. Three research assistants currently enrolled in the Law School worked with Ayres on the book, according to the acknowledgments printed in the back.

Although Ayres uses endnotes to cite his sources, sentences from many of those sources were printed without quotation marks or other in-text attributions. Of the passages identified by the News, only one is a verbatim reproduction of text published previously by another author. Other passages substitute words or clauses into sentences written by others or omit words or clauses.
That Ayres is one of the academic community's gun banners just makes it sweeter.

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