Triticum Turgidum

Lying Dormant and Waiting to Bloom Since 2005

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Location: The Prairie, Illinois, United States

I am a beauty-loving ambidextrous higher-order primate who learned transcendental meditation at 7, statistical analysis at 23, tap dancing at 30, and piano at 35. I tolerate gluten, lactose, and differences of opinion, but not abuse. Or beets.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I've Been Plagiarized!

I just got home from back-to-back research trips to New York and San Antonio. On the flight from San Antonio I began reading a book I'd promised a journal editor I'd review for the journal's next issue. The book concerns research on mass media, body image, and eating disorders, the central topic of my research. About 70 pages into the book, I hit a paragraph that struck me as eerily familiar. Once home, I was able to confirm that the authors of the book I was reviewing, which was published in 2005, had copied, word for word, a paragraph I'd written in a journal article published in 1997. Twelve lines, no changes -- er, except I used the % sign and they wrote out "per cent."

I'm seething. Researchers publishing in journals don't get paid for their work, but book authors do. These people literally stole from me. And I strongly suspect that they've plagiarized other authors. Neither of the book's authors make their living researching this topic. The first author is a criminologist; the second, a media violence researcher. They fail to cite a single body-relevant media effects study published after 2000, which initially struck me as odd because probably half of the corpus of original research studies demonstrating an effect of media exposure on body image were published post-2000. Then I realized that the cited work is most likely outdated because, well, when you filch other people's writing, you end up citing whatever they cited when they initially published their work.

I've already contacted the book review editor of this journal to tell him there's no way I can provide a balanced book review. Now I get to contact the book's publisher.

Wish me luck.


Blogger Parisjasmal said...

Kick ass K! That is ridiculous. How dare they?

I do wish you luck. Stand your ground and be assertive!

I hope you had nice trips otherwise.

6:51 AM, November 20, 2006  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

K, that is quite a story. Amazing that you caught it at all. Hope you get satisfaction, or a million dollars, or something. Keep us posted.

10:11 AM, November 20, 2006  
Blogger katiedid said...

Oh god, K. I am so so sorry this happened to you. I hope this somehow will be resolved without you having to just lump it. I'm with Robin, I hope this gets resolved to your satisfaction quickly. Please keep us updated when you can.

11:27 AM, November 20, 2006  
Blogger violetnoir said...

Good for you, K! Go after these lazy "criminals," because that's what they are.

Good luck!


12:01 PM, November 20, 2006  
Blogger Bela said...

Nasty nasty people! Hope you get compensation very soon.

It's funny, I probably wouldn't have noticed: I very often can't remember what I wrote in the past. Some of the books I translated were done with someone else. 'With' is the wrong word but I can't think of another one: they were short stories so I would do a certain number and the other person the rest. Since her previous translations of that particular author had already been published, I tried to make sure I wrote in the same style as her: I studied her vocabulary and turn of phrase, etc. She had absolutely no input on my translations, but these days, 30 years later, if I pick up one of our books, I am unable to tell which short stories were translated by me and which by her. LOL! Only a few stand out in my mind.

Anyway, plagiarism is getting out of hand, I believe, with the Internet.

You're using the beta format now? Is it going to ask for my username, etc., every time? :-(

12:15 PM, November 21, 2006  
Blogger Jonna said...

Are you serious? That's actually so frustrating, I'm tempted to rip their faces off myself. I'm so sorry that happened to you. That kind of thing literally sickens me.

8:51 PM, November 21, 2006  
Blogger katiedid said...

I just wanted to pop in and wish you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving. I hope your day with them is special and yummy... (and am secretly hoping you are dressing up
Fi thematically and photographing the evidence, heh.)

1:24 AM, November 23, 2006  
Blogger PFG said...

Oh wow. That is just crazy! You always ask "what were they thinking" even when it's an immature and insecure undergrad who plagiarizes. "Did they think I wouldn't notice?" Here, it just boggles the mind how someone would or could do something like that.

1:00 PM, November 27, 2006  

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