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Advance Online Version Volume 1, 2006

Papers and Perspectives

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Cases of Plagiarism Handled by the United States Office of Research Integrity 1992-2005

Alan Price

Plagiary 2006 1 (1): 1-11 (20 January 2021)


Since 1992, the Federal Office of Research Integrity has been making public findings of plagiarism as scientific misconduct against individuals involved in United States Public Health Service supported research. This paper is a historical review of the 19 ORI plagiarism cases, describing the characteristics of those respondents, the PHS administrative actions taken against them, the source of the plagiarized material, and the type of person who detected the plagiarism. Almost all of the 10 plagiarists debarred by ORI/PHS from Federal funding also falsified and/or fabricated research material, thereby compounding the seriousness of their plagiarism.


The Google Library Project: Both Sides of the Story

Jonathan Band

Plagiary 2006 1 (2): 1-17 (8 February 2021)


Google’s announcement that it will include in its search database the full text of books from five of the world’s leading research libraries has provoked newspaper editorials, public debates, and two lawsuits. Some of this attention can be attributed to public fascination with any move taken by Google, one of the most successful companies in the digital economy. The sheer scale of the project and its possible benefits for research have also captured the public imagination. Finally, the controversy over copyright issues has been fueled by Google’s willingness to pursue this ambitious effort notwithstanding the opposition of the publishing industry and organizations representing authors. Much of the press coverage, however, confuses the facts, and the opposing sides often talk past each other without engaging directly. This article will attempt to set forth the facts and review the arguments in a systematic manner. Although both sides have strong legal arguments, the article concludes that the applicable legal precedents support Google’s fair use position.

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Copy This! A Historical Perspective On the Use of the Photocopier in Art

John A. Walker

Plagiary 2006 1 (3): 1-3 (21 February 2021)


Before digital technology had transformed the capabilities for manipulating images and making them available for viewing and download via the Internet, artists were making use of innovative techniques in a genre which has come to be known as “copy art”, also called “electrographic art”, “photocopy art”, “electroworks”, and “xerography”. Montage, distortion, and transformation were effected through reducing, enlarging, and adjusting the hue and tone, “xerographic” effects which are achieved today through digital enhancements, alterations, and transformations. The referencing of “image glut”, “visual pollution”, and “image overload” in this reprinted article from the late 1980s by John A. Walker would seem to have much relevance for today when copying technology has moved from the mechanical to the digital, enabling increasingly sophisticated image manipulation techniques with their potential for trompe l’oeil—within and without the world of art.


On Campus: Author Discusses the "Cheating Culture" With College Students

David Callahan

Plagiary 2006 1 (4): 1-8 (8 March 2006)


In a recent discussion with college students, David Callahan probed the “dark side of American life”, the cheating culture which has taken root in business, sports, academe and other areas of American society. He explains the three great forces driving the cheating culture, and he questions whether people really want to live in a society characterized by a panoply of cheating behaviors. His message to students is that change is on the way. He is optimistic about the potential for a more fair, more honest society based on equal opportunity and rewards for those who work hard, dream big, and push forward. His concrete suggestions for leveling the playing field and resisting the cheating culture are a challenge to college students to “Be the change you want to see in the world”.



Plagiarism Is Easy, but Also Easy To Detect

Caroline Lyon, Ruth Barrett and James Malcolm

Plagiary 2006 1 (5): 1- 10 (27 March 2006)


The advent of electronic communication has brought with it increasing problems of plagiarism, but at the same time recent technological advances provide us with tools to address these problems. This paper will first take an overview of plagiarism as a problem, particularly in the field of Higher Education. It will give an outline of pedagogic issues, and approaches to reducing the problem. A significant deterrent is the practice of running students’ work through plagiarism detectors, and ensuring that students realise how effectively this can be done. New research indicates that electronic copy detection can also be applied to Chinese text, as is currently done for English and for programming code. We describe one such detector, the Ferret, outlining its application to English text and its potential for use in other domains including Chinese language. We show how the Ferret is based on exploiting underlying characteristics of English word distribution, and that Chinese characters have a similar distribution. The paper concludes by comparing and contrasting man and machine when it comes to identifying copied material, and indicating how their differing memory processes can be harnessed to detect plagiarism.



Bureaucratic Plagiarism

Gavin Moodie

Plagiary 2006 1 (6): 1-5 (7 April 2006)


This paper identifies four types of failure to ascribe authorship accurately in college administrations: institutional anonymity, and three types of nominal authorship - ghost-written, rubber stamp and nominal direction. It argues that these failures to ascribe authorship accurately are a problem for the good operation of college bureaucracies as well as being a problem of principle and internal consistency. The paper concludes by proposing non-disruptive ways of acknowledging authorship in colleges’ administrations.



A Case of "Gray Plagiarism" From the History of the History of Computing

Michael Davis

Plagiary 2006 1 (7): 1- 19 (15 May 2006)


Claiming as one's own what one knows to be the discovery of another is certainly plagiarism. But what about merely failing to acknowledge the work of another where one does not give the impression that the discovery is one's own? Does it matter how easy it was to make the discovery? This paper analyzes a case in this gray area in academic ethics. The focus is not on the failure itself to attribute but on the attempt of an independent scholar who, believing himself to be the victim of "gray plagiarism”, sought a forum in which to make his complaint. The story could be told from several perspectives. I shall tell it primarily from the perspective of the complainant, an outsider to academe, because I believe that way of telling it best reveals the need to think more deeply about how we (acting for the universities to which we belong) assign credit, especially to scholars outside, and about how we respond when someone complains of a failure to assign credit. My purpose is not to indict individuals but to change a system. This paper updates a case I first described in 1993.



Love and Madness: A Forgery Too True

Ellen Lévy

Plagiary 2006 1 (8): 1-12 (26 June 2006)


This article moves from an account of the crime of the Reverend James Hackman, who in 1779 murdered Martha Ray, the mistress of Lord Sandwich, and was subsequently executed for his deed, to the publishing history of the volumes to which his crime gave rise. It then looks in more specific detail at one of these volumes, Love and Madness: A Story Too True (1780), which purported to be the authentic correspondence of the murderer and his victim but which was actually an epistolary novel written by an exact contemporary of the young assassin. Love and Madness was from the start a "bestseller" but, also from the start, its ambiguous nature was recognized: the literary reviews of the day almost immediately evoked doubts concerning the book's authenticity. Soon, Herbert Croft admitted responsibility for the biographical material on the literary forger Thomas Chatterton that made up one of the letters in the volume. He was, in fact, the author of the entire correspondence, as internal evidence is quick to reveal [. . . ]



Did the U.S. Army Distribute Smallpox Blankets to Indians? Fabrication and Falsification in Ward Churchill's Genocide Rhetoric

Thomas Brown
Plagiary 2006 1 (9): 1-30 (7 July 2006)


In this analysis of the genocide rhetoric employed over the years by Ward Churchill, an ethnic studies professor at the University of Colorado, a "distressing" conclusion is reached: Churchill has habitually committed multiple counts of research misconduct--specifically, fabrication and falsification. While acknowledging the "politicization" of the topic and evidence of other outrages committed against Native American tribes in times past, this study examines the different versions of the "smallpox blankets" episode published by Churchill between 1994 and 2003. The "preponderance of evidence" standard of proof strongly indicates that Churchill fabricated events that never occurred--namely the U.S. Army's alleged distribution of smallpox infested blankets to the Mandan Indians in 1837. The analysis additionally reveals that Churchill falsified sources to support his fabricated version of events, and also concealed evidence in his cited sources that actually disconfirms, rather than substantiates, his allegations of genocide.



How College Students Cheat On In-Class Examinations: Creativity, Strain, and Techniques of Innovation

Phillip C. H. Shon
Plagiary 2006 1 (10): 1-20 (23 August 2006)


There is adequate consensus among researchers that cheating is widely practiced by students and poses a serious problem across college campuses. Previous studies of academic dishonesty have systematically identified the psychological and social variables correlated to cheating, but how students actually cheat has often been overlooked. Using in-depth narratives from 119 students enrolled in an introductory criminology class, this paper examines the variety of creative tactics that students use to cheat during in-class examinations. Findings indicate that students manipulate variables such as the psychological and behavioral profiles of their professors, unwitting accomplices, technology, peers, spatial environments, and their own bodies, to negotiate the contingent intricacies and dialectics of academic dishonesty.


Why Footnotes Matter: Checking Arming America's Claims

Clayton E. Cramer
Plagiary 2006 1 (11): 1-31 (29 September 2020)


Michael A. Bellesiles’s Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 2000) enjoyed nearly universal critical acclaim and received a Bancroft Prize in History in 2001. Criticism of its accuracy (initially almost entirely from outside the academic historian community) eventually led to an unprecedented revocation of the Bancroft Prize, and Bellesiles’s resignation from a tenured position at Emory University, largely based on problems with Arming America’s use of probate inventories. Arming America’s problems were not confined to irreproducible probate inventory statistics, but appeared throughout the book. This paper gives examples of primary sources falsified to support Bellesiles’s thesis, and sources cited to prove a claim when all the cited sources either directly contradict the claim, or are irrelevant to the claim. The sheer volume of these errors—and their consistent direction—would seem to preclude honest error.


“Awesome job!”—Or was it? The “many eyes” of
Asynchronous Writing Environments and the Implications on Plagiarism

Scott Warnock
Plagiary 2006 1 (12): 1-14 (26 October 2006)


While digital technologies may contribute to the apparent rise in plagiarism among students, these technologies can help teachers develop constructive, rather than punitive, course environments that discourage plagiarism. In an online writing course taught by the author, a student who plagiarized on the message boards was caught and identified on those boards by two other students. The author argues that various aspects of the boards created a community dynamic that enabled the two students to identify the plagiarism and to react to it. The students’ identification of the plagiarist stemmed partially from indignation, but they also, because of the extensive writing on the boards, discerned differences between the plagiarized material and the plagiarist’s other contributions during the term. The author draws from several constructive plagiarism approaches, especially Williams’ CORD method, to frame five ways message boards facilitate a constructive approach to plagiarism: allowing many readers, including students, to see the writing; providing multiple opportunities for assessment; creating bolder participants; allowing students to read beyond content; and providing a means for students to enact justice when outraged at their peers’ cheating. Asynchronous writing environments can curb plagiarism while complementing a positive writing and learning environment.



Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Lawsuit: DJ Danger Mouse, William S. Burroughs, and the Politics of “Grey Tuesday”

Davis Schneiderman
Plagiary 2006 1 (13): 1-18 (6 November 2006)


On February 24, 2004, approximately 170 Web sites hosted a controversial download of DJ Danger Mouse’s The Grey Album, a “mash” record composed of The Beatles’s The White Album and Jay-Z’s The Black Album. Many of the participating Web sites received “cease and desist” letters from EMI (The Beatles’s record company), yet the so-called “Grey Tuesday” protest resulted in over 100,000 downloads of the record. While mash tunes are a relatively recent phenomenon, the issues of ownership and aesthetic production raised by “Grey Tuesday” are as old as the notion of the literary “author” as an autonomous entity, and are complicated by deliberate literary plagiarisms and copyright infringements. This paper examines the idea of deliberate pastiche as it appears in William S. Burroughs’s work, particularly in the collaborative manifesto The Third Mind (1964/5)—a work that merges discussion of plagiarist production with plagiarist manifestations. Burroughs’s infamous “cut-up” method, writes Gérard-Georges Lemaire in the same text, “disconnects the concept of reality that has been imposed upon us and then … eventually escapes from the control of its manipulator” (17). Burroughs theorized copyright infringement as more than mere entertainment or artistic one-upsmanship; he considered cut-ups as creative production that would force the dominant system to address fundamental issues of inequity by breaking the intention of the work from its popular effect. It is no surprise that Burroughs’s similarly produced audio experiments have been cited as precedents to the current cut-and-mix sound culture. The are many cogent connections between Burroughs’s work and the DJ Danger Mouse-inspired “Grey Tuesday”: 1) In the deliberate infringement of previously copyrighted works, each artist actualizes an assault on ownership standards, 2) these works accordingly assume new political meanings beyond the control of their “originators,” and 3) this elision of the “authorial” persona is replaced by a collaborative ethic that makes the audience complicit in the success of the “illegal” endeavor.





The full text of all papers and perspectives articles will be made available through the University of Michigan's Scholarly Publishing Office in structured electronic text format. Links to advance online versions of these articles appear after the abstracts above. Hardcopy annual version will be published at the end of each calendar year. The views, opinions, and research results in these "Papers and Perspectives" articles are those of the respective authors who assume full responsibility for their article content per the Plagiary submissions guidelines. Responses and critiques relating to these "Papers and Perspectives" may be sent to the Editor. Authors will be given an opportunity to reply prior to publication of any responses/critiques.






Paper proposals and manuscripts accepted for publications consideration on an ongoing basis.


Plagiary represents a wide range of research topics which address general and specific issues relating to plagiarism, fabrication, and falsification. Devoted specifically to the scholarly, cross-disciplinary study of plagiary and related behaviors across genres of communication, Plagiary features research articles and reports on discipline-specific misconduct, case studies (historical and modern; inter-/intra-lingual), legal issues, literary traditions and conceptualizations, popular genres of discourse, detection and prevention, pedagogy (cheating & academic integrity), technical reports on related phenomena, and other topics of clear relevance (parody, pastiche, mimicry) along with book reviews and responses to published articles.

See the "Information for Authors" page for further details.

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Copyright 2005-2008

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