March 12, 2005

And now, the plagiarism accusation

Thanks to Ralph Luker for pointing out new allegations that Ward Churchill plagiarized work by a Canadian writer; according to the report, when she refused to have her work in one of his edited works appear in a second publication, he wrote something under his name that was remarkably similar. This may be part of a larger pattern of sloppy scholarship, if journalists' reports are accurate.

And therein lies the crux of the matter: what has Ward Churchill's behavior been like as an academic? In my experience, good journalists "get it right" about 70-80 percent of the time. After all, if Phil Graham was correct that news was the first draft of history, that means there's plenty of rewriting to be done. So we take the allegations as printed in the media with a grain of salt. With claims of fraud, it's sometimes tough to find the truth, and as I've written before, academics can lie about each other and requires some care in investigation. Plagiarism is much easier to discern: compare the material. Sloppy footnoting is one thing, but stealing words is another.

If Churchill has come close to or crossed the line over to plagiarism, I suspect he'll quickly agree to a buy-out now that these allegations exist.

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Posted in Academic freedom on March 12, 2005 7:28 AM |