Plagiarism - Case B6
Dr. Alice Charles, a mid-career scientist, was revising and updating
a book chapter. This led her to review other articles on the same
subject to help determine what new material to cover. During the
course of her reading, she came upon a chapter in a major text by Dr.
Chris Long, a departmental chair at a leading medical school, that
contained long passages from her previous chapter without
Dr. Charles called Dr. Long and confronted him with her finding.
At first, he vehemently denied having used any of Dr. Charles's text
inappropriately. Dr. Charles then faxed Dr. Long copies of the
offending passages. After some delay, Dr. Long finally responded,
acknowledging that the language was indeed remarkably similar. Dr.
Long noted that he had engaged younger members of his research group
to write portions of the chapter because he was very busy at the time
that the deadline was approaching. Furthermore, to defend himself, he
pointed out that much of the original research on which her chapter
was based was derived from the work of his laboratory .He admitted
only to negligence in not adequately monitoring the activities of his
Dr. Charles replied that the subordinates were not acknowledged in
Dr. Long's chapter either, and that admission of plagiarism required
more than an apology. She indicated her intention to report the
matter to Dr. Long' s dean and the editor of the text.
- Did Dr. Charles act appropriately? Would you have done anything
differently? Considering the difference in status between herself
and Dr. Long, was she taking a professional risk?
- Did Dr. Long do anything wrong? What if he were copying his own
- How would you have handled this matter if you were Dr. Long and
were confronted with Dr. Charles's revelations?
- If you were Dr. Long's dean, how would you handle Dr. Charles's
letter, which contained copies of the plagiarized texts?
- Upon hearing Dr. Charles's complaint, what would you do as
editor of Dr. Long's textbook?