Comments on: Wendy from Washington, D.C. is worried, needs advice http://www.historiann.com/2008/11/11/wendy-from-washington-dc-is-worried-needs-advice/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Sun, 21 Sep 2014 03:32:05 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: roofingbird http://www.historiann.com/2008/11/11/wendy-from-washington-dc-is-worried-needs-advice/comment-page-1/#comment-123671 Sat, 15 Nov 2008 20:06:42 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=1841#comment-123671 From the perspective of an outsider, it appears that the rules over copyright laws have become muddied again. Perhaps counsel with a good copyright lawyer is in order, followed by pursuit of the plagiarizers. Reestablishing the boundaries is important. Plus, what a joke if, organizations like the one sited in your reference, are not defenders! I don’t know, is this sort of etiquette taught anywhere as a required class?

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2008/11/11/wendy-from-washington-dc-is-worried-needs-advice/comment-page-1/#comment-120490 Thu, 13 Nov 2008 15:19:33 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=1841#comment-120490 p.s. With the assistance of La Google, I discovered that Judy Tzu-Chun Wu is now an Associate Prof. at OSU, and that Benson Tong has apparently left academia. A blog post from the spring of 2005 suggested that he was leaving Gallaudet University, but it didn’t say if he resigned or was fired.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2008/11/11/wendy-from-washington-dc-is-worried-needs-advice/comment-page-1/#comment-120479 Thu, 13 Nov 2008 15:08:03 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=1841#comment-120479 Thanks, DV. Although I am shocked to read about these cases, I’m not entirely surprised about the cowardice of the American historical profession in exposing and outing the fraudsters. My profession has an upper-middle class etiquette or sensibility which dictates that confrontation is the faux pas, not the original transgression. Thus the advice to Dr. Wu from her colleagues to just let it go that someone plagiarized her disseration! Any and all manner of abuse is acceptable, just so long as the victim PLEASE GOD doesn’t say anything about it!

This is of course related to the tolerance for bullies and bullying that I’ve written about a lot here, and may be worthy of a post in an of itself. Thanks for drawing my attention to the article.

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By: DV http://www.historiann.com/2008/11/11/wendy-from-washington-dc-is-worried-needs-advice/comment-page-1/#comment-120109 Thu, 13 Nov 2008 05:49:06 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=1841#comment-120109 Wendy might consider reading this article from the Chronicle. Scroll down to “heavy lifting” and read how Dr. Wu handled this (with a published, plagiarized source).

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By: Another Damned Medievalist http://www.historiann.com/2008/11/11/wendy-from-washington-dc-is-worried-needs-advice/comment-page-1/#comment-120027 Thu, 13 Nov 2008 03:45:58 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=1841#comment-120027 This is one of my biggest fears — not that I’ll plagiarise, because honestly, it’s not my thing, nor will it ever be. But I do worry, because I tend not to have time to do any real research during the academic year, that I will have read a bunch of stuff before I get started on teaching and then, X months later when I get back to writing, I’ll have internalized all that reading and not remember what’s mine and what isn’t.

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By: wendy http://www.historiann.com/2008/11/11/wendy-from-washington-dc-is-worried-needs-advice/comment-page-1/#comment-119923 Thu, 13 Nov 2008 02:14:25 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=1841#comment-119923 I second Historiann in thinking all of you for you comments and suggestions. It was certainly a surreal experience. It was nice to know that people are reading my work-not so nice to suspect they are plagiarizing it.

In some respects, it would have been easier if it had been published. I could have pointed out the commonalities that were too close to be coincidence to the editor of the journal. A conference paper seems a bit trickier. She may have very well been citing me, but there’s no way for me to know.

Again, thank you for all the helpful advice. I’ll have to mull it over and decide on a course of action.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2008/11/11/wendy-from-washington-dc-is-worried-needs-advice/comment-page-1/#comment-119910 Thu, 13 Nov 2008 02:05:31 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=1841#comment-119910 Thanks for all of your comments. I think cc’ing or contacting the Chair is premature, but I certainly think that a friendly but firm e-mail notice is appropriate.

Brett, I really appreciate your thoughts from another discipline. The physicists are way ahead of us humanities types (surprise!), although I’m not quite sure if something like the collection of preprints would be embraced by humanities scholars. As you suggest, humanities scholars are lone wolves rather than people who work in a collaborative fashion, and I wonder if fears that work would be plagiarized from the anti-plagiarism preprints collection would limit the success of this model! (There are some in my profession who warn darkly about people stealing ideas from conference papers, and who hold back their extremely important findings until publication, but that has always seemed a little paranoid and farfetched to me.)

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By: Ignatz http://www.historiann.com/2008/11/11/wendy-from-washington-dc-is-worried-needs-advice/comment-page-1/#comment-119611 Wed, 12 Nov 2008 19:07:53 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=1841#comment-119611 As a former junior scholar who takes pride in my research and ideas, I would have slammed Ms. Thing against a wall as soon as the session was finished. I think Wendy should write her a direct, neutrally toned email, stat–and cc.Ms. Thing’s chair.

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By: Brett http://www.historiann.com/2008/11/11/wendy-from-washington-dc-is-worried-needs-advice/comment-page-1/#comment-119439 Wed, 12 Nov 2008 15:41:31 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=1841#comment-119439 @ Historiann- Your mention of the relative ease of plagiarizing unpublished work makes me thankful again that in my field (theoretical physics), we have a comprehensive repository of preprints at http://www.arxiv.org . We physicists know from experience that it makes tracking down and documenting plagiarism immensely easier. I think it also discourages people from committing plagiarism. There is no longer an informal network of colleagues who circulate preprints, with information about new developments spreading slowly through this system. Now, when a potential plagiarist sees a new paper they might be inclined to steal, they know that most everybody else in the world who’s interested has seen the paper online as well.

This system is to some extent facilitated by the fact that nobody in the field writes longer works. In the humanities especially, where the publication of books, chapters of which might be circulated far in advance of final publication, is more important, it would be difficult to replicate this scheme as effectively. Nevertheless, I am a strong believer that many other disciples should adopt an online preprint system similar to that now used in physics and mathematics. (Although I should add one more caveat as well. There is a reason why physics and math are better suited to the online preprint system than other disciples. The technical requirements of writing a mathematics or physics paper are different from writing one in, say, history. The latter can be typed in a standard word processing package, but to write physics or mathematics–even crackpot physics or mathematics–one needs to learn LaTeX for typesetting mathematical symbols. Most crackpots are unwilling to learn, and that keeps down the number of preprints that are total rubbish. Without this software barrier any humanities preprint servers would probably need more active monitoring by humans to keep the crazies out.)

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2008/11/11/wendy-from-washington-dc-is-worried-needs-advice/comment-page-1/#comment-119370 Wed, 12 Nov 2008 13:36:03 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=1841#comment-119370 historymaven: agreed. Very good points. It’s much better to be the person who published an article 2 years ago. Wendy is fortunate in that she has the “paper trail,” instead of just other conference papers or unpublished work.

That’s what I just don’t get here. Plagiarism is so much more sneaky and effective if it’s done to unpublished work, not published work!

I also take your points about junior scholars not quite getting the professional etiquette involved, although that shouldn’t be the case for this person, who finished grad school almost a decade ago. (She finished the same year as Wendy.) I think many junior scholars feel intimidated when a more advanced person publishes something that touches on their research interests, and it takes them a while to recover and cope with the fact that there are others working in their fields. But, the smart ones figure out their own distinctive path and make their own unique contributions, which makes them more capable and generous in acknowledging the work of others.

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