- Plagiarism? Quel horreur!
Go read Tenured Radical. She tells us all about Robin Gerber, the author of Barbie and Ruth: The Story of the World’s Most Famous Doll and the Woman Who Created Her. The galley proofs for this new book were sent out to a reviewer, M. G. Lord, whose book Forever Barbie Gerber quotes in Barbie and Ruth, directly, repeatedly, and without attribution! Tenured Radical writes,
[H]istorians. . . know about plagiarism. We talk about it a lot, and we have seen enough high-profile cases in the last decade to make it of grave concern, whether it appears in a work intended primarily for scholars or in something intended for the educated reader and/or enthusiast. This is why, other than the possibility of an old friend being ripped off, I think questions about plagiarism raised by Lord about Ms. Gerber’s book need to be aired in a scholarly setting. Lord’s assertion is that Gerber has taken quotes from primary sources published in Forever Barbie and failed to note that Lord did that research and, in the case of interviews, actually generated the source in the first place.
In this piece, published in the Los Angeles Times over the weekend, Lord explains that when asked to review Gerber’s book:
I found quotations from my research, verbatim and without specific attribution.
I showed the passages to my assigning editor. He had sent me a galley proof, not the finished book, and we both thought it likely that endnotes would appear in the final volume. But then the finished book came in, and though “Forever Barbie” was mentioned in the bibliography, there were no endnotes. I felt violated.
Histories do not grow on trees. The first person to cobble out a definitive narrative has to do a ton of work. You interview hundreds of people and hunt down documents, which can be especially elusive if influential people would prefer that they stay hidden. You separate truth from hearsay. Then — with endnotes — you meticulously source all your quotations and odd facts so future scholars will know whence they came.
Reached for comment by The Times, Gerber wrote in an e-mail: Continue Reading »