Ethics

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TEACHING ETHICS THROUGHOUT THE CURRICULUM

Case 67. Definition of Plagiarism: Phrasing

Situation

On receiving her first invitation to review a book for a journal, Jennifer Lazarus reads several recent reviews and selects one written by Donald Harrold to use as a model for her review. Shortly after her review was published, Professor Harrold notified the editor of the journal that published the book review that this review had been plagiarized by Lazarus, and identified three sentences and twelve phrases in the review that were identical to the one that Harrold had published earlier. The two reviews were on different subjects and the charge of plagiarism was based on phrasing, not on substantive ideas.

Questions

  1. What is the responsibility of the editor? Should he/she use a numerical (number of sentences and phrases) definition of plagiarism? Or a substantive one? If a numerical definition is used, should the editor try to negotiate an informal resolution? Refer the case to the Ethics Committee?
  2. If a substantive definition is used, should the editor take any further actions?
  3. What are the editor's responsibilities to the Professor Harrold? What are the editor's responsibilities to Jennifer Lazarus?

Reflect on the above questions and form your own answers before clicking the Discussion key to review the commentary provided with this case.

 

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