Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Common Knowledge or Plagiarism?

Seemingly inadequate paraphrasing and verbatim copying recently stung a noted poet and editor in her latest book ("Writers Step In to Defend Author Accused of Plagiarism in New York Times." The Guardian (UK), October 4, 2017). Yet, seventy-two well-known authors minimized the nature of the situation even though there appeared to be obvious and frequent word-for-word verbiage by Jill Bialosky, noting that the similarities were not a case of "egregious theft intentionally performed." Find examples of her writing compared to the original sources in the Tourniquet Review. In the letter of defense for Bialosky written by the seventy-two authors, it is mentioned that she included in her book "a handful of commonly known biographical facts gleaned from outside sources.”

Discussion Questions:
  1. Why would such a noted editor copy such a large amount of information from other sources and not cite it? Does she consider this information about other noted poets as common knowledge that doesn't need to be cited?
  2. Is there a particular amount of common knowledge that one can include in a 200+ page book before the text appears to be very unoriginal and providing few new insights on a topic?
  3. What motive would the seventy-two authors have for supporting this poet and editor if she indeed was guilty of plagiarism? Note that quite a number of these authors work with the same publishing house as Bialosky.

No comments: