Sounds like the arts news cycle has come back around to its yearly obsession with naughty writers. Yesterday it was announced that Wired guru Anderson had lifted large portions of his book from Wikipedia and other sources, and he explains himself and apologizes (sort of) below, while today we find a self-published authors suing one of vacuous chair weights of daytime yack-filler The View for plagiarising her book on celiac disease. (Could this second story get any less sexy? Maybe we can take it to the level of horrifically gross and find an Ann Coulter connection…?)
Obviously in my rush at the end I missed a few of that last category, which is bad. As you’ll note, these are mostly on the margins of the book’s focus, mostly on historical asides, but that’s no excuse. I should have had a better process to make sure the write-through covered all the text that was not directly sourced.
Also note the VQR is not saying that all the highlighted text is plagiarism; much of is actually properly cited and quoted excerpts of old NYT times articles and other historical sources. And as you’ll see, in most cases I did do a writethrough of the non-quoted Wikipedia text, although clearly I didn’t go nearly far enough and too much of the original Wikipedia authors’ language remained (in a few cases I missed it entirely, such as that short Catholic church usury example, which was a total oversight). This was sloppy and inexcusable, but the part I feel worst about is that in our failure to find a good way to cite Wikipedia as the source we ended up not crediting it at all. That is, among other things, an injustice to the authors of the Wikipedia entry who had done such fine research in the first place, and I’d like to extend a special apology to them.
So now we’ve fixed the digital editions before publication, and we’ll publish those notes after all, online as they should have been to begin with. That way the links are live and we don’t have to wrestle with how to freeze them in time, which is what threw me in the first place.