A big step for me and a tiny step for humanity… I have recently come to realize that a significant event in my career has occurred. For the first time in my life I have been plagiarized! Even though I am supposed to be upset I actually feel a bit honored, I mean, someone actually thought my writing was so good that she pretended it was her own.
What is plagiarism? Plagiarism is one of the worst crimes you can do in academia. The term is taken from the Latin term Plagiare which means "to kidnap". Essentially you plagiarize someone when you take their idea, theory or text, and reproduce it as if it was your own idea, theory, or text. Someone who is caught expressing other peoples' view as their own without proper acknowledgement are usually punished with suspension or even termination of their job as well as a very bad reputation. Plagiarism indeed, is a big No No in academia.
It is of course not always that easy to tell whether you are plagiarizing something. Although I try to give acknowledgements to the people who inspire this blog, I am relatively sloppy when it comes to doing exhaustive explorations of the literature. Therefore it is possible that some of the ideas I express as my own have actually been thought up before by someone else. I do not do this on purpose however, and I see that as essential. I sometimes copy texts that Richard Dawkins have written, but when I do I write "Richard Dawkins says…". I try not to leave the reader with the impression that it is my thoughts.
When checking Technocrati last time was happy to see that my blog continues to generate reactions, that is after all one of my goals i.e. to get people to discuss things. However, on one blog written by a woman called Abida, my work was not cited, it was plagiarized, stolen without any reference, link, or acknowledgement whatsoever of my work. So what Abida did was not "accidental plagiarism". She wrote one paragraph about The God Delusion, and the she used ctrl+c and ctrl+v for the rest of the text. A rather embarrassing behavior I think, at least when it is discovered or written about on another blog…
Ps: If you happen to read this Abida, perhaps you can put in a tiny little reference in "your" review, and all will be forgotten, and not to forget, you can sleep well at night without fear of the eternal fire in that special place in hell designated to plagiarists J.