Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Ghostwriting and plagiarism

As you may recall, Jacksonville State University President Bill Meehan had to address a dust-up this summer over his Town and Gown columns that appear under his name in the Jacksonville News, a product of the Star's parent company, Consolidated Publishing.

At least three of Meehan's columns contained material lifted directly from other sources, mostly Web sites, without attribution. Meehan admitted that the columns were actually ghostwritten by Al Harris, former director of the JSU news bureau. Harris said because of a serious illness he was on heavy medication, and he said he wasn't thinking clearly when he let the columns go without editing them to make sure they included the proper attribution.

Today, Footnoted, a daily round-up of blogs from The Chronicle of Higher Education, includes an item about similar issues at Harvard and Yale. It specifically mentions the most recent incident, a Yale professor whose book doesn't include proper citations, according to the Yale Daily News.

The blog entry says it's the fourth such instance at the two highly respected institutions.

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