Ask Retraction Watch: Is this plagiarism?
With this post, we’re going to try a new feature: Ask Retraction Watch. What we really mean by that is ask Retraction Watch’s readers, who time and time again have shared their expertise and made us smarter. So if you have questions you’d like posed in this space, find our contact info here.
Here goes. A reader asks:
I’m on a committee that has decided to use a non-copyrighted text created by another group to create our own text on the same subject. Ours will be published; the original was not. The pre-existing text was imported into Word and we were told to use it as our “first draft.” My opinion has been that to do this, you have to have the permission of the original authors; you can’t just add an acknowledgment that you’ve used their work as the basis for yours (although you should add an acknowledgment after you’ve secured the original authors’ permission). In other words, someone can’t take something of my work, import it into Word, do some editing, and publish it under their name with a small acknowledgment of my previous work without my explicit permission.
I wonder if you would consider asking the readers of Retraction Watch for their opinion on this kind of situation, because several folks on the committee with me seem to think this is acceptable academic practice, and I have been disagreeing.
The comment thread is open (as is this poll).