Copy and euphemize: When ‘an honor mistake’ means plagiarism

via James Kroll

Readers who have been with us for the long haul may remember we used to collect a catalog of our favorite euphemisms for plagiarism. That list died with the demise of Lab Times, for which we used to write a regular column (although we did write this piece a bit later) – but the magazine’s passing did not mark the end of journals that speak with mealy mouths. 

The latest such euphemism to catch our eye comes from the Journal of STEPS for Humanities and Social Sciences, which in 2022 published a piece by a pair of authors in Iraq about trauma fiction. 

Trauma Reverberations: A Study of Selected Novels,” appeared in 2022, and was written by Intisar Rashid Khaleel and Raed Idrees Mahmood, both of Tikrit University.  

According to the retraction notice

This article has been retracted at the request of the authors.

Dr. Ikram Masmoudi from the University of Delaware has raised a conflict of interest concern regarding the article “Trauma Reverberations: A Study of Selected Novels“. Upon discussion with the corresponding author, Dr. Intisar Khaleel, she confirmed the occurrence of an honor mistake. After a meeting between the two authors, it has been decided that the article will be retracted to maintain the integrity and credibility of our publication. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation in this matter.

But Masmoudi in an email told us the case was a matter of “flagrant plagiarism” – no mistake about it:

The authors literally cut and past[ed] chunks from my 2010 article published in the International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies titled “Portraits of Iraqi women

I was alerted by a fellow academic who identified the plagiarism and emailed me about it.

Khaleel – who appears to be a member of the editorial board of the journal – did not respond to a request for comment. Nor did Patryk Kot, the chief editor of the publication.

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4 thoughts on “Copy and euphemize: When ‘an honor mistake’ means plagiarism”

  1. So that is what Claudine Gay made: a lot of “honor mistakes”. Looking forward to Retraction Watch addressing those.

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