Plagiarism… from Jane Goodall. Ouch. That’s quite the “teachable moment”: it’s time to learn the rules of academic writing, kids.

The Misfortune Of Knowing

Seeds of Hope Plagiarism

This week, the Washington Post revealed that acclaimed primatologist Jane Goodall’s new book, Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants, contains borrowed content “from phrases to an entire paragraph from Web sites such as Wikipedia and others that focus on astrology, tobacco, beer, nature and organic tea.” Goodall admitted the plagiarism, saying in an e-mail to the Post, “This was a long and well-researched book … and I am distressed to discover that some of the excellent and valuable sources were not properly cited, and I want to express my sincere apologies.”

This situation is different from the examples of “forgivable” plagiarism I discussed in my previous post, When Do Plagiarizers and Fabricators Deserve Our Sympathy?, in which I sympathize with young writers who do not understand the line between honest research and plagiarism. As I wrote:

Many college students do not understand where…

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