Plagiarism in the News


BC-OWL Links

bulletWorkshops on Using APA Documentation
Tues., 3/26, 3-4 p.m. and 6-7 p.m. in Bowman 310

bulletStatement on Avoiding Plagiarism

bulletRecent Handouts:

bullet"Plagiarism" in The Nuts and Bolts of College Writing by Michael Harvey

Implications for Students:
bullet "Plagiarism Allegations Disturb Teachers: Classroom Debates Surround Recent Cases" at 31 Jan. 2002

bullet Online Plagiarism, Part 2 is a 12 Feb. 2002 TechTV CyberCrime story, with links to earlier stories on the topic.

and for Professors:
bullet “Keeping Plagiarism at Bay in the Internet Age”, a recent article by Bridget Murray in Monitor on Psychology 33.2, addresses specific uses of the Internet as a research database.

and for High School Teachers:
bullet Teacher Resigns over Plagiarism Fight" is an Associated Press story posted at on 7 Feb. 2002.

bullet School Cheating Scandal Tests a Town's Values by Jodi Wilgoren is a 14 Feb. 2002 New York Times story on the same case.

Issues for Historians and Other Scholars:

bullet  "Historians and Plagiarism"
is a 4 Feb. 2002 editorial at

bullet “For Scholars, A Lesson in Humility” by Philip Kennicott, in The Washington Post 26 Jan. 2002. Reflecting on French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu's death and American society's low opinion of intellectual, Kennicott points out, "The sin of plagiarism is the first and most fundamental lesson of every student's college career, and it is a lesson in being humble."

bullet "Heavy Lifting" by Wendy Kaminer,
in The American Prospect 13.4 (25 Feb. 2002), questions the importance of originality in our consumer culture.

bullet  At FindLaw's Legal Commentary Julie Hilden discusses "A Legal Remedy for Plagiarism? Rethinking The Ambrose And Goodwin Plagiarism Scandals."

bullet  In "The Triumph of Ideological History" (Frontpage Magazine 1 Feb. 2002), Ronald Radosh argues that ideological slanting of history is a worse offense than plagiarism.


In early January, popular historian Stephen Ambrose was accused of plagiarism on the basis of several passages from his books. The story made national news, and articles on Ambrose's use of sources--and its implications for college students--continue to appear. A subsequent story involved Pulitzer Prize winner Doris Kearns Goodwin's copying from sources. James Madison University subsequently rescinded an invitation to Goodwin to speak on James Madison Day.

The Writing Center is providing links to several of recent discussions and articles for your use in discussing this important issue. Consider these questions:

  • What uses of others' words may actually be considered plagiarism?
  • Does plagiarism hurt anyone? If so, whom does it hurt? Who is victimized? How?
  • Is plagiarism primarily a concern within the academic world? Does anyone outside of colleges and universities care about plagiarism?
  • What makes plagiarism an issue of ethics?

bullet "2 Accuse Stephen Ambrose, Popular Historian, of Plagiarism" by David Kilpatrick, available from New York Times College Resources for Students and Faculty 5 Jan. 2002, reports accusations by The Weekly Standard columnist Fred Barnes and historian Thomas Childers that Ambrose's The Wild Blue uses passages plagiarized from Childers' The Wings of Morning.

bullet "Stephen Ambrose, Copycat" by Fred Barnes, is the breaking story at The Daily Standard 14 Jan. 2002. It includes passages Ambrose copied from Thomas Childers' Wings of Morning.

bullet "Plagiarism," aired on NPR's All Things Considered on 10 Jan. 2002, may be found by searching NPR's site. The Writing Center has obtained an audiotape and of the segment for use in classroom presentations on avoiding plagiarism. Followup stories aired on Fresh Air on 25 Feb. 2002, All Things Considered on 13 Mar. 2002, and Weekend Edition on 16 Mar. 2002, adding other claims of plagiarism.

bullet "The Ambrose Saga" by Mark Lewis, is the site for a series of stories on new allegations of Ambrose's plagiarizing and the tarnish to Goodwin's reputation, 7 Jan. through 27 Feb. 2002. A link at this site to "Dueling D-Day Authors: Ryan versus Ambrose" illustrates passages highlighted in allegations against Ambrose by now-deceased historian Cornelius Ryan. Also see Lewis' "Don’t Indict Popular History" at, Opinion Journal from The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page, on 22 Jan. 2002.

bullet "Whopper of the Week: Simon & Schuster. Ambrose Comes Clean, But His Publisher Fibs!", by Timothy Noah at on 10 Jan. 2002, deals with Ambrose's response to the charges.

bullet "The Plagiarist: Why Stephen Ambrose Is a Vampire" by David Plotz, Slate 11 Jan. 2002, reflects on the significance of the Ambrose story.

bullet  "Goodwin Discloses Settlement Over Credits" is The Boston Globe's 22 Jan. 2002 report of Doris Kearns Goodwin's financial settlement with writer Lynne McTaggart, who accused her of plagiarism. No longer available online

bullet "Lynne McTaggart on Doris Kearns Goodwin" and "A Historian and Her Sources," both by Bo Crader, are The Daily Standard's 23 Jan. 2002 and 28 Jan. 2002 stories on Goodwin's disclosure.

bullet "Doris Kearns Goodwin, Liar: First She Plagiarized. Then She Claimed It Wasn’t Plagiarism,"
by Timothy Noah at 22 Jan. 2002, includes a link to Harvard's plagiarism policy. Noah continues coverage with “How To Curb the Plagiarism Epidemic (Or, How Alice Mayhew Gets Her Groove Back)” at on 28 Jan. 2002, a story about the Simon & Schuster editor responsible for both Ambrose's and Goodwin's recent books.

bullet "Ambrose Defends Himself Against Accusations” and "Ambrose, Goodwin, Simon & Schuster Still Taking Heat", are updates from, respectively, the Associated Press on 1 Feb. 2002 and Book Zone Pro 30 Jan. 2002.

bullet "How I Caused that Story," by Doris Kearns Goodwin, at on 5 Feb. 2002 explains Goodwin's methods for using sources in her writing.

bullet "Writing History", Online NewsHour 28 Jan. 2002, is a discussion of the recent stories by several people, including Goodwin, who is herself a frequent commentator on PBS's NewsHour program.

bullet "Plagiarism, Or a Case Of Something Less Duplicitous?" by Ken Ringle, in The Washington Post Online, 4 Feb. 2002, reports allegations of a Boston Science Museum director's plagiarism.

Thanks to Tim Layne, Stacy Pauley, Aaron Klein, Terry Houff, and Arthur Gumenik for contributing links for this page.

Updated by A. L. Trupe, March 2002