Shanghaiist likes reading sciencey stuff. We are often seen browsing through the archives of Science Magazine, The Scientific American and New Scientist magazines akin to how your Mum might flick through weekly gossip rags like Who Weekly or OK! magazines.
Naively, we often delude ourselves to think that our pleasure was without the vice of judgement, but reality snapped us back and reminded ourselves of the petty nature and politics of science throughout history when we read this article in New Scientist. Not content with identifying blatant plagiarists, New Scientist quoted a sole scientific journal editor who believes that scientists are pushing the boundaries of plagiarism by copying “eloquent turns of phrase” from each other without acknowledgement in the attempt to sound more articulate. And who does the article imply who are currently the biggest culprits of this form of plagiarism? Chinese scientists.
Most culprits are people whose first language is not English, says Williams. But he adds that the trend could change with the meteoric rise in science publishing in China. Could writers whose first language is not Mandarin begin lifting phrases, too? “I would not be surprised,” Williams says.
One question we have is how did alleged ‘turn of phrase’ plagiarists with English as a second language turn into a China/Mandarin-speakers issue?
Shanghaiist hates plagiarists, especially the blatant ones that copy reams of unacknowledged text from eminent (or worse, you own) papers without attribution. But copying a “turn of phrase”? We think someone is starting to get too persnickety about this. Sometimes there is only so many ways to say “the sky is blue”.
Shanghaiist thinks that this is a vacuous attempt of reporting this issue. It reeks of unsubstantiated hearsay or worse, prejudicial opinion on behalf of either the reporter or interviewee David Williams’ (editor-in-chief of Biomaterials journal).
This gets our goat it does. Gets our goat…
This cool napkin artwork wasn’t plagiarised and was reproduced with permission from Marty Coleman. See more of his cool napkin art and more at Flickr.