Saturday, September 17, 2005

Plagarised Reviews - She's At It Again!

I've no wish to victimise anyone, least of all a fellow reviewer knowing that the job is pressured and scarcely lucrative. But a couple of days after I highlighted the case of the reviewer who had lifted a substantial part of an article from other sources, and wrote to the editor of the Malay Mail there's another review by the same writer - and yes, much of this one is plagiarised too.

The article is on p19 of Buzz and is entitled Flamenco Triumph. It is, of course, about the Paco Pena concert (brilliant performance - I was there Tuesday night!) at Dewan Filharmonik.

I'll just give you a couple of examples (although I found many more and can point to at least four different sources - you can check out Paco Pena's own website for some of them). The following (impressive!) sentence was lifted wholesale from a review in the Yale Daily News:

The intensity of the music moved in waves of crescendos and decrescendos as the different melodic motifs seamlessly merged from one to the next.

She lifted the following from a review in The Boston Herald virtually word for word:

His overall presence, from his expressive upper torso to his flirtatious demeanor, was riveting. ... In contrast, Espino was all intensity, from the deep arch in her back to the look of almost pained focus on her face.

Now shouldn't there be a sub-editor to catch this kind of abuse, and shouldn't there be help and support for newbie reviewers so they know where the boundaries are?

19 comments:

The Great Swifty said...

The sub-editors are unaware of the plagiarized works, and thought that everything was indeed done by the reviewer?

bibliobibuli said...

That's really no excuse ... how come I'm picking this up and I'm just a reader of the paper?

Kak Teh said...

sharon, it is online - I read it! Twice in two days?

oneders said...

Blame it on the education system. These days (according to my friend that has done a MA in a local Uni), everything is cut and paste...the thinking process and own expression is DEAD!!!

Kak Teh said...

oneders, that was what i said to sharon as well, and its not just local uni -meaning malaysia. I see it here too in UK. the sad thing is that, they copy, cut and paste but do not have a clue to link the paras together! Yes, the thinking and own expression process is certainly DEAD!

bibliobibuli said...

I was involved in supervising B.Ed dissertations ... and actually plagiarism is easy enough to spot if you read carefully enough and I've caught students in the past. (This is no doubt why I caught out this reviewer!) On academic courses, the punishment for it should be severe or our academic standards will be so severely undermined that any attempt to create "a knowledge-based society" will be laughable. But that means that lecturers have to maintain vigillance.

The Great Swifty said...

Yeah, being plagiarized is the worst feeling ever. I remember how some French dude stole some articles I wrote last year that's related to some anime series, translate it and post it on his own French-language website. Ignored me when I emailed him.

The Visitor said...

hey i reviewed Paco too! was there on the first nite.

usually we do lift some stuff off press releases or general info from the internet. but even then, it should be carefully reworded.

but a review should be an opinion of the writer, and therefore should consist of original thought.

bibliobibuli said...

eliar swiftfire - that must have been so frustrating
visitor - yeahlah, i know. i enjoyed your review very much - was going to write and tell you. Of course we read press releases and use the information ... but lifting from someone else's review is different because it is stealing opinions.
I don't read anyone else's review until I've drafted my piece because I want to know what I think before I want to know what anyone else thinks.

Chet said...

Maybe "Plagiarism is the New Journalism"?

With information so easily available online these days, it's easy to google for something, and get lots of info, and copy and paste for one's own use.

Used correctly, this could be helpful for someone doing a research paper, but used incorrectly, we get students submitting papers that they've copied from 101 places, which they don't understand at all, and incidents such as what Sharon has posted about.

And what about fiction works-in-progress? Maybe it's not a good idea at all to post writings online, as someone might steal them for their own. (Not that my writing is worth stealing.)

Apart from the fact that publishers will not look at something already "published" online.

Anna said...

Education system, process of thinking dead etc... What else will you try to bring up to justify the fact that most people get an education because it is a way of life, not a personal choice? Most people do not think. They try to fit before they even have started to discover and understand what they are made of: it is the new 'enslavement'. So sad, sadder than death itself.

Anna said...

Education system, process of thinking dead etc... What else will you try to bring up to justify the fact that most people get an education because it is a way of life, not a personal choice? Most people do not think. They try to fit before they even have started to discover and understand what they are made of: it is the new 'enslavement'. So sad, sadder than death itself.

Anna said...

Education system, process of thinking dead etc... What else will you try to bring up to justify the fact that most people get an education because it is a way of life, not a personal choice? Most people do not think. They try to fit before they even have started to discover and understand what they are made of: it is the new 'enslavement'. So sad, sadder than death itself.

Chet said...

Anna - who are you addressing your comment to?

Anna said...

Chet, my comment is addressed to those who think they know better! To those who believe they are smarter, better educated and therefore able to express better whatever. To be full of yourself is worse.. than death. To be and stay emotionally intelligent, that is all that matters to me (that means it is better to be a fool than a plagiarist or a Pavlov dogist!). Another comment, chet? Do not deprive myself of this, please... Ciao

Anonymous said...

How come you're picking this up ? it's because you're not a sub-editor. You're practically a lady of leisure, compared with most people in that industry. Your average sub-editor has a story coming in today, and due on the paper in a few days time. Also there are tons of stories, and you have to juggle that and ads and figure out the available space. Then you have to fact-check and practically design each day's paper. Deadlines are very tight, who's got time to check every online publication to see if it's plagiarism? this happens sometimes but what can you do about it? the venerable NYT had _whole_ stories completely faked, these things happen.

If anyone is at fault, it's the writer. So maybe you should email her instead (if the email address is listed.)

bibliobibuli said...

Yes, can appreciate what you're saying. But how hard is is to catch plagiarism? Maybe I'm quite well trained in it because of assessing students' writing, but even the quickest of glances revealed an inconsistency of style (elegantly turned prose cheek by jowl with grammatical errors and incomplete sentences) which is always an obvious sign.

Anonymous said...

It's not hard, but it's not really like a priority. It's not like the whole article was lifted or anything.. it's maybe one sentence or two, that happens more often than you think. It's true.. the first part and the second part are totally out of sync, but then again I write that way sometimes too. It was a judgment call anyway I think, and I guess expediency won.

bibliobibuli said...

Porty - we're talking about a review, for heaven's sake! If you can lift and cut and paste why bother with seeing a performance?? Plus it makes Malaysia a laughing stock when others around the world read and compare reviews as they do in this internet age. Mana ada standard?????

You're all for criticising novelists if they don't meet your exacting standards. I think you should be exacting about this too.