Monday, September 14, 2009

Caught for Plagiarism

Two Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) lecturers Professor Turiman bin Suandi and Dr. Zoharah Omar have been caught out for plagiarism. They produced a reference book called Writing an Effective Resume six years ago, aimed at management students. A substantial part of the 64 page book was found to be "lifted" from several American university websites, including Harvard and Albion College.
It was unintentional ...
says UPM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Nik Mustapha R. Abdullah. These words shock me more than the fact the book was plagiarised!

No academic can ever make the excuse of ignorance or carelessness, since their whole training is in how to access, use and build on the intellectual property of others.

What example does this set for the cut-and-paste generation of students?

Postscript :

In today's Star :

One of the writers said she thought information was in the public domain and as such did not cite the article. (I would have shot my own students for making such an assumption! And public domain or not, do you pass off something that isn't yours as your own published work?)

But they did apparently apologise. That's more than other caught out Malaysian plagiarists have done.

(Alternative link since original piece seems to be down.)

31 comments:

bibliobibuli said...

Swept up comments on this post from Facebook

Sharon Nelson
Bloody hell! One hears the stories, but seeing it in print is rather a shock. But maybe it oughtn't to be. When I was working at the paper, my colleagues and I were really rattled at how many people didn't think twice about doing it. High-ranking writers using Amazon.comm for pete's sake.

Sonia Randhawa
i think the shock is more that the matter has been raised by the university at all. In a newslist once, an advert was posted to students, advertising essay writing services. I pointed out that this was if not illegal, bad for students and morally outrageous. I was told that this was encouraging students to 'work smart, not work hard'. And once when... Read more I pulled a writer up for plagiarism - i'd asked her to explain a paragraph from one of her chapters and she'd told me that she'd copied it from somewhere and didn't really understand it - she retorted that 'that's not plagiarism, that's research'.

Anonymous said...

"It was unintentional...We didn't intend to get caught out!"

Hahaha! Tiru-man, bukan Turiman lah!

- Poppadumdum

Anonymous said...

UPM - University of Plagiarists Malaysia?

- Poppadumdum

Rob Spence said...

It's a plague, is plagiarism. At undergraduate level, the use of turnitin and other plagiarism detection software has been successful - where I work, there has been a noticeable decline in plagiarised work since we required students to use turnitin.
At the staff level, though, it's more difficult to detect, and, as you say, unforgivable. All plagiarists use either the "it was unintentional" line or the "I didn't realise" line. Professors can't, obviously, get away with the second approach, but they shouldn't get away with the first either.

ah pong said...

i wonder if they know that it is plain WRONG?

i know that human beings have this instinct to cheat (fake antiques, paintings , jewelleries , bad durians ...lawyers...politicians ) but i thought academics have somewhat higher moral compass... but i guess i'm wrong.

Anonymous said...

Salary of average University professor = 30K a month. Condo+car in good neighborhood = 600K.

After ten years of work, there's no reason why they shouldn't plagiarize. What's the worst that could happen, they would lose their jobs? and their reputations? so what, they can afford to live for several lifetimes.

Anonymous said...

Academics are like dropouts who can't hack it in the real world...so they escape to their I-Worry-less Towers and do research on totally useless subjects - eg "Elements of style in Austen" or "Pretentiousness and Twattery in James's Novels" or "The Windmills of Don Quixote: Real or Hallucinatory?" etc etc...

:-)))

- Poppadumdum

Anonymous said...

.. for which they are paid several king's ransoms. And the people we really depend on to survive are paid peanuts. Such is life.

Rob Spence said...

You're saying Malaysian academics get 360k a year - so, something like £60k? Wow, I should start looking for a job in KL. You would have to be a senior, experienced academic of professorial rank to get anywhere near that in the UK. Just had a quick look at Malaysian University websites, and, interestingly, they tend to say "attractive remuneration package" rather than actually state the salary. Curious.

Anonymous said...

Wrong info. The salary is around RM12,000 (Professor), 7 - 10K (Assoc Prof). Tak tau jangan pandai-pandai cakap da...

YTSL said...

Shame on them -- the plagiarists and the UPM vice chancellor, all of whom should know better.

Remember "kepimpinan melalui tauladan"? Guess that's history and thus no longer something to live by and/or aspire to.

Glenda Larke said...

As the wife of a university prof at the end of his career, I took a look at that 30K figure and wondered just what imaginary paradise anon No.1 was from.

I also wonder about the intelligence of commentators who seem so easily to go from "2 profs cheated" to "all professors are..."

Anonymous said...

Do I detect an element of racism in Popadumdum's irrational delight?

Two UPM professors allegedly plagiarised something and the whole university gets the mud. Plagiarism is more rampant than simpletons like that realise. Recently, an eminent editor here in KL was caught plagiarising, award winning writers in the US have been caught with hand on someone else's quill, a 'bright' creative writing student (a woman of Indian origin in the States, if Popadumdum must know). was caught plagiarising, and even Obama's great big book is said to have been written by someone else (clue: Minuteman).

Please keep your insane schadenfreude to your own dum dum frying pan.

But needless to say, it is regrettable that this has happened. But their careers have forever been blighted. Enough said.

-Biblioklept

Anonymous said...

That's right - reduce EVERYTHING to race. It's the best defence for wrongdoers, isn't it? "It was all a racist plot against me!"

- Poppadumdum

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's a really unfair comment about academics being dropouts who can't "hack it" in the real world, and whose research is therefore "totally useless." I myself couldn't disagree more, but I'm surprised no one else has stood up to defend academics. I mean, I'm not an academic myself; I just happen to think it's terribly simplistic to divide the world between those who do "useless" work and those on whom we "depend" to "survive." I mean really, who exactly are these people on whom we depend for our survival who get paid a pittance?

I don't even know where to start with the rest of the attack, it's so full of holes and I don't have all day.

But at least get your facts right. In the US, academics earn less per hour than postmen, and I can't imagine the situation is all that different in Malaysia.

-- Preeta

Anonymous said...

I wonder what the topic of Zoharah Omar's PhD thesis is and if pages from it have lifted from public domain. As long as plagiarists suffers just an unwilling tap on the wrist (for having been found out), plagiarism will continue here.

saras

Oxymoron said...

I once had to do a tough essay where I quoted large chunks from another source. I was struggling to rewrite it in my own words. But everything I used was properly indexed. I lost marks for that but I passed! :)

bibliobibuli said...

oxymoron - you did the right thing by citing source anyway

saras - what would you do with 'em? string 'em up from a gibbet?

i reckon the public embarrassment is the best punishment and bet that why UPM let the info come out.

Anonymous said...

...."“The junior author, who recently completed her PhD, said that since
the source was from the Internet, she thought the information was in
the public domain and as such did not cite the article,” he said...."

what a cunt!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, I wonder if that supermodel of Malaysia study with these professors too, you know, like, that girl with her chocolate cake poem?

Anonymous said...

The book is actually written by the junior author,I think she should be the one who bare the consequences.

By the way,who said that academics are like dropouts from the real world?It's just that you don't understand doesn't mean that it's useless.What you comment unnecessarily is much more useless.

bibliobibuli said...

"Bare the consequences?" LOL

"What you comment unnecessarily is much more useless."

Maybe it's just that you aren't very coherent?

And please whichever anon that was - no offensive language on my blog.

Am an academic too and have always worked v hard and have never been a drop out from the real world - neither have my colleagues. Not v well paid neither.

Anonymous said...

I am an academic. And I am from UPM. I agree that plagiarism should not be tolerated and as academics, we should know better. But to accuse all the "academics being dropouts who can't "hack it" in the real world, and whose research is therefore "totally useless" only because of the ignorance of one individual is just plain unfair. Also, to correct some really wrong information that was probably not being properly researched, we are not rich people. Most of us work very hard to educate the next generation that is going to be our future leaders because we believe that we can help make a difference.

bibliobibuli said...

anon from UPM - yes the colossal ignorance of the previous anon (lot of you anons around) makes a big clangy noise, doesn't it. he's clearly talking through his bum. and loving it that he gets people angry.

last warning, previous anon. comment moderation is once again imminent.

Anonymous said...

ai...jangan la moderate ...freedom of expression is at it's best in this blog (almost)...

Obefiend Weiland said...

hey sharon

as we all seen before malaysian plagiarisers always gets away with it

that datin actress came out unscathe even after her plagiarising ways was exposed to all. she even got the guts to accuse people of having no life when they tore her book prose by prose

sigh

internet justice is the only way to go! name and shame them.

Jordan said...

Having taught English at a university in Malaysia and a college in China, I'm not one bit surprised by any of this. Sad.

kesian la ipta said...

Hey Sharon,

Great site you have here:).

I'm an academic too at the local uni. In the name of all those of us who work hard to not be smeared by kangkong profs/phd holders such as these two all-time losers, I am glad they've been caught out!!! Working alongside kangkongs like these make me puke everyday at work.

The "warning" that's given to a phd holder (she skipped the 'citation' workshop and got her phd? tsk..tsk..tsk LOL!) and a prof-level (kangkong-brand, no wonder) further embossed in shiny bold letters the already flies-ridden quality of local academics at IPTAs... adoi...mana to letak muka brader prof! ahaks!

Anonymous said...

Can somebody please tell me who coined the phrase 'Kangkung Prof'?

Amir Muhammad said...

Not sure if he actually coined it, but I first came across the phrase in a Shahnon Ahmad interview over a decade ago.

tin sardin said...

well..had worked with the junior author before as one of her tortured staff, this so called 'incident' shud make her get a good grasp of reality by now. jgn syiok sendiri..my 2 cents