September 22nd, 2022
Wotta Shocker.

A plagiarist guilty of massive amounts of plagiarism turns out to be guilty of even more. What makes Paul McCrory super-plus appetizing is that it’s all been in the service of keeping concussed athletes on the field.

June 22nd, 2022
Australian Plagiarist John Hughes: THE RUNNING TAB, as of June 22, 2022.

Plagiarism, as I’ve told you a million times, is a boring, endemic affair — so endemic, in most of the world, that it’s only mentioned at the very tippy-top. Prime Minister, President, King, Pope, Archbishop, Star Of Stage and Screen – maybe someone will try to make something of that. But probably not. Probably not even that. Plagiarism is a non-event, like graft.

There’s still a tiny slice of the world – the US, Europe, Australia – where people actually seem to give a shit if intellectuals and scientists and artists plagiarize. They seem to think there’s something wrong with stealing someone else’s work – ideas, creative vision, words – and passing it off as one’s own.

Piles and piles of plagiarism go unperceived — there’s so much of it — but on a regular basis some idiot performs such prolific and high-profile copying that it’s not only discovered. It becomes a story.

Such is the ongoing saga of novelist John Hughes, who at this writing has, in his latest novel, plagiarized from F Scott Fitzgerald, Svetlana Alexievich, Tolstoy, Remarque, Eric Newby, WB Sebald, Amos Oz, Loren Eiseley, Saul Bellow, and Nadezhda Mandel’shtam. You and I know that still lurking in his pages are… Let’s see. He seems to like angst-ridden early/mid twentieth century fiction tossed with a petit goût of global conflict … Look for Thomas Mann, for goodness sake, and Günter Grass and Iris Murdoch for starters… If there aren’t some decoupled Auden couplets somewhere in there my name ain’t University Diaries

June 17th, 2022

I’ve told you a million times that no one’s a onetime plagiarist. Find one instance of plagiarism in someone’s work, and I promise, there’s tons more where that came from.

We recently covered the case of the Australian novelist who plagiarized – a lot – from Nobelist Svetlana Alexievich in his latest novel. This discovery inspired a yet closer look at the work, and gevalt.

[The novel has been found] to contain sections that were nearly identical to extracts from the Great Gatsby [and] Anna Karenina, [as well as the] Nobel laureate’s nonfiction work.

The guy’s still lying about it, which is unusual. All plagiarists begin by denying it, and then, in a day or two, they say ah fuck yeah I did it. This guy continues lying through his teeth.

June 10th, 2022
Hugely plagiarized book by person who lies about having done it intentionally…

… is withdrawn from contention for a literary prize.

June 9th, 2022
‘The verbatim takes from my book are outrageous.’

That’s one word for it. Others that come to mind: Contemptible. Sickening. Lowest of the low. And above all: Unbelievably stupid.

When you add to this the fact that one of history’s most disgusting and prolific plagiarists continues to lie out of his lying ass about not at all having intentionally plagiarized huge gobs of his novel, you have to conclude that the Nobel laureate the fucker plagiarized (that’s her reaction to the extensive theft in my headline) was far too mild in her use of the word outrageous.

Consider also the sacred nature of the subject matter in (of course) both books: The unspeakable suffering of women during the Second World War. I mean, why don’t I just lift actual agonized testimony and stick it in my work and call myself its author.

Let’s sweeten the pot even more: The plagiarist has been nominated for Australia’s highest literary prize.

And why do I say stupid?

How many times must I explain this to you. If you are going to plagiarize, you need to squirrel around until you find an entirely obscure book published in 1923 in another language… The book has been moldering on the shelves of the Lower East Winnipeg Public Library for generations, waiting for you to translate it and publish it as a work of fiction written by yourself. Get it? Let’s review: Author long dead so not able to read your plagiarism and label it outrageous. Author totally obscure so not a Nobel laureate everyone is going to pay attention to. Crossover from one language to another just to make absolutely certain no one will find the plagiarized source. Are you getting all of this down?

May 10th, 2022
At least the Duke plagiarist put shoes on those feet. The original quoted material was kind of gross.

Plagiarizing a momentous, hugely public, sure to be filmed and widely broadcast, commencement speech runs all sorts of obvious risks. Take the Canadian med school dean, some of whose audience, quickly identifying the source of the talk while he talked, started reading along out loud from the original as he shared poignant personal memories.

More recently, there’s the Arab-origin student speaker at Duke who found another Arab-origin student commencement speaker – this one from Harvard – and just went ahead and pilfered/proclaimed aloud all of her private thoughts/memories.

So at the Duke Chronicle you’ve got two stories covering this curious affair: The first adoringly applauds an intimate evocation of minority angst; then, fast on the heels of the rave review comes a cold clinical side by side analysis of the two speeches with the obligatory yellow highlighting.


The foot thing? The Harvard lass quoted an Arab-American writer who described how we learn:

“…running barefoot, the skin of our feet collecting sand and seeds and rocks and grass until we had shoes, shoes made of everything we’d picked up as we ran.”

This seems to ol’ UD a singularly icky bit of writing, featuring little logic and mucho weirdness – shoes made of sand seeds rocks and grass? getting stones between your toes as a learning experience? – but okay, the Harvard speaker quotes it, and then revises and extends:

“[Sarah] Abushaar related the quote to her and her fellow graduates’ four years of “running through Harvard Yard” where the “skin of [their] feet [collected] a world of experiences.”

Still don’t like it. Skin of our feet? Still kinda dumb and gross.

Who cares. But Priya Parkash cleans it up nicely:

“Over the last four years, the sole[s] of our shoes have collected a world of experiences…”

Babe, she doesn’t even go there — she sees what UD saw, which is that the whole bare feet crunching down on stones that somehow enrich our experience thing doesn’t work, so as she plagiarizes through the document she brings a bit more sense to the metaphor or parable or whatever it is. She puts shoes on those feet.


Still, once you’ve walked a mile very much inside someone else’s moccasins, there will be serious implications, especially when you’ve gone and made Duke, already a little shaky when it comes to its status vis-a-vis schools like Harvard, feel positively parkinsonian.


Not that you can’t make poetry out of retentive feet.

And whence they came and whither they shall go
The dew upon their feet shall manifest.

I’d have plagiarized that.

May 6th, 2022
‘Peru Prosecutors to Probe Plagiarism claim against President’

Alliteration-wise, this is good; but we can do better.


? Something like that? … Anyway, it’s fun to see the dude pushing all the buttons everyone else in a high position pushes: This is a nefarious plot to bring down his utopia of joy and justice; standards for scholarship were different then; it was duly vetted and passed by a thesis committee and then a rigorous group of examiners; cheap gotchas like this tarnish the dignity of all Peruvians…

April 5th, 2022
“What I’ve learned from my ten years of plagiarizing.”

“As I depart WNYC and the Gothamist, I want to share with you lessons I’ve learned from my ten (amazing!) years of plagiarizing articles.

First: You can get away with it! After having me on the staff for ten years, they found four plagiarized pieces only six months ago, and nothing much happened. In fact, I was reassigned to “mentor staff members.” LOLOL.

Second: You can only get away with it for so long before you do have to sue. Recently, a squad of people has been investigating everything I’ve (let’s go with “I’ve”) written over a decade, which is so unfair because I’ve been plagiarizing all that time! So I’m slapping New York Public Radio with a lawsuit for racism.

Wish me luck!”

March 13th, 2022
‘Sports concussion expert who resigned amid plagiarism claims accused of copying more articles’

Wotta shocker.

March 11th, 2022
Mimi Goes Public

In this post about UNC’s plagiarizing vice chancellor FOR RESEARCH, UD expressed amazement that “ninnies” at Chapel Hill let the guy get off with a slap on the wrist.

But then, thought she, he’s a honcho, he brings in the bucks, it’s the southland, he sports expensive suits, he’s in good with the boys’ club, blahbiddyblahblah…

How could UD have known about Mimi Chapman, who speaks for UNC’s faculty? Thirty minutes after someone high up in the administration – someone who knows how to read – read this letter from her, The Kay M. & Van L. Weatherspoon Eminent Distinguished Professor of Genetics packed up his y chromosomes and went home.

Let’s take a peek!

Over the last few days, faculty members from all over the University have contacted me about the current situation with our Vice Chancellor for Research, concerned that Vice Chancellor Magnuson has not stepped down from his position. As a faculty, we believe that this situation has the potential to taint our own scholarship and gives the impression that some members of our community are “untouchable” while for others such a situation would be a career-ender. Every hour, I have been hoping that an announcement would come so that I would not have to make this statement. But that has not happened and here we are.

… [P]lease resolve this situation in the interests of the institution and out of respect to this faculty with all deliberate speed.

Scathing Online Schoolmarm says: Brava! I see no reason to stick quotation marks around untouchable, but with this small correction the letter is perfect. And it seems to have accomplished its goal. It has disrupted the sausage party at the top and reminded the guys that somewhere hidden among the sports programs at UNC is a faculty, and it can be quite ugly when provoked.


And as for the institution-embarrassing miscreant himself, he opts for the I’m Too Good for this World defense, stunning all of us with his life-saving achievements, which leave so little room for him to notice that he steals from multiple sources in grant applications. It’s a “teachable moment,” he piously informs us, forgetting to add that it’s only a teachable moment for people like him, who plagiarize.

March 9th, 2022
Chapel Hill’s Eminent Distinguished Plagiarist

The recent academic history of UNC Chapel Hill is really stinky — just a shitload of scandals — so you might think faculty and administrators there would be superduper careful not to add to the world’s growing sense that a once-respectable school has become a cesspool. But the awesomely titled vice-chancellor — FOR RESEARCH — a man not only eminent, but also distinguished, has been outed as a plagiarist.

In a grant application … but you and I know that soon enough many other instances of his plagiarism will be uncovered… though he seems to have convinced the ninnies at Chapel Hill that this is his one and only eminent distinguished theft from multiple sources, cuz they’re not really punishing the dude.


Remember UD‘s tripartite plagiarism scheme (refresh your memory here). In this instance, we have Category One: ATELIER. Dude’s simply too esteemed and illustrious to bother writing his own grant applications or (UD feels certain we’ll discover) research papers, etc., etc. He relies on an atelier, his very own workshop of Santa’s elves, to do all his work for him, and he has fallen victim to the same thing all the other busybusybusy atelier-overseers (see oodles of Harvard law professors) fall victim to – he doesn’t review the work that goes out under his name. If you’re going to oversee, you need to oversee!

In short: I didn’t plagiarize! The dumb-dumbs that plagiarize on my behalf plagiarized. I give you my pledge: There’s gonna be a helluva shakeup on my staff and the new crew will know how to plagiarize and not get caught.


Mr UD: “A reasonable punishment would be a fifty percent reduction in his adjectives. He’s currently the Kay M. & Van L. Weatherspoon Eminent Distinguished Professor of Genetics. The choice is his, but he must lose either Eminent or Distinguished.”


Update: Yeah. Well. Initial reports that he’d get a slap on the wrist sounded way dumb to ol’ UD, and, as she suggests up there in this post, you don’t deal with a plagiarist in that way. You fire a plagiarist. Esp. one in charge of research for the whole school! Mamma mia.

And that is now what has happened.

March 6th, 2022
Dr Paul McCrory has now been repeatedly concussed…

… by legitimate scholars uncovering his long history of plagiarized sports-injury research.

One could dismiss this jerk as one more no-account, plagiarism-addicted nonentity, except that he’s actually a very high-profile, influential concussion-enthusiast, always in search of ways to justify letting concussed athletes keep playing.

Finally cornered, he’s letting out with all sorts of explanations and apologies (UD has no idea why he’s not blaming underlings, but as more of his plagiarism is discovered, McCrory will no doubt take this time-honored route), and he’s removing himself – or being removed – from this and that committee. Let’s see if the scummy schools and organizations keeping him on board will… keep him on board.

January 19th, 2022
Ay, Romania, Romania, Romania, Romania, RoMANia!

Let us sing of a country all of whose prime ministers (well, more than a few) plagiarize their dissertations – dissertations written merely, it seems, to append DR to their names.

Seldom has the search for respectability led so many to such disreputability.

Indeed Romania’s current prime minister (in 2012, this blog covered the last plagiarizing prime minister) is plausibly accused of plagiarizing a third of his military thesis.

That’s a bit less than the 2012 guy plagiarized, so bravo…

And yet… UD has been writing about plagiarism long enough to know that when the given figure is a third, the actual figure is probably… Just making a rough calculation here… Let’s see… Uh… Yes. Got it: — The real figure is one hundred percent.


UPDATE: Amusing motive-explanation here.

January 18th, 2022
Lift Every Voice and Press SEND

A reader alerts UD to a University of Kansas provost who plagiarized the MLK Day inspirational message he sent to everyone at the university. “If you want to go technically, then yes,” he replied when asked whether he did it, shaming all us tight-asses who care more about the trivial technicality of stealing other people’s words than the wild sweeping grandeur of uplifting sentiment.

D.A. Graham highlights “communications specialist,” “integrity leader,” “and “Adjunct Faculty: Writing” on his LinkedIn page.


UPDATE: Lift every voice, press SEND, and resign. Respectable schools keep a very close eye on their reputation (except when it comes to sports, of course). Kansas is a very good school, and will fire people who bring it into academic disrepute.

A provost who sends plagiarized material out to the entire school under his own signature belongs at a school like (cough) West Liberty. West Liberty retains a plagiarist president. Reputable schools won’t even let a provost get away with it.

January 8th, 2022
Octoplagindigeneity Among the Quandamooka

There’s indigenous “story weaving,” and there’s weaving together an academic article by plagiarizing from eight sources.

Eight? As I’ve learned over years of blogging about plagiarism, the number is probably closer to twenty.

Particularly contemptible in this case is Sandra Delaney plundering multiple unpublished dissertation theses. Stealing from young people who’ve not even gotten a chance to have their voices heard is really disgusting. Kill them when they’re just out of the womb.

Brutal colonization among those who make their living denouncing colonialism. A commenter at Retraction Watch writes: “One of the most ironic cases of plagiarism ever.”

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