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Ethical dilemma

  1. Nov 24, 2008 #1
    I'm studying Parkinson's disease for a project assigned in class. During my research, I came across two articles published three days apart, the former from a research group detailing one of their studies and the latter from the BBC. They discuss completely separate aspects of the disease and have nothing to do with each other, but the BBC article copies nearly word for word a section from the research article that lays out a basic description of the disease. It's been nearly seven months since the BBC article was published. Should I just ignore this possible case of plagiarism or should I send an email to the BBC?

    I don't imagine anything worthwhile will happen, except that the necessary citation might be added. It's probably not worth the effort, but I was hoping for some advice either way, because I can't make up my mind.

  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 24, 2008 #2
    If you feel inclined to do so, then send them a letter. A proper citation goes a long way, since then people know who really wrote that part and more importantly that same "author" could still be plagiarizing other people and s/he should be punished for it.

    It's not "taddling" because you are contacting the people that did it wrong to give them a shot at fixing their mistake. If they still don't, then you should probably contact the people who originally wrote the article.
  4. Nov 24, 2008 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    You should contact them and let them know that the author of the story plagiarized the paragraph. You would be doing them a favor, they could get sued.
  5. Nov 24, 2008 #4


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    Considering the nature, I'm probably sure even the BBC copied off someone else. If it's considered general, then it will not be considered "plagiarism".

    I wouldn't even bother if it's just a basic paragraph. That's like copying word for word a theorem to use in your work. It's basic.
  6. Nov 26, 2008 #5


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    I'm with JasonRox on this. I wouldn't be surprised if both articles pulled the basic description from the same third source. Both should cite the source for the description, but it sounds like the basic description is background info the reader needs to know (if they didn't already) in order to understand the articles.
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