Hard Work

Academic Heal Thyself

I’ve been blogging about integrity, cheating and the need to teach ethics at the university level.  I recently ran across an abstract of a paper written by two professors from McMaster University.  They had analyzed several hundred papers presented at a major academic conference and found 25% of the papers had minor problems with plagiarism, and 5% had significant problems with plagiarism. 

Let’s assume for a moment that the methodology of this paper was sound (as I was only able to access an abstract, I wasn’t able to review the methodology).  What does this say about the quality and rigour of academia? How on earth can we be worried about academic integrity among undergrad students, if our own practice as professors is this sloppy? 

It seems that we need to look inward to find at least part of the cause of the academic integrity issues facing North American Universities today. 

What am I going to do differently?  I guess I need to be a little more diligent in checking my references. I need to practice what I preach.

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2 replies »

  1. Maybe this behaviour is a predictable consequence of a flawed reward system that has, likely, exacted a small ocean’s worth of suffering from those who have entered into it. It’s not that academics think they can’t do something else: it’s that we don’t know how to back up.

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