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Who Owns This Text?

Plagiarism, Authorship, and Disciplinary Cultures

Carol Peterson Haviland and Joan A. Mullin

Publication Year: 2009

Carol Haviland, Joan Mullin, and their collaborators report on a three-year interdisciplinary interview project on the subject of plagiarism, authorship, and “property,” and how these are conceived across different fields. The study investigated seven different academic fields to discover disciplinary conceptions of what types of scholarly production count as “owned.”

Less a research report than a conversation, the book offers a wide range of ideas, and the chapters here will provoke discussion on scholarly practice relating to intellectual property, plagiarism, and authorship---and to how these matters are conveyed to students. Although these authors find a good deal of consensus in regard to the ethical issues of plagiarism, they document a surprising variety of practice on the subject of what ownership looks like from one discipline to another. And they discover that students are not often instructed in the conventions of their major field.

Published by: Utah State University Press

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Introduction: Connecting Plagiarism, Intellectual Property, and Disciplinary Habits

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pp. 1-19

The concept of ownership has become increasingly important in the teaching of writing, particularly as university faculty members encourage students to study and write collaboratively and to use the increasingly rich and available range of electronic resources....

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1. Open Sourcery: Computer Science and the Logic of Ownership

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pp. 20-48

This chapter participates in an increasingly important and sometimes acrimonious debate over how texts can be best circulated, shared, and, when appropriate, owned. Of course, these issues of textual and now digital ownership are not new. They have grown up, in fact, alongside ...

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2. Collaborative Authorship in the Sciences: Anti-ownership and Citation Practices in Chemistry and Biology

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pp. 49-79

Some years ago at a national writing conference, researchers reported on a campus-wide study of faculty understandings of plagiarism: not only did they find that scientists rejected the use of quotation marks, but also they learned that verbatim copying from textbooks was fine ...

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3. Studying with Fieldworkers: Archaeology and Sociology

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pp. 80-104

Our study of fieldworkers emerges from the project outlined by this volume and a mutual interest in the role of discourse and writing in the creation of knowledge. We were curious about how scholars identify what is theirs and how these understandings inform their ...

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4. Appropriation, Homage, and Pastiche: Using Artistic Tradition to Reconsider and Redefine Plagiarism

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pp. 105-128

Artists who work in visual media have always built on a tradition of appropriation: painters can speak of impressionists because of common techniques or materials; interior designers can produce French country because they use particular furniture, objects, and patterned...

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5. Higher Education Administration Ownership, Collaboration, and Publication: Connecting or Separating the Writing of Administrators, Faculty, and Students?

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pp. 129-155

At regular intervals, scandals involving commencement addresses, speeches, and presentations by college presidents and other administrators are revealed to contain material “lifted” from other sources without attribution. Recently, there were the cases of Scott D. Miller, the president of Wesley College, ...

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Conclusion: Rethinking our Use of “Plagiarism”

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pp. 156-177

We began this research hoping that defining disciplinary ownership would lead us to richer understandings of plagiarism, collaboration, and intellectual property and thus to more effective ways of teaching students about these issues. And indeed it has. It also has demonstrated ...

Appendix A: Common Research Questions

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pp. 178-179

Appendix B: “Common Knowledge”

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pp. 180-184


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pp. 185-191


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pp. 192-194


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pp. 195-196

E-ISBN-13: 9780874217292
Print-ISBN-13: 9780874217285

Page Count: 196
Publication Year: 2009