Friday, November 30, 2007

Harvard chronicles: Outsourcing of scholarship

Jacob Hale Russell has a pretty damning article about how some Harvard professors outsource the hard work of scholarship to their underlings. Charles Ogletree, Alan Dershowitz, Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Roland Fryer are some of the biggies mentioned in the article. Here's Russell's strongest case -- that of Ogletree:

In September 2004, Charles Ogletree, a professor at Harvard Law School, found himself having to admit that his latest book, All Deliberate Speed, contained six paragraphs lifted verbatim from a book by Yale professor Jack Balkin, What “Brown v. Board of Education” Should Have Said. Equally surprising was the fact that Ogletree hadn’t known about the plagiarism, which occurred in a passage about the history of desegregation efforts, until he was told of it by Balkin himself.

“I accept full responsibility for this error,” Ogletree said in a statement. But some readers of that statement might have gotten a different impression: Ogletree attributed the plagiarism to two research assistants: “Material from Professor Jack Balkin’s book … was inserted … by one of my assistants for the purpose of being reviewed, researched, and summarized by another research assistant with proper attribution … Unfortunately, the second assistant, under the pressure of meeting a deadline, inadvertently deleted this attribution and edited the text as though it had been written by me. The second assistant then sent a revised draft to the publisher.”

It was a curious admission. In other words, at least some of Ogletree’s manuscript was sent to his publisher without having been read by the person supposed to have written it. ...

Somewhere in the middle, Harvard's policy on plagiarism is also excepted:

Students who, for whatever reason, submit work either not their own or without clear attribution to its sources will be subject to disciplinary action, and ordinarily required to withdraw from the College.


  1. Wavefunction said...

    Umm...isn't Dershowitz himself suspected of plagiarism?