Have I been plagiarized? If so, what do I do?
March 4, 2014 3:14 AM Subscribe
I wrote a lengthy scholarly article last year, put a preprint of it on my university's institutional repository, and thought no more about it. In January this year, a British journalist published a piece of popular military history with a major British trade press that appears to contain about 6 pages of very, very
close summary and paraphrase of my article. What to do?
posted by Sonny Jim to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I know the author read my article because he refers to it in the endnotes about 6 times. The problem is that he does this in a way that minimizes the debt he owes to it. My article includes quite a few extended passages from soldiers' letters and diaries and he's appropriated these for his own text, in most cases (though not always) with an endnote in the form of "quoted in [Sonny Jim] 2013, p. xx." Fair enough. What concerns me is that he's also reproduced my interpretation of these passages as well, this time without acknowledgement. There are two paragraphs in particular where he closely summarizes arguments I make in the paper and this time there are no endnotes to tell the reader he got these arguments from somewhere else.
The problem for me is that I spent about 3 years researching this paper and I want to extend it into a book. Now that someone else (with a much higher profile than me) appears to be passing off my main arguments as though they're either his own or common knowledge, I'm less confident I can pitch the book project to an academic press.
So, where do I go from here? I'm not an historian, so I don't know, but ... is this the kind of practice that academic historians expect from popularisers? Is this even considered plagiarism in the history field, or is it just ignored or tolerated? As part of the publication process, I assigned copyright in the article to the university press that publishes the journal, if that's at all relevant. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!