Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Professor Gil Troy Watch

Everybody's favourite American history professor at McGill is embroiled in a plagiarism scandal! Well, sort of...

Slate's Jack Shafer reports:
U.S. News & World Report chief political correspondent Roger Simon deeply admires the work of McGill University professor of history Gil Troy. Simon has quoted him in at least five U.S. News pieces since the summer of 1999 and in another four articles between February 1998 and February 1999 in the Chicago Tribune, Simon's previous publication.

But in last week's U.S. News, Simon took his admiration of Troy a tad too far. In the second paragraph of "Kerry's Coronation Ball," Simon paraphrased without attribution—some would say plagiarized—an equal-size portion of Troy's See How They Ran: The Changing Role of the Presidential Candidate (1996, revised ed.).
Some would say "plagiarized," but I wouldn't. Simon was lazy and didn't attribute as he should have, but I think this catch-the-journalist game is going a wee bit far now. Troy's got it right:
Professor Troy explains via e-mail that he tends to gives journalists more "slack" than students or colleagues in this realm because space and time restraints often don't permit them to footnote their work adequately. He also confesses to a reservoir of good will toward Simon, who is an obvious devotee of See How They Ran and who has quoted him repeatedly. But in a phone interview, Troy says that under current academic standards it would be "unacceptable" if a student did what Simon did as a part of his coursework without footnoting the book or putting it in his bibliography.


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