I haven’t spoken a great deal about the Jane Goodall plagiarism scandal. I have written two other articles for other sites already that touch on or cover the scandal, both of which should be live soon, but I’ve been oddly quiet about it here.
To briefly recap the scandal, in March, an article in the Washington Post detailed unattributed passages in Goodall’s new book “Seeds of Hope: Wisom and Wonderf From the World of Plants”. The Post found over a dozen passages and quotes that Goodall included in her book, presenting it as her own work and her own interviews, only to have the Post learn they first appeared elsewhere.
Goodall responded to the allegations by saying that she would work to correct the record in future editions and also talk about the problems on her blog. However, as of today, approximately two weeks after the initial discovery, no post has been made.
Michel Moynihan at The Daily Beast dug into the book deeper finding still more passages and issues that lacked proper attribution and also raised significant questions about the quality of the sources used in the book.
As the dust began to settle, Goodall’s publisher, Grand Central, delayed the book to fix the issues. Though Grand Central hasn’t said when the book will be released, they did say that, “We will work closely with Dr. Goodall to make sure the book deliversy on every level. We remain proud to be her publisher.”
Though I grew up a big fan of Jane Goodall and respect her career, which includes over 5 decades of work, the scandal itself isn’t what worries me. Instead, it’s the response to it, or rather, the lack thereof.
While I don’t necessarily think that what Goodall did should wipe out the good work she has done in her careers, it seems that many are letting her name and reputation dictate the conversation around her actions rather than the actions themselves.
This could, potentially, create a very dangerous precedent for the cases that will inevitably follow.Continue Reading