Some readers may not know that I also write a gardening blog: charamongarden.wordpress.com – soon to become “West Texas Gardener.” I work really hard to write informative posts about raising vegetables in our challenging conditions (dry climate, alkaline soil, wind, and these days triple-digit heat). I also read and subscribe to other organic gardening blogs. More and more I am seeing something that, when I was teaching, would have earned my students an automatic failing grade: plagiarism. The practice of stealing someone’s research, writing, etc., and posting it in your blog without giving credit is reprehensible. It’s simply another form of theft.
Recently, I read a blog and realized that the contents probably couldn’t have been the words of the blogger. So, I took a suspect phrase, entered it into Google and voila! There it was under the original author’s name. Further digging revealed that several bloggers had made unauthorized use of the same article! I re-read the blog I had opened just to make sure I had not missed the reference or the credit and, regretfully, it was not there.
To write informative blogs, we all have to do some research. It is only right, however, to give credit to the sources of research quoted. In the above case, the thief merely cut from the original author and pasted into his post as if it was his own work…no quotation marks, no footnotes, no nothin’. I call it dishonest and lazy.
I read voraciously about organic gardening, especially if it deals with gardening in hot, dry climates and alkaline soils. Information gleaned from years of research gets stirred up in my little gray cells, blends with my own experience and comes out in my writing, sometimes within the hour, sometimes years later. But one thing I will promise you: I will not knowingly quote someone’s research without giving credit. And, I certainly will not “cut and paste.” That just wouldn’t be right.