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Help Please! Damp Squib

opinions on tenses/POV?

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E G Logan

Full Member
Nov 11, 2018
Liguria, Italy
How was this possible? How could to many people be wilfully blind to so much? Whose job was basic checking, and why was no one doing it?

It began, as Publishers Lunch on 6 March put it:
"David B. Agus, MD, author of THE BOOK OF ANIMAL SECRETS, which was scheduled for publication by Simon & Schuster tomorrow, will recall the book amidst plagiarism concerns".

Citing "numerous issues regarding the text of The Book of Animal Secrets by David B. Agus, MD" publisher Simon & Schuster "has ceased distribution of all formats of the book and advised our retail and distribution partners to return copies of the book".

The publisher's statement continued: "Dr. Agus has decided, with our full support, to recall the book, at his own expense, until a fully revised and corrected edition can be released, and which Dr. Agus is currently working on. We do not currently have a projected publication date for the new version of the book."

Dr Agus said in a statement, via S&S: "I was recently made aware that in writing 'The Book of Animal Secrets' we relied upon passages from various sources without attribution, and that we used other authors’ words. I want to sincerely apologize to the scientists and writers whose work or words were used or not fully attributed."

It didn't end there.

The Los Angeles Times newspaper subsequently investigated Dr Agus' previous books, and found, the paper claims, more than 120 instances of plagiarism in THE END OF ILLNESS, A SHORT GUIDE TO A LONG LIFE, and THE LUCKY YEARS, all published by S&S.

Agus 'co-wrote' his books with 'co-author' Kristin Loberg. By 17 March she had given a statement to the LA Times. "I accept complete responsibility for any errors my work may have contained. I apologize from the bottom of my heart to the authors, publishers, creators of works that were not appropriately credited..."

Agus replied: "I am grateful that my collaborator has confirmed that I did not contribute to, nor was I aware of, any of the plagiarized or non-attributed passages in my books."

According to the LA Times, "at least 95 passages appeared to be copied from other uncredited sources, sometimes word for word" in THE BOOK OF ANIMAL SECRETS. It reported that: "Some of the matching passages go on for multiple pages. Scores of paragraphs are near-exact copies of other people’s work. [My bolding] Few of those original authors are credited in Agus’ books..."

Where did these original words come from? According to the paper, "published material, including newspaper and magazine stories, scientific journal articles, popular science books, Wikipedia and blogs."

Publishers Lunch reports that Loberg is "a widely-used co-author and collaborator, with 13 books published by S&S". That publisher said in a recent statement, "We will review each of these books and where appropriate take action."

Equally ominously, Penguin Random House and Harper Collins told the LA Times that they have also begun reviewing books Loberg worked on. The newspaper says: "Loberg is credited as the co-author or collaborator on at least 45 books currently on the market..."

Today, Loberg's website is completely blank.
 
One of the first things we teach to students is referencing and source attribution. Theses go through plagiarism software, and we call them up. We dock marks. So, even if it was his co-author who plagiarised, someone of Dr Agus' credentials has zero excuse. Also, if he is an expert in the fields he publishes on, if he read Loberg's contributions, surely he should recognise some of the stolen passages?
 
Quoting Source: Corinne Purtill, LA Times (the Agus investigator):

The book also leans heavily on uncredited material from smaller and lesser-known outlets. A section in the book on queen ants appears to use several sentences from an Indiana newspaper column by a retired medical writer. Long sections of a chapter on the cardiac health of giraffes appear to have been lifted from a 2016 blog post on the website of a South African safari company titled, “The Ten Craziest Facts You Should Know About a Giraffe.”

The book also takes sentences written or spoken by other scientists and presents them as Agus’ original thoughts.

“At the moment, even in mice which have been genetically engineered to have the plaques associated with Alzheimer’s Disease, there are no tangles and very little damage to brain cells,” Simon Lovestone, a professor of translational neuroscience at the University of Oxford, said in a 2017 interview with Oxford University’s news service about a study he led. “This makes it difficult to find new targets for curing the disease, as well as studying how a potential drug can change the disease. But if altered insulin signaling can make an animal more susceptible to Alzheimer’s Disease, we might be able [to] produce mice that are a true model of the disease, which we can then test to find new treatments.”

Those sentences appear nearly verbatim in Agus’ book, with no mention of Lovestone or the university’s news release.

In a 2011 paper in the Journal of Pain, the authors wrote: “Pain acceptance involves accepting what cannot be changed, reducing unsuccessful attempts at eliminating pain, and engaging in valued activities despite pain. Studies have shown that individuals with high levels of pain acceptance report significantly lower levels of pain, psychological distress, and pain-related disability.”

Agus’ own chapter on pain management includes the following passage on Page 272: “This entails accepting what cannot be changed, reducing unsuccessful attempts at eliminating pain, and engaging in valued activities despite pain. Multiple studies have proven that over time, individuals with higher levels of pain acceptance — more optimism — tend to report significantly lower levels of pain and pain-related disability.” There is no reference to the journal article in the text or its endnotes.
 
One of the first things we teach to students is referencing and source attribution. Theses go through plagiarism software, and we call them up. We dock marks. So, even if it was his co-author who plagiarised, someone of Dr Agus' credentials has zero excuse. Also, if he is an expert in the fields he publishes on, if he read Loberg's contributions, surely he should recognise some of the stolen passages?
Absolutely.

I think that once Loberg had one or two well-placed recommendations, 'co-authors' took her work at face value, and did not bother to check.

Publishers likewise.

It's what was going on in Loberg's head that really puzzles me. How could she expect to get away with it? And to continue doing so for certainly the most recent however-many of her 45 books.
After all, she knew where she took the stuff from – OMG, Wikipedia! – and that it wasn't credited. Or reworked/rewritten in any way that would have made it not a word for word steal.

Such attributions as there were, were presumably for 'borrowings' from well-known academic sources that Agus and his peers would recognise straight away.

What a mess.
 
the fact that it would have been so easy to check for plagiarism is what bothers me-- there's dozens of sites and apps you can just put your text into, and it'll tell you not only if it's plagiarized directly, but even show you passages that are just similar. this could have been fixed in like half an hour.
 
How was this possible? How could to many people be wilfully blind to so much? Whose job was basic checking, and why was no one doing it?

It began, as Publishers Lunch on 6 March put it:
"David B. Agus, MD, author of THE BOOK OF ANIMAL SECRETS, which was scheduled for publication by Simon & Schuster tomorrow, will recall the book amidst plagiarism concerns".

Citing "numerous issues regarding the text of The Book of Animal Secrets by David B. Agus, MD" publisher Simon & Schuster "has ceased distribution of all formats of the book and advised our retail and distribution partners to return copies of the book".

The publisher's statement continued: "Dr. Agus has decided, with our full support, to recall the book, at his own expense, until a fully revised and corrected edition can be released, and which Dr. Agus is currently working on. We do not currently have a projected publication date for the new version of the book."

Dr Agus said in a statement, via S&S: "I was recently made aware that in writing 'The Book of Animal Secrets' we relied upon passages from various sources without attribution, and that we used other authors’ words. I want to sincerely apologize to the scientists and writers whose work or words were used or not fully attributed."

It didn't end there.

The Los Angeles Times newspaper subsequently investigated Dr Agus' previous books, and found, the paper claims, more than 120 instances of plagiarism in THE END OF ILLNESS, A SHORT GUIDE TO A LONG LIFE, and THE LUCKY YEARS, all published by S&S.

Agus 'co-wrote' his books with 'co-author' Kristin Loberg. By 17 March she had given a statement to the LA Times. "I accept complete responsibility for any errors my work may have contained. I apologize from the bottom of my heart to the authors, publishers, creators of works that were not appropriately credited..."

Agus replied: "I am grateful that my collaborator has confirmed that I did not contribute to, nor was I aware of, any of the plagiarized or non-attributed passages in my books."

According to the LA Times, "at least 95 passages appeared to be copied from other uncredited sources, sometimes word for word" in THE BOOK OF ANIMAL SECRETS. It reported that: "Some of the matching passages go on for multiple pages. Scores of paragraphs are near-exact copies of other people’s work. [My bolding] Few of those original authors are credited in Agus’ books..."

Where did these original words come from? According to the paper, "published material, including newspaper and magazine stories, scientific journal articles, popular science books, Wikipedia and blogs."

Publishers Lunch reports that Loberg is "a widely-used co-author and collaborator, with 13 books published by S&S". That publisher said in a recent statement, "We will review each of these books and where appropriate take action."

Equally ominously, Penguin Random House and Harper Collins told the LA Times that they have also begun reviewing books Loberg worked on. The newspaper says: "Loberg is credited as the co-author or collaborator on at least 45 books currently on the market..."

Today, Loberg's website is completely blank.
Love to collaborate with Loberg on a thriller about a corrupt, drug-addicted ghost writer suddenly faced with... but she pulls through by cleverly... and then the real problem arises... but stay tuned to Netflix, or maybe Hallmark.
 
One of the first things we teach to students is referencing and source attribution. Theses go through plagiarism software, and we call them up. We dock marks. So, even if it was his co-author who plagiarised, someone of Dr Agus' credentials has zero excuse. Also, if he is an expert in the fields he publishes on, if he read Loberg's contributions, surely he should recognise some of the stolen passages?
He's a medical doctor. No further comment about his desire for wealth and recognition needed.
 
the fact that it would have been so easy to check for plagiarism is what bothers me-- there's dozens of sites and apps you can just put your text into, and it'll tell you not only if it's plagiarized directly, but even show you passages that are just similar. this could have been fixed in like half an hour.
Good point, and note that S&S did not use any of these resources.
 
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Help Please! Damp Squib

opinions on tenses/POV?

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