Previously I have stated that plagiarism was not one of the issues that I was raising concerning the so-called “Open Anthropology Cooperative” and its disrespect for boundaries and separate identities and political affiliations, let alone the officially authorized butchering of the concept of “open anthropology” on that network, now evacuated of all meaning. However, I now have to recant. For over a week now, work plagiarized from my site, and posted under the name of Nikos Gousgounis has been allowed to stand without correction on the OAC. (Knowing from past experience that history is actively rewritten on the OAC by editing and deleting, I post all of the relevant archived pieces here: [max->nikos][nikos->max]).
Before anyone once again wrongly claims that there is some sort of “surprise attack” here, the fact is that this plagiarized work has stood for over a week and was unmasked by some vigilant members of the OAC itself, people who had read the same piece on this blog and, to my surprise, even remembered it. I have also contacted Nikos Gousgounis directly, as can be seen from the links above, or you can simply view the complete thread here.
Gousgounis claims in his defense that he did not know that the article came from this site, but rather he found it on a blog of a colleague he will not or cannot name, claiming he was anonymous, and without any link to his source. Personally I have searched for a replica and have been unable to find it, nor does anyone else seem to have found it, not even Gousgounis. It may be really “out there,” and I am just unlucky in my search.
Gousgounis’ explanation still does not work however, as it does not explain why he deleted any information about the person he thought posted the article he found. His argument is that someone else plagiarized it which…means what? That it was alright for him to plagiarize the plagiarizer?
Regardless, as my university instructs students, plagiarism does not have to be intentional to be plagiarism. Now that Gousgounis alleges that this was a mistake, all that remained to be done was to fix the error. Apparently, that is too much to expect. Gousgounis would actually prefer to retain documentary evidence of his plagiarism, and the “administrators” seem willing to play along and to allow their site to be used for such purposes.
Perhaps this wrongdoing will not be corrected by the person responsible for it, and may need to be submitted to another “democratic” OAC vote, as the appropriate means of deflecting personal (ir)responsibility and sheltering one’s misdeeds behind the uninformed opinions of unaffected parties.
Ironically, Gousgounis himself wrote in the past on the OAC, in a thread that was appropriately titled “Can anthropologists cheat?”: “Maybe we have to consider the plagiarism or the copy-paste process of other texts used as original texts for a study or research with not even comments , citations or aknowledgments [sic].” Yes, please consider it, at your leisure.
Keith Hart’s maladministration can only offer the following bizarre evasion that seemingly pardons the plagiarism — too complicated it is, and besides plagiarism is just a “scare” and who could possibly know every blog post (even the one you plagiarize):
I guess it is excusable not to know every blog post on this subject. The issue of copying in the age of the internet is a matter of some dispute and I have previously questioned the premises of the current plagiarism scare in academia. This inexplicable omission, especially given the identity of the quote’s original author (but it would apply to anyone), brings our public fora into disrepute and should therefore be held accountable. In view of the vexed question of regulation here at the OAC, it would be hard to imagine a more tangled knot of issues.
Yes, ethics is just the shit that gets in anthropology’s way.