I arrived into work this morning, and did my usual routine of going through my emails, when I spotted something in the corner of my eye; it was a phrase that jumped at me. I moved my mouse over the email header to click on its contents, only to find that a research report that I created about Ten weeks ago was sprawled out on the screen, same title, same content, but a different author. More astonishingly was the accreditation in the notes of the article, addressed to a fellow coworker that I used to share office space with.
Without getting into the details of what the content of the article is, the sources and research methods that I used, non of it was was never completed, and many of the sources I used were not yet sourced. I abandoned the article because I felt that it was pointless being so late in the year (2012). Many of the arguments that I made in the thesis were “edgy” at best, in my humble opinion. I filed the project onto the “back burner,” for a later day.
The agreement then was that I would write this article, and then post it with a publishing company, then have my, then employer, contract me the rights over to them once on completion–but I had to publish it myself. When the yearend accounts and fiscal were closing for our Third Quarter, I decided that my timeline would put me way behind schedule, so I dropped the project in mid-November. It would have been just too much of an undertaking for me to give it full, One-hundred percent, effort that it needed to pass any peer review test. This was a research paper for a private corporation, so it did not have to go through the rigors of an academic review board, but I wanted to treat it as if it were. Also, most of the sources were from private corporate data, meaning that peer review was next to impossible anyway.
Being plagiarized leaves the taste of bitter-sweet in my mouth. I have taken the moral high ground on this. I know that there is not much that I can do at this point in time. My work, half finished, cannot be fully proven that this is mine, or that I can prove in any Court that these ideas and arguments are mine, and mine alone. Actually, at this juncture, I want nothing to do with it becuase it is incomplete, and some of it now inaccurate!
My plan is as follows—to do nothing. At this point the project is only half finished, incomplete, with still lots more work to be done on it. To complete this, I figure that at least Twenty more hours of time would need to be invested to make this a completed article, with all points made, sourced, and a final edit/cut for publishing.
I had also received a request from the suspected plagiarizer, asking me to summit to him further information about some various topics that seemed related to my copied article before the holidays. I declined then because I was too busy to help him—so I let him read my research notes up to that point. He must have photo copied the notes for himself. I have since declined giving him any further assistance, stating that my time and energies are with my current project/work, now that I know it was him who copied my paper. I know that my friend has no academic training, especially in writing research papers, so this will hinder him—a lot. He may even get his employer into a lot of trouble too?
We spoke briefly this morning about the article. I commented to him that this was my work, from the summer, and wondered why he took it?
His reply was that he was ordered by his employer to pick-up the project and see if he could “make it work.” So I asked why he took credit for this, and not ask for my permission. “I do not know…” he said, “I was busy too, under the gun, you know…”
I explained to him that this was a contracted project, and that the company at the time only wanted the research completed, then they would pay me, leaving me with the credit for the work. I guess he got greedy, and decided that he would do it as part of of his administrative work in his office.
Now he will pay as I will contact the various organizations and corporations of this mess. In the mean time, the plagiarizer has a lot of back-peddling to do to keep himself out of trouble. Glad I am not in his shoes!
ADDED: January 8, 2013
I am still mad as heck about this. The former employer did contact me stating that they were going to pull the document from their website, and also asked that I give them some time to contact the sources to correct the errors. I warned them that I will not interfere what-so-ever with any litigation that comes upon them over this matter: no favours. I think they get-it now?