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)Credit: Twitter, screenshot)

Writer Dan Cassavaugh justifiably accused Stanford University student newspaper The Stanford Review of plagiarism, iMediaEthics has found.

In a tweet that Jim Romenesko picked up, Cassavaugh claimed The Stanford Review stole his 2006 story for Imprint Magazine. Cassavaugh told iMediaEthics by email that an Indiana University-Pennsylvania student tipped him off to the plagiarism by Stanford Review’s Vasant Ramachandran.

“In the digital age, it is increasingly easy to find and steal information to pass off as original work,” Cassavaugh wrote to iMediaEthics.  “In the same way, it is also easy for fraudulent work to be discovered. It took a year for the plagiarism in the Stanford Review to be reported to me, and I thank the student at IUP who alerted me to it.”

In response, Stanford Review said it was “investigating” and unpublished the article in question. The Stanford Review tweeted:

Even though The Stanford Review yanked the article in question, iMediaEthics tracked down a cached version of Ramachandran’s 2012 article, “Should College Athletes Get Paid?,” and compared it with Cassavaugh’s 2006 article “The Other Side: College Athletes Shouldn’t Be Paid.”

Our side-by-side comparison found that the majority of Ramachandran’s article was verbatim or a light rewrite of Cassavaugh’s article. And, making matters even worse, not once did Ramachandran’s article mention or credit Cassavaugh or Imprint.

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Below, in screenshots of the cached version of The Stanford Review article, iMediaEthics highlighted content that was verbatim from Cassavaugh’s work.

 

A Google Cache of the Stanford Review article in question. iMediaEthics has highlighted words that are verbatim from Dan Cassavaugh’s 2006 article. (Credit: Stanford Review, screenshot, highlight added)

A lot of the content that wasn’t a word-for-word lifting from Cassavaugh’s article was rewritten ideas or phrasing of Cassavaugh’s work.

Cassavaugh told iMediaEthics that he hasn’t had any contact personally with the writer, but that Stanford Review had reached out. Of the writer in question, Ramachandran, Cassavaugh wrote, “He has not been published in the Stanford Review since last spring, and I do not believe he is affiliated with the publication at this time.”

Cassavaugh added that he is satisfied with The Stanford Review’s response to his plagiarism claim and reiterated the importance of proper journalism ethics.  He wrote to iMediaEthics:

“It is more important now than ever for editors to be diligent in their efforts to combat plagiarism and uphold the values of journalism ethics. Reporters who believe that they can get away with plagiarism should know that the permanency of the digital space means eventually someone will discover the theft. It took a year for Ramachandran’s plagiarism to be discovered, but it was, and it was appropriately addressed.
“I am pleased with the outcome of this case.”

iMediaEthics has written to The Stanford Review’s editor asking

  • What is the Stanford Review‘s investigation of this incident going to include?
  • Has the Stanford Review discussed this with Vasant Ramachandran, the listed author of the piece?
  • Why did the Stanford Review decide to unpublish the story in question?
  • We found the article through Google cache and determined it does substantially plagiarize from Cassavaugh’s article.  Does the Stanford Review agree?
  • Does Ramachandran still work for the Stanford Review? If yes, will he/she be fired?
  • Will this incident prompt any new practices or standards for attribution/plagiarism at the Stanford Review?
  • Does the Stanford Review intend to apologize/issue a correction?

Through Facebook, an email has also been sent to the author of The Stanford Review’s article asking for an explanation of the plagiarism, his journalism background, and if he is still a student at Stanford or a writer for The Stanford Review.  We’ll update with any responses.
 

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‘I was Plagiarized by the Stanford Review,’ Journalist says, Student Newspaper Investigates ‘Dishonesty’

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