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Jane Goodall, the world-renowned primatologist, has been forced to apologize for copying information from the Internet in her new book without crediting the sites.
The Washington Post first noticed that entire paragraphs were lifted from sites like Wikipedia and others and used in Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder From the World of Plants, which will be released on April 2. The book was co-written by Gail Hudson, who has worked with Goodall, 78, on two other books.
Seeds of Hope focuses on plants, how they impact our lives and why Goodall has devoted herself to their preservation. The Post lists several examples of clear plagiarism, including paragraphs from Choice Organic Teas and phrases from Wikipedia’s article on 18th century botanist John Bartram.
“Most of these chemicals — such as Aldrin 20E, Carbofuran 30, Endosulfan 35 EC, Malathion 50 EC, Tetradifon 8 EC, Calixin 80 EC — are listed as hazardous and toxic, and a number of them are banned in Western countries,” Goodall writes in one paragraph about toxic dangers. “Despite dangers of exposure to these poisons, the workers are frequently barefoot and in shorts rather than protected by recommended aprons.”
However, that same text has been found on other sites about organic teas and the Post traced it back to a study called “The Tea Market — A Background Study.”
In a statement to the Post, Goodall writes, “This was a long and well researched book and I am distressed to discover that some of the excellent and valuable sources were not properly cited, and I want to express my sincere apologies. I hope it is obvious that my only objective was to learn as much as I could so that I could provide straightforward factual information distilled from a wide range of reliable sources.”
Publisher Grand Central said it was surprised, but told the Post, “We have not formulated a detailed plan beyond crediting the sources in subsequent releases.”
Goodall is just the latest high profile writer who has had to apologize for taking quotes without attribution. Last summer, CNN suspended Fareed Zakaria after he was accused of plagiarism.