Over my career, I have probably written thousands of articles, documents, presentations, speeches, thought pieces, blog posts, and the like. I am a consultant, and consultants must communicate their thoughts and ideas to support their business. However, a few years ago, I began to write articles for publication for different reasons. First, I am trying to reduce the number of hours I spend working, and ease gracefully into retirement. Writing articles allows me to keep my brain active. Second, I am grateful for a very successful career, and want to give something back if I can. Writing articles allows me to share with others some of the knowledge and experience that I have been fortunate enough to acquire over the years.
At this point, I suppose I would have to rate my article writing endeavor as moderately successful. Several of my articles have been picked up by various types of publications, mostly general business publications, but also some clients’ in-house publications. That’s the good news. The bad news is that they have also been picked up by various types of publications with the author being listed as someone other than me. My articles have been plagiarized! It has also happened to blog posts, such as this one.
Now, I don’t believe my articles are among the best ever written. I understand my weaknesses as a writer, but I do the best that I can. My articles are about the content that is being communicated, and hopefully my writing communicates content adequately. Therefore, I was surprised, if not shocked, to learn that some of my articles have been the object of blatant plagiarism.
Plagiarism of my articles seems to have taken two different forms. First, there are articles that have been republished word-for-word, with someone else’s name as author. One such person’s name that has been listed as author is Gaurav Rai. Now, I don’t know this person, or anything about him. He may not actually be a real person. He seems to make no changes to my articles, except a reversal in the title. For example, I published an article in 2010, entitled “Strategic Management Process – The Definition Stage”. In Gaurav Rai’s plagiarized version, the title is “The Definition Stage – Strategic Management Process”. Other than that, the article is plagiarized word-for-word.
Another form that plagiarism of my articles has taken is that they are republished with large sections of new text blasted into them at random points within the article. At times these sections of added text share the same general subject matter as the original article, and other times they don’t. They are just random, and I would not be surprised if they were also plagiarized from another source. Many of my articles that have been plagiarized in this way seem to have “admin” listed as author.
So, which form of plagiarism do I prefer? Well, obviously the answer is neither, but I suppose I have to accept both. I have thought about going after the people who have plagiarized my articles, and the organizations that have sponsored them. However, the time and effort required to monitor publications broadly, follow up, and get the plagiarizers to stop, just simply exceeds my capacity. Therefore, unfortunately, there is little of a practical nature that I can do about the plagiarism. So, one might ask, if there is nothing realistically that you can do, what is the purpose of this article? Well, for one thing, I would like the plagiarizers to know that I know. In addition, I am anxious to see if this article also becomes plagiarized.