Wait - he has how many degrees?

Posted by September Blue Friday, 20 June 2008

Two plagiarism posts in a row. It's an epidemic!

The General Medical Council has ruled that Dr Raj Persaud, psychiatrist to the nation, has brought his profession into disrepute through plagiarising other academics' work in his books and articles:

Dr Persaud admitted plagiarising four research papers for his 2003 book From The Edge of The Couch.
He also admitted copying the work of two foreign academics for five articles he wrote for publications including the British Medical Journal and the Independent.
He claimed he was in a confused mental state at the time because of the pressure of juggling his NHS and media work.

[Italics mine, because I loathe the BBC News style guidelines of non-italicised titles.] See also this piece from 2006, at the start of the situation:
The psychiatrist, who has nine degrees and has written three psychology books, has attributed the similarities in text between his own work and the work of US professor Thomas Blass to editorial errors.
An article written by Dr Persaud in the February 2005 edition of Progress in Neurology and Psychiatry was withdrawn in September last year, after Professor Blass claimed that "over 50%
of his piece was my work".
Dr Persaud apologised for the error. He told the Guardian newspaper in November 2005 that the error occurred "when I cut and pasted the original copy, the references at the end were inadvertently omitted".
And from Monday:

The former Radio 4 presenter admitted plagiarising four articles for his 2003 book From the Edge Of The Couch.
But he denied that his actions were dishonest and were liable to bring his profession into disrepute.

So, in short: a) it was just a copy/pasting error that left out formatting, references and quotation marks, and he didn't mean to hand that version in, okay?, and b) anyway it's not his fault that he did, because the computer and/or somebody else messed up, and c) he had so many other things to write for that week, and he was really busy, and you can't expect anyone to think straight under that sort of pressure, so lay off him, and d) anyway, it's not like he was being dishonest.

The GMC should consider themselves lucky, considering. At least Dr Persaud's mother hasn't yet phoned them to complain about the verdict.