PLAGIARISM

stop-plagiarism

A few days ago Chika Okeke-Agulu wrote in his blog about cases of plagiarism he has suffered in the past. This is unfortunate. Sadly, he is not the only one. Here is my own.

On August 15, 2014 I posted in this blog a write up on the artist Ike Francis Okoronkwo. A few days ago I learnt of an article written recently by a lecturer in a university in southern Nigeria, doing his PhD in another university, also in Southern Nigeria. He went ahead and uploaded it to Academia.edu and to his blog. FOUR FULL PARAGRAPHS were copied verbatim from my write up without any permission from my part or acknowledgement of their origin. Though my publication is included in the list of references at the end of the article, the four paragraphs were presented as having been written by the author. No doubt, a clear case of infringement of copyright. I copy below the four paragraphs mentioned above.

I sent a message to this person. He apologized and removed the article from circulation, though it is still referenced in google scholar. I do not want to create animosity or damage the career of anybody, but plagiarism is a very serious matter in scholarly circles. Plagiarism affects not only the person who practices it, but the institution where the plagiarist works and the whole university system. A plagiarist is unqualified to work in a reputable university. A plagiarist should not be awareded a PhD degree. I am not taking any action against him, but, I hope the authorities in the two universities affected by the case will do something about it. If they allow cases like this go unpunished, it will send the wrong signals. It is up to them to do something, or let it go…

PARAGRAPH 1

ORIGINAL TEXT

Two pieces attracted particularly my attention: “Of Black Mail and Black Boxes”, a work made of three square panels and nine hanging cubes, mostly black with some silvery hues and, especially, his installation titled “Power Tale” made of three polycarbonate boxes containing high relief idealized representations of three cities: New York, Dakar and Lagos.

PLAGIARIZED TEXT

Two interesting pieces are worthy of note, “Of Black Mail and Black Boxes”, a work made of three square panels and nine hanging cubes, mostly black with some silvery hues and, especially, his installation titled “Power Tale” made of three polycarbonate boxes containing high relief idealized representations of three cities: New York, Dakar and Lagos.

PARAGRAPH 2

ORIGINAL TEXT

While the work “Blank mails”, with its references to spam messages and unwanted mails marketing the unmarketable, is a clear and obvious piece, “Of Black Mails and Black Boxes” is a dark one, and not only because of the colour covering the reliefs; the chunks of coal, the barely legible references to fraud emails, the computer circuitry succeed in bringing to mind how technology can also be an instrument for dehumanizing activities. Ike Francis had tried the black charcoal before, but the results had not been so successful. The symbols of letters and numbers –with their rigidity and rationality- have a dominant presence that balances the organic and casual character of the coal, the randomly scattered electronic parts and the other small blocks that fill the piece; and all this, within the constricted confines of small square panels (just 60 x 60 cm). Even without the addition of the hanging cubes, the three panels successfully tell a story.

PLAGIARIZED TEXT

While the work “Blank mails”, with its references to spam messages and unwanted mails marketing the unmarketable, is a clear and obvious piece, “Of Black Mails and Black Boxes” is a dark one, and not only because of the colour covering the reliefs; the chunks of coal, the barely legible references to fraud emails, the computer circuitry succeed in bringing to mind how technology can also be an instrument for dehumanizing activities. Ike Francis had tried the black charcoal before, but the results had not been so successful. The symbols of letters and numbers –with their rigidity and rationality- have a dominant presence that balances the organic and casual character of the coal, the randomly scattered electronic parts and the other small blocks that fill the piece; and all this, within the constricted confines of small square panels (just 60 x 60 cm). Even without the addition of the hanging cubes, the three panels successfully tell a story.

PARAGRAPH 3

ORIGINAL TEXT

The work on which Ike Francis has invested a greater deal of time and emotional input is his installation “Power Tale”. Three glass cubes containing idealized representations of three cities. Each of them with anonymous, repetitive building blocks made of circuitry and each of them with an emblematic building or monument that identifies them: The Statue of Liberty in New York, the Monument to the African Renaissance in Dakar and the National Theatre in Lagos. The three icons stand out among the amorphous city layouts. They work as markers and they have a clear historical and cultural significance within their locations.

PLAGIARIZED TEXT

The work on which Ike Francis has invested a greater deal of time and emotional input is his installation “Power Tale”, Stuart(2014) asserts. Three glass cubes containing idealized representations of three cities. Each of them with anonymous, repetitive building blocks made of circuitry and each of them with an emblematic building or monument that identifies them: The Statue of Liberty in New York, the Monument to the African Renaissance in Dakar and the National Theatre in Lagos. The three icons stand out among the amorphous city layouts. They work as markers and they have a clear historical and cultural significance within their locations.

PARAGRAPH 4

ORIGINAL TEXT

Ike explains how the Statue of Liberty and the Renaissance monument point upwards, towards the future, while the National Theatre in Lagos, is horizontal, static. The introduction of tiny LED lights adds a new dimension to the work. Those in New York are densely distributed reaching all corners of the box; in Dakar they are more thinly present. In Lagos there are only a few of them and, unlike in the boxes for New York and Dakar, the lights go on and off. This treatment of the problem of unsteady power supply in Lagos might be a little oversimplified, clichéd and literal, but definitely, it works well in this installation as a device to convey meaning without words.

PLAGIARIZED TEXT

Ike explains how the Statue of Liberty and the Renaissance monument point upwards, towards the future, while the National Theatre in Lagos, is horizontal, static. The introduction of tiny LED lights added a new dimension to the work. Those in New York are densely distributed reaching all corners of the box; in Dakar they are more thinly present. In Lagos there are only a few of them and, unlike in the boxes for New York and Dakar, the lights go on and off. This treatment of the problem of unsteady power supply in Lagos might be a little oversimplified, clichéd and literal, but definitely, it works well in this installation as a device to convey meaning without words.

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20 Replies to “PLAGIARISM”

  1. Unconscionable. You’ve done the right thing, bringing this to light; in fact I don’t think you’ve gone far enough in contacting only the offender, and not his host institution(s). This is such a brazen example of IP theft (a worse crime in my mind than the theft of material possessions) that it’s all but certain the perpitrator has done this before – and will continue to! I’m curious as to how you found out?

  2. It is unfortunate that this happens not to you only but to others too. It shows the level of supervision that currently obtains in our Universities. Am sure the candidate must have been supervised by One, Two or more Professors who would always go on strike asking government for pay rise for doing untardy work.

  3. We all need PhD badly. If we have to steal to get it, who cares? The university system is surrendered to glorified vandals.

    1. It’s so annoying to find out what you worked for day and night as be lifted by one lazy individual, all in the name of obtaining a PHD. What examples do we want the next generation to learn from?

      1. It is part of the general materialism that envelopes Nigeria. When we are not busy clapping our way through things and situations in the name of religion, we steal our way through it. And who cares? Possess your possession is the usual mantra; or they tell you the end justifies the means. So people are looking for all sorts of short cuts. I am the fourth to earn a First Class BA in Fine Arts at the University of Nigeria and I refused to do a PhD for a long time because it has become so cheap. What with the fact that many of us who hold the PhD cannot write correct sentences. Many have plagiarised their way through the programme. No one cares, including supervisors and all. In the present case, I am told that Francis is already under fire for speaking up about his work being plagiarised. Who knows what those antagonising him would think of Jess. I won’t be surprised if the culprit is crowned king in the end. We are thinking upside down in this country. But anyone who understands the true meaning of education would agree that the Nigerian paradigm is miscarried. PhD for all and by all means, ordained by the NUC, is a curse and not a blessing. It has produced academic criminals as it has also facilitated capacity building.

      2. Thank you Jess. leaders and the elite class must accept failure in all areas of human endeavor today in Africa.The evidence is clear and they abound. We must take responsibility now, responsibly.

  4. This is shameful. What kind of Phd is this person desirous of ? This is a very cheap route to learning and sharing knowledge. This fellow needs to spend time reading, thinking and learning.

  5. The scenario at the department of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Benin stinks. Some Lecturers exhibit works of students as well as those of other artists as if the works are theirs and such exhibitions count for them in promotions to higher academic positions. It is on record that a certain Lecturer there even documented an exhibition that supposedly held in a town in southwest Nigeria. From investigation, the exhibition never took place. The said Lecturer enjoys overwhelming support and protection from the powers that be in the department and the rest seem to be history. So many infractions are committed by those whose friends and relations are at the helm of affairs in the department. The post graduate course there is also laced with a lot of irregularities. Sadly, those saddled with the responsibilities of leadership there do not only aid and abet such irregularities, but also indulge in them. The threat and embarrassment posed by the foregoing may be worse than plagiarising texts.

    1. My brother, there is need for total overhaul of the manner doctoral degree programmes are mounted and run in Nigerian universities? What is the academic strength of the personel or academics who teach and supervise in the programmes ? What kind of external examiners are usually invited by those who present the candidates to be examined for the final thesis defences. Almost everything in some of these departments are shrowded in most questionable mystery,often with the aim to circumvent and perpetrate mediocrity. Any academic deemed knowledgeable enough to detect the fraudelence in such pseudo-academic contraptions are usually schemed out in the malevolent and fraudulent arrangement. That is often good for such academic-see no evil,partake in no evil! The big question is ; how many of those who teach and supervise in Nigerian universities’ doctoral programmes are informed about the current state of the discipline in their different academic fields ? Most cases, majority of the PhD supervisors (senior lecturers and Professors)have never written or even heared ,not to mention read or research the topics that their supervised candidates claim to be working on. One only hopes that the (NUC)Nigerian Universities Commussion, would send all Professors in Nigerian universities back again for a general examination in their different fields, to separate academic imposters from the genuine ones.Politics and commerce seem to be the new game in Nigeria academia-one hopes everything does not turn to the highest bidders only! How many Nigerian academics and Professors compete for external fellowships and grants. In the West, that is some of the avenues that university dons ensure that the knowledge they carry with them is stilll in the ‘market’. Here everyone prefer to wallow in crass ignorance and abject mudaneness in the name of academics. Something has to be done about this!

    2. I just called a member of the academic staff of the department of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Benin and he vehemently denies the allegations made by Kingsley Emeriewen

      1. This platform is global and I am aware it is. I am equally aware of the implication of every statement I make here. If you doubt further send you e-mail to kingsley.emeriewen@uniben.edu for me to send you the names and phone numbers of some colleagues at UNIBEN to verify my statements. How are you sure it is not a culprit you called? If so, what do you expect?

      2. Thanks for that, Kingsley Emeriewen. I am pleased to see you are ready to follow up on your assertions. Please forgive my passing up your offer to call more people in the dept in order to verify the claims. I want to avoid involving myself in departmental politics.

  6. Plagiarism is a capital offence in academic practice. It is unfortunate that some persons and institutions are not alive to the monstrous catastrophe it exposes academic worth especially when such actions are intended to attract status conferment.

  7. Jess, this is a pure plagiarism, without a doubt! Word-to-word matches of such size just couldn’t be a simple coincidence!

    It is a common practice for PhD candidates to run their theses through plagiarism detection systems like Unplag at the time of thesis submission.

    Or is it not so common in Nigerian universities?

    At least the person who used your article deleted it and apologized for this incident. But it’s still so unethical of him.

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