Week 7: Authorship Issues

I’ve never had to deal with authorship issues before. Collaboration is definitely a thing in the Humanities and in English, but I wouldn’t say that it’s the norm. As far as I know, I will be focusing on writing my own work during the time that I am here. But is that really true? According to  the TEDx Talk “Steal  Like An Artist,” what I just stated was false. I can totally see how Austin Kleon gets his argument that art is theft (Kleon). I agree, for the most part. Within higher education, especially in English, faculty tell students to “enter into a conversation.” This means that if I’m looking to publish an article, I don’t blindly write about whatever I want, but I look to see what conversation is going on amongst scholars at the moment and look for ways that I can enter into this conversation. If I look at this through Austin Kleon’s lens, I’m looking at these conversations, seeing a point that I find interesting or maybe one that I don’t quite agree with, and formulating a response to this point—I’m stealing something I found interesting and building off it, making it my own (Kleon). But the idea wasn’t necessarily mine to begin with. So yes, I see how his argument can ring true. Often, I’ve felt discouraged though, like he suggests. Is there really anything new I can contribute to a conversation? Are there things to say that haven’t been said before in some way or another? It’s definitely something that people in the arts think about.

Jumping from the arts to the sciences—was the article from  The Chronicle of Higher Education appalling or what? The stories about those grad students whose work was stolen from them by their advisors were quite shocking. I’m sure it’s not the norm, but the stories provoke the thought of what a person should do in that situation. What do you do? In Padma Ashokkumar’s case, she became a pariah to her whole department and had to leave without obtaining her degree because she chose to stand up for herself (Patton). She practiced academic integrity and paid for it. I’m sure the pressure in the sciences is only going to increase. What was your reaction to this article, STEM friends?

Works Cited

Kleon, Austin. “Steal Like an Artist.” YouTube, uploaded by TEDx Talks, 24 April 2012, link.

Patton, Stacey. “‘My Advisor Stole My Research.'” The Chronicle of Higher Education, 11 November 2012, link, accessed 28 February 2017.


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2 Responses to Week 7: Authorship Issues

  1. czandert

    Didn’t you know that the author is dead? (Barthes) Just kidding. Save your groan. I think we can attribute authorship to people who actually conduct the research/write the reports because we have conventionally/traditionally understood it to be so. But, I think secretly the authorship is due, at least in our society, to those who fund it because they ultimately have the author-ity. (See my blog post)

  2. cback

    I found the case with Padma to be shocking as well. I couldn’t believe that her adviser double crossed her like that, and then proceeded to threaten her! The fact that all other advisers refused to serve on her committee or take her on as a student was outrageous. I haven’t been exposed to authorship issues either so reading about what she had to go through was a huge reality check.

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