On Friday, August 17, 2007, Blogger News Network publisher Robert Hayes was contacted by a journalist claiming that one of our posted stories contained extensive selections from his published work without attribution or credit.
BNN immediately investigated the claim, and discovered that the BNN writer in question, Shantanu Dutta, had indeed presented the complainant’s material as though it were his own. Mr. Dutta’s account was suspended pending further investigation. A quick review, followed by a more comprehensive check of numerous stories, found numerous instances of plagiarism in Mr. Dutta’s work. The offenses were so numerous and so widespread that it was often more difficult to find original, unplagiarised material in his postings than to find plagiarized material. The most common offense found is the simple cutting and pasting of large blocks of text from published news articles into Mr. Dutta’s postings.
Mr. Dutta has been invited to comment but as of this writing has not responded to communications from BNN. His account is suspended at BNN and will not be reinstated.
Because of the scope and number of plagiarism incidents, it is not possible for us to immediately identify and apologize to the parties whose work was misappropriated by Mr. Dutta. In order to facilitate the process of determining who has been harmed, we have chosen to leave Mr. Dutta’s postings on the site, accompanied by an explanatory note. All of Mr. Dutta’s postings are being identified as being likely plagiarisms, and all of his postings are being moved to a special category for ready identification. Owners of copyrighted material who discover a violation in one of Mr. Dutta’s postings (or anywhere on BNN) should contact BNN publisher Robert Hayes.
BNN strives for the highest ethical standards. When we fail to achieve those standards, as we have in this case, we are obliged to be forthright about our failure. We did not detect these plagiarisms, as we should have done. We are improving the editorial review process to reduce the chances of this happening again, and we apologize to our readers and our peers for the wrong that we have done them.
UPDATED TO ADD: BNN actively solicits, both now and in the future, the aid of every one of its readers, contributors, and friends in the blogosphere, in preventing, detecting and eliminating plagiarism in our stories. If you find a story or passage which you believe to be problematic, please contact BNN editor Simon Barrett. Thank you for your help and for your encouragement.