Critic reports plagiarism on Wikipedia
A critic of an online encyclopedia written and edited by its users has identified dozens of biographical articles that appear to contain...
The Associated Press
NEW YORK — A critic of an online encyclopedia written and edited by its users has identified dozens of biographical articles that appear to contain passages lifted from other sites, prompting the encyclopedia's administrators to delete several pending a review.
Daniel Brandt found the examples of suspected plagiarism at Wikipedia using a program he created to run a few sentences from about 12,000 articles against Google's search engine. He removed matches in which another site appeared to be copying from Wikipedia and examples in which material is in the public domain and was properly attributed.
He ended up bringing 142 articles to Wikipedia's attention.
The site's founder, Jimmy Wales, acknowledged that plagiarized passages occasionally slip in, but he dismissed Brandt's findings as exaggerated.
Wikipedia allows anyone to post, edit and delete items regardless of expertise and leaves it to other users to catch factual errors and other problems, including plagiarism.
Although plagiarism and copyright infringement are common among sites with user-generated content, Brandt said Wikipedia must be held to a higher standard, a point with which Wales agreed.
Brandt, who has long sparred with Wikipedia over an unflattering biography of him, called on Wikipedia to conduct a thorough review of all its articles. The site has nearly 1.5 million in English alone.
Wales said that any time plagiarism is brought to the site's attention, Wikipedia administrators review all postings made by that author.
Wikipedia editors have been reviewing the 142 articles and have declared a handful to be OK because copied passages came from the public domain. Editors found others where Wikipedia appeared to be the one plagiarized. But editors found problems in several cases, with many not yet fully checked.
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