Who Owns This Text? Plagiarism, Authorship, and Disciplinary Cultures

Edited by Carol P. Haviland and Joan A. Mullin

Reviewed by Erin M. Presley
Eastern Kentucky University


All of the contributors in this collection followed a similar methodology by relying primarily on interviews with academics from a variety of disciplines. In the first chapter, Marvin Diogenes, Andrea Lunsford, and Mark Otuteye interviewed eight lecturers and senior faculty members from Stanford's Computer Science program. Lise Buranen and Denise Stephenson focused their study on interviews with faculty who specialize in biomedicine from biology and chemistry in the second chapter, while Mary Boland and Carol Peterson Haviland drew on interviews with twelve faculty members who engage in fieldwork in sociology and anthropology in the third chapter. The fourth chapter relied on roughly thirty interviews conducted by Joan A. Mullin with visual media faculty from American and British universities. In the last chapter, Linda S. Bergmann employed interviews with twelve administrators from eight universities to support her claims about the discourse community of university administration and its complicated relationship with intellectual property.

While all of the chapters relied heavily on interviews, there were variations in the respective approaches. For example, most of these scholars focused on faculty at American universities, but Mullin included interviews from faculty in the British system in her study. As for the interview process, the collection included a template of the research questions the contributors asked the interviewees, but the editors admitted that adaptation took place to suit the needs of the specific disciplines. This point is especially important in the case of Bergmann's chapter in which she discussed revising the questions so that faculty-turned-administrators would answer in regards to their administrative writing instead of their respective academic disciplines. Bergmann's chapter also revealed another variation in that her interview subjects required a degree of anonymity that faculty from the other sections did not. Overall, this approach provided interesting insight into research and writing practices across the curriculum.