It seems I have always been drawn to cartoons, even if I am not very good at drawing them. Strips that I have done or been part of that have seen the light of day in print: The Further Adventures of Captain Death, Johnny Asilid: Danger Force Nine, and Super-Mega Botanist Friendship Friends. The nameless strip that remains captive in this blog is useful for me, and I thank you for tolerating it.
I actually spend a fair amount of time reading comic strips. When I actually have a newspaper in front of me, the editorials and the comics are the first places I turn to. The Mark Trail strip was an early inspiration for me in comics that were about ideas. The Virtue of Vera Valiant was a newspaper strip I loved to read. It was a hilarious and absurd exploration of life that did not ‘try’ to be funny. This strip contains elements of every strip I have ever read, but not in a copyright infringing sort of way:
Scientific thought is a huge collaborative effort. The data, thoughts, hypotheses, etc. of others are fair game for any researcher to utilize in their work. The caveat is that all such work must be properly attributed. Students will often make ‘petit plagiarisms’ where it is clear that they are referring to a certain work, and then quote it verbatim without quotation marks. I have also seen where students will list references, but not cite within the paper. Occasionally, a reference may be omitted, but the student is not claiming to have developed the concept of niche partioning – all this is within what I would call an honest mistake. When a student hands in a paper that is the wikipedia entry verbatim, they are blatantly claiming another’s work as their own and this is bad.
In the huge collaborative effort called scientific thought there is peer review, where we read each other’s paper prior to review. This process is extremely flawed and helpful. There are the before submission reviews where the manuscript goes to friends who make comments and the post submission reviews where unknown reviewers make comments. The anonymity of these reviewers is essential, but also means that there is no credit given for extremely hard work – it is done for the common good of the collaborative effort.
By the time somebody has published a couple of scientific papers, and maybe gotten a Doctorate, it is assumed they should know how to avoid plagiarism. I still make mistakes citing items and very much appreciate when a reviewer helps me out. This is a very not funny cartoon about a very not funny subject. I am still trying to make sense of this paper I was asked to review that blatantly claimed another person’s concept as their own.