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Handout: Collaborative Authorship

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Scenario 1

Molly has been working with a writing center tutor for her last paper. She’s been going to the writing center for about a week and has noticed that her writing center tutor offers a lot of great advice for her work, sometimes putting Molly’s thoughts into her own words. Many of her tutor’s phrases have found their way into Molly’s paper. If Molly turns the paper in for her class, has she individually authored it? Is that OK?

Scenario 2

Steve writes many Wikipedia pages, because he really likes to show his knowledge on particular topics. In Wikipedia, though, many people are allowed to edit and change articles. The original entry on “Hunting dogs” that Steve wrote has been changed dozens of times since he originally posted it. If Steve claims on a resume that he has written an encyclopedia entry on hunting dogs, has he individually authored it? Is that OK?

Scenario 3

Jeff writes a blog. In that blog he often posts information from other sources, often quoting much of the original material and providing a link to the original source. When people ask him what he does for fun, he says that he authors a blog. Is he the original author? Is it OK is he claims that he is?

Scenario 4

Chris was working with a professor on a project. The professor eventually finished her half and moved on to something else, leaving Chris with the resultant data. Chris uses that data in her new project and writes an article for publication. Is Chris allowed to claim that she is the original author? If she does is that OK?

Scenario 5

Carla is working on a paper for her economics class and knows her roommate took the class the previous year. She asks her roommate for help with the paper and uses a lot of her roommate’s resources and ideas. Carla later turns the paper in for credit. Can she claim that she is the original author? Is that OK?