Washington Post calls out Jane Goodall for plagiarism

The Washington Post

Jane Goodall's upcoming book "Seeds of Hope" contains "at least a dozen passages borrowed without attribution, or footnotes, from a variety of Web sites," Steven Levingston reports in The Washington Post. Some come from "organic tea websites," Levingston writes, including Choice Organic Teas, which sells tea that benefits the Jane Goodall Institute.

"I am distressed to discover that some of the excellent and valuable sources were not properly cited, and I want to express my sincere apologies," Goodall tells the Post in an email. Her publisher says "We have not formulated a detailed plan beyond crediting the sources in subsequent releases."

The book, which Goodall wrote with Gail Hudson, attributes one quote to a botanist named Matt Daws: “'If seeds can survive that long in such poor conditions, then that’s good news for the ones that are stored under ideal conditions in the Millennium Seed Bank,’ Matt Daws said to me.”

Virtually the same quote from Daws appears on the Gardens Web site in a 2009 article with the headline “Plant story — 200 year old seeds spring to life”: “If seed can survive that long in poor conditions, then that’s good news for those in the Millennium Seed Bank stored under ideal conditions.” Asked in an e-mail whether he ever had a conversation with Goodall, Daws replied: “To be perfectly honest I have no recollection of speaking to her.”

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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