The high-profile cases of plagiarized dissertations recently featured in Integru and elsewhere are typically those from fields—the sciences and economics, especially—where substantial social and professional power is at stake. But what about the humanities? These cases should not be ignored. The standards should be no different from those in the sciences or any other field. If we say that plagiarists in the humanities might be due a bit more compassion, on the grounds that such humanities PhDs are less likely to go on to jobs with major political or economic importance, then we are simply endorsing the marginal position that the humanities too often occupy in modern culture in general. Humanists deserve at least the same standards as anyone else. They can even be credited with inventing such standards. Such were the efforts, for example, by Renaissance philologists and writers who sought to define the actual canon of works by ancient authors as distinct from the numbers of works that medieval writers with greater or lesser disingenuousness foisted on those ancient writers . . .
Scientists generally enjoy a good reputation in our society. Even those, who do not quite understand what Science is about, suspect that it benefits everyone by promoting knowledge and understanding. Most would concede that devotion to Science is an idealistic attitude that, while not highly rewarded financially, brings along a deeper sense of fulfillment than selling used cars. Scientists are generally regarded as unbiased and trustworthy, which should make them better candidates to distinguish right from wrong than, say, used car salesmen.
While most scientists justifiably benefit from a favorable reputation, some have misused it for their own benefit . . .