BooksJacket Copy

Jane Goodall book postponed after plagiarism issues raised

AuthorsBookThe Washington PostChinua AchebeWikimedia Foundation, Inc.

Primatologist Jane Goodall and publisher Grand Central have announced they will delay publication of Goodall's forthcoming tree-focused book "Seeds of Hope" in the wake of accusations that certain passages were plagiarized. The Washington Post noted the lack of attribution of certain passages last week.

"Together with my publisher, I have decided to postpone the release of my new book, SEEDS OF HOPE, so that we may have the necessary time to correct any unintentional errors," Goodall said in a statement released Friday. "It is important to me that the proper sources are credited, and I will be working diligently with my team to address all areas of concern."

The Post cited several passages in Goodall's book that seemed to mirror various unattributed sources. According to that report, at least 12 sections of the book seemed to have been lifted from elsewhere. The book was written with contributor Gail Hudson, a freelance writer and editor who has collaborated with Goodall before.

Originally slated for April publication, "Seeds of Hope" examines "the role that trees and plants play in our world" and Goodall's passion for conservation.  Though Goodall is best known for her work with chimpanzees, she writes in the book that she has "spent a lifetime loving plants."  She has not, however, studied plants as a scientist, and according to the Post, it is in the sections that offer detailed information on plants that "borrowing" tended to occur. 

Examples of the unattributed passages include sentences that echo word-for-word copy from the website for Choice Organic Teas, and from sites addressing the history of tobacco, astrology, beer, and nature.  Several passages also appear to have been copied from Wikipedia.

In her statement, Goodall stated, "my goal is to ensure that when this book is released it is not only up to the highest of standards, but also that the focus be on the crucial messages it conveys. It is my hope that then the meaningful conversation can resume about the harm we are inflicting on our natural environment and how we can all act together to ensure our children and grandchildren inherit a healthy planet."

In an email to the Post, Goodall admitted her error, writing, "This was a long and well researched book, and I am distressed to discover that some of the excellent and valuable sources were not properly cited, and want to express my sincere apologies."


Recent and recommended books

In Barbara Garson's 'Down the Up Escalator,' the 99% make do

Remembering Chinua Achebe, a writer who connected us to the world

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
AuthorsBookThe Washington PostChinua AchebeWikimedia Foundation, Inc.
  • Bruno MacDonald's rock 'n' roll fantasy
    Bruno MacDonald's rock 'n' roll fantasy

    Not long ago, I got drawn into an extended Facebook conversation about the albums the Beatles might have made in the 1970s had they not split up. This is one of my favorite exercises, not only in regard to the Beatles but to everything — the alternate history of rock ’n’ roll.

  • Mexican lawyer sets Guinness record for Harry Potter collection
    Mexican lawyer sets Guinness record for Harry Potter collection

    Have you been claiming that you're the biggest Harry Potter fan in the world? A man in Mexico City would like a word with you.

  • I, library robot
    I, library robot

    A Connecticut library has acquired two fully-automated, walking, talking robots to provide independent assistance to its patrons. The robots, set to begin their duties at the Westport, Conn., library Oct. 11, will teach computer programming skills, the Wall Street Journal reports.

  • 'Inherent Vice' trailer: Thomas Pynchon via Paul Thomas Anderson

    Thomas Pynchon's 2009 novel "Inherent Vice" is one of his most accessible. The story of a stoner private eye in Southern California at the end of the 1960s is part Jim Rockford, part Raymond Chandler and part Cheech & Chong. It's noir on the beach with hippie styling and...

  • Kirkus announces finalists for its first book prizes, each $50,000
    Kirkus announces finalists for its first book prizes, each $50,000

    Kirkus Reviews, the influential book review journal, on Tuesday announced the nominees for the first-ever Kirkus Prizes in fiction, nonfiction and young readers' literature. The young readers' literature category is divided into three subcategories -- picture books, middle grade and...

  • Talking with Naja Marie Aidt about her short story collection 'Baboon'
    Talking with Naja Marie Aidt about her short story collection 'Baboon'

    The Danish writer Naja Marie Aidt’s book of stories, “Baboon” (Two Lines Press: 190 pp., $12.95 paper), is an explosive collection; strange things happen to the characters, leading to unlikely twists, through which the borders of reality blur. The first of Aidt’s...