Fellow blogger Kevin Levin has a lengthy post on his blog today that spells out, in great detail, the plagiarism scandal that has hit the realm of Civil War academia. Prof. R. Fred Ruhlman, who teaches Civil War history at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, apparently plagiarized most of his new book on Capt. Henry Wirz and the Andersonville prison camp from the work of Prof. William Marvel.
From the excerpts posted on Kevin’s blog, it’s quite obvious that Ruhlman simply re-packaged Marvel’s work and published it under his own name. In short, it is plagiarism of the worst variety.
As Peter Carmichael points out in a comment to Kevin’s post, the process of peer review employed by university presses usually catches this sort of thing, but this one got through. Ruhlman is, of course, responsible for his own actions, but the fact that this book got through the vetting process at the University of Tennessee Press, which is a very well-respected university press, doesn’t speak well for the Press.
At the same time, I am willing to defer to Pete Carmichael on this one. Pete is the series editor for a series being published by the UT Press, and he’s quite knowledgeable about how things are done there, what the objective is for certain books, and the steps it takes to ensure that work is original and not plagiarized.
I can only hope that Ruhlman is fired immediately, and that his work is repudiated by all as a consequence of his flagrant plagiarism. I also hope that the UT Press gets over its black eye, but that it tightens things up a bit to ensure that this sort of flagrant rip-off doesn’t happen again.Scridb filter