WIKIMEDIA, ERIK (HASH) HERSMANSloppy note-taking can get people into serious trouble. The famed primatologist Jane Goodall now admits that she was careless in the organization of her notebooks, leading to plagiarism in her latest book, Seeds of Hope. “I am not methodical enough, I guess,” she told Mosaic. “In some cases, you look at my notebooks, there’s no way you can tell whether this is from talking to somebody or whether it was something I read on the Internet.”

Although Goodall is best known for her work with primates, Seeds of Hope focuses on plants. Last year, The Washington Post reported that many passages were lifted from other sources without attribution, including “phrases to an entire paragraph from Web sites such as Wikipedia and others that focus on astrology, tobacco, beer, nature and organic tea.”

Goodall was quick to recognize the problem and apologize. The book has...

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