Keen insight into the problem of plagiarism in modern science can be gained from a late-1960s report by Anatol Rapoport, a mathematical biologist. Rapoport, then on the faculty of the University of Michigan, chaired the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Study Committee on Ethics and Responsibilities of Scientists.

Under Rapoport's supervision, the committee had conducted a landmark questionnaire study relating to science ethics. The questionnaire was sent to 5,000 AAAS members and drew 2,500 responses. Remarkably enough, Rapoport's subsequent analysis of these responses--entitled "A Study of Scientists' Views on Ethics and Responsibilities, A Report of the Survey 1967"--was never published, although it carefully tabulated and summarized a rich yield of results. Indeed, the report has been cited only once, with Rapoport's permission, by this writer in a Bulletin of Atomic Scientists article (24:39, 1968) that featured the results of the AAAS study.

Of the 22 wide-ranging questions in...

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