Thursday, 27 August 2009

I don't *think* that was what I said...

After some serious consideration, weighing up how much work it will be and balancing that against making my CV shiny, and generally looking like I know what I'm talking about in the world of early modern literature, I agreed to take over writing the summary of the year's work in renaissance literature studies. Someone I know by association with Supervisor emailed me out of the blue saying he now has post doc funding and his project means he is too busy to do it now, but if I was interested he would suggest me as his successor. It is one of very few times that 'who you know' has actually worked for me. (I say this with some hesitation, knowing how much work I'll have to do in quite a short time, but it will be very shiny on my CV).

The guy who is handing over to me sent me an email saying he'd already sent for some of the books to review, and he would post them on to me, but he would like to keep two of them for his own research. So he suggested two options and asked which I would prefer:

a) He would keep the books, read them, write a short review paragraph for each of them and send that to me to be silently included in my own review


b) He will send the books to me, I can read and do my own review and then send those particular ones back.

As much as I was tempted to option a) - less work for me - I decided that I was uncomfortable passing his work off as mine both because I fundamentally object to plagiarism, and because if the comments are going to have my name to them, then I want to have read what 'I' am commenting on. (And you know that the one time anyone asks me about anything I've written, it will be about one of these books that I actually haven't read). So I sent him an email supporting option b), and promising to read those ones first and get them back to him ASAP. I told him I'd be on holiday for a couple of weeks, and asked him not to send anything until after I got back to make sure they don't get lost in being held at the post office. He said that was fine.

Today I got an email telling me he had put the books in the post, and could I let him know when they arrive. [Fine; yes; no problem]. But it also said 'I have kept a few as I mentioned earlier - shall I send you the reviews to add into your piece?'

Erm... I don't think that was what I said. And really, if you'd already decided what you were going to do, why did you even ask?

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