- The Plagiarism Hunter: “Former student Tom Matrka has made a hobby of uncovering plagiarism in masters’ theses at Ohio University, and thus far has found thirty examples. The university was slow to act on his discoveries, and a scandal has erupted over the plagiarism.”
- Cheating Goes Global As Essay Mills Multiply: ”Everyone knows essay mills exist. What’s surprising is how sophisticated and international they’ve become, not to mention profitable. In a previous era, you might have found an essay mill near a college bookstore, staffed by former students. Now you’ll find them online, and the actual writing is likely to be done by someone in Manila or Mumbai.”
- The Shadow Scholar: Looking at essay mills from another angle, or “how an academic ghostwriter for hire produced thousands of pages for undergraduates as well as master’s and doctoral candidates.”
- Something Borrowed: Annals of Culture: An article Malcolm Gladwell wrote in 1996 was used as inspiration for a play, but without permission. He discusses the experience.
By Ed Dante, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2010
Editor’s note: Ed Dante is a pseudonym for a writer who lives on the East Coast. Through a literary agent, he approached The Chronicle wanting to tell the story of how he makes a living writing papers for a custom-essay company and to describe the extent of student cheating he has observed. In the course of editing his article, The Chronicle reviewed correspondence Dante had with clients and some of the papers he had been paid to write. In the article published here, some details of the assignment he describes have been altered to protect the identity of the student.
The request came in by e-mail around 2 in the afternoon. It was from a previous customer, and she had urgent business. I quote her message here verbatim (if I had to put up with it, so should you): “You did me business ethics propsal for me I need propsal got approved pls can you will write me paper?”
I’ve gotten pretty good at interpreting this kind of correspondence. The client had attached a document from her professor with details about the paper. She needed the first section in a week. Seventy-five pages.
I told her no problem.
It truly was no problem. In the past year, I’ve written roughly 5,000 pages of scholarly literature, most on very tight deadlines. But you won’t find my name on a single paper.
by Thomas Bartlett, The Chronicle of Higher Education 55. 28 (Mar 20, 2009): A1,A22+.
The orders keep piling up. A philosophy student needs a paper on Martin Heidegger. A nursing student needs a paper on dying with dignity. An engineering student needs a paper on electric cars.
Screen after screen, assignment after assignment — hundreds at a time, thousands each semester. The students come from all disciplines and all parts of the country. They go to community colleges and Ivy League universities. Some want a 10-page paper; others request an entire dissertation.
This is what an essay mill looks like from the inside. Over the past six months, with the help of current and former essay-mill writers, The Chronicle looked closely at one company, tracking its orders, examining its records, contacting its customers. The company, known as Essay Writers, sells so-called customessays, meaning that its employees will write a paper to a student’s specifications for a per-page fee. These papers, unlike those plucked from online databases, are invisible to plagiarism-detection software.
Everyone knows essay mills exist. What’s surprising is how sophisticated and international they’ve become, not to mention profitable.
by Paul Brownfield, Los Angeles Times, April 27, 2003|
On a warm, windblown evening in late March, David Foster Wallace showed up at an old-style Mexican place in Pomona called El Ranchero. He was wearing shorts and a Pomona College sweatshirt with the sleeves cut off, so that he looked like a faintly menacing guy you might see late one night at a 7-Eleven buying Gatorade.
Wallace, the author of, most famously, the 1996 brick of a novel called “Infinite Jest,” is finishing his first year as the Roy Edward Disney Professor of Creative Writing at Pomona. He’s a literary star — MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant winner, compared before he was 35 to Pynchon, to DeLillo — newly arrived in Southern California.
Landing him was a coup for Pomona College, but getting the word out has been another matter. A bucolic and progressive campus 35 miles east of Los Angeles, off the 10 freeway, the school is a geographically undesirable place from which to generate attention. This suits Wallace, who moved here from Illinois, just fine (the public information office was not even able to get him to take a faculty photo). What he says about L.A. is polite while conveying that he isn’t going native. He liked Union Station when he saw it, and attended the symphony when his parents visited. There have been a few readings, and once he went to Staples Center, to see tennis. Los Angeles and its world of special invitations evidently does not beckon him.
by Lisa Brennan-Jobs, originally published in the Massachusetts Review Spring 2006
As Brennan-Jobs shares, when she met Emily, she and her friend Cole, recognized each other at once, but both of them seemed startled. At one of their conversations, Emily told her that she had met Cole at a party in one of Harvard’s final clubs in which she had a few drinks there, but didn’t remember anything after that. The next day she went to the hospital and tested positive for the presence of Rohypnol—the date rape drug. Several people told her later that she and Cole had sex that night in the club in front of a group of people.
A WOMAN-I’D NEVER SEEN HER BEFORE-Stepped into the lift with us. Her hair was dark, pixie cut around a pretty face with a delicate, freckled nose. She and my friend, Cole, recognized each other at once. Both seemed startled. He had forgotten her name but remembered when she told him-Emily.
As the lift dropped from the fourth floor, they spoke-mostly Emily spoke. Her voice was frail but insistent, reaching to him, engaging him, laughing when he didn’t laugh. I noticed she was English, and her accent rounded softly at the edges so it was difficult to hear the last part of each phrase. Her demureness seemed a form of humility, or a false humility.