Goodall apologizes for plagiarism

April 7, 2013 • 4:05 am

About ten days ago I called attention to accusations that Jane Goodall, in her new book Seeds of Hope (co-authored with Gail Hudson), had been accused (and was apparently guilty) of plagiarism (lifting passages from sources like Wikipedia and a tea-selling website), fabricating conversations, and using sloppy science to criticize GM foods.

Asscording to and  the Christian Science Monitor, Goodall has apologized for some of these transgressions:

In response to the charges levelled against her by the Washington Post, Goodall said that “this was a long and well researched book and I am distressed to discover that some of the excellent and valuable sources were not properly cited, and I want to express my sincere apologies. I hope it is obvious that my only objective was to learn as much as I could so that I could provide straightforward factual information distilled from a wide range of reliable sources.” (

That’s close to a notapology given her explanation—which seems to be an excuse—that the plagiarism was a byproduct of a desire to learn.

More from the CSM:

Hachette Book Group announced Friday that no new release date has been set for Goodall’s “Seeds of Hope,” originally scheduled for April 2. Goodall said in a statement that she agreed to delay the book and “correct any unintentional errors.”

Goodall also apologized.

“During extensive research I spoke to as many experts as possible,” Goodall said in a statement released by the Jane Goodall Institute. “I also visited numerous websites dedicated to celebrating, protecting and preserving the plants of the world.”

. . . .”My goal is to ensure that when this book is released it is not only up to the highest of standards, but also that the focus be on the crucial messages it conveys,” Goodall said. “It is my hope that then the meaningful conversation can resume about the harm we are inflicting on our natural environment and how we can all act together to ensure our children and grandchildren inherit a healthy planet.”

I suppose that’s about as much as we can expect; the accusations of fabricated conversations or were not addressed.

Amazon now lists the book’s release date as August 6. 

8 thoughts on “Goodall apologizes for plagiarism

  1. Minor typo:
    > ….the accusations of fabricated conversations or were not addressed.

    delete “or ”

    Feel free to delete my comment.

  2. Disappointing. I know she has a lot of good will built up over the years, but this is BS. If lame weaselling is the best we can expect after she’s caught with plagiarism and fabrication… well… this isn’t the behavior of a world-renowned scientist, this is the behavior of a lower-quartile undergrad caught cheating. Time to reevaluate.

  3. She is critical of Genetically Manipulated Organisms. She is concerned about species extinction levels and environmental degradation. When a world famous scientist goes down this road, OF COURSE grounds will be found, no matter how petty, to dismiss, if not sabotage, the value of her work and the validity of her opinions.

    1. When a world famous scientist fabricates data or fails to cite sources quoted verbatim, it’s not petty. If that’s the road she’s going down now, when did she stop doing science?

      1. Um, I do not think she has been accused of “fabricating” data. As far as I know, so far, it seems, she has failed to cite sources. This is uncommon, apparently. Not that it should be taken lightly. However, you have to ask yourself, why, for example, the press not gone after Jared Diamond, with this amount of derisive commentary…

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