Sales of a bestselling health book by a high-profile University of Southern California oncologist have been suspended because of dozens of instances of plagiarism.
The Los Angeles Times reported earlier this week that it identified at least 95 instances of plagiarism by author David B. Agus, MD, in The Book of Animal Secrets: Nature’s Lessons for a Long and Happy Life.
According to the LA Times , Agus copied passages from numerous sources, including The New York Times, National Geographic, Wikipedia, and smaller niche sites. Some instances involved a sentence or two; others involved multiparagraph, word-for-word copying without attribution.
The book by Agus — who interviews celebrities for a health-related miniseries on Paramount Plus — had reached the top spot on Amazon’s list of best-selling books about animals a week before its planned March 7 release.
Publisher Simon & Shuster released a statement on March 6 announcing a recall of the book at Agus’ expense “until a fully revised and corrected edition can be released.”
Agus included his own statement apologizing “to the scientists and writers whose work or words were used or not fully attributed,” and said he will “rewrite the passages in question with new language, will provide proper and full attribution, and when ready will announce a new publication date.”
“Writers should always be credited for their work, and I deeply regret these mistakes and the lack of rigor in finalizing the book,” he stated, adding that “[t]his book contains important lessons, messages, and guidance about health that I wanted to convey to the readers. I do not want these mistakes to interfere with that effort.”
Sharon Worcester, MA, is an award-winning medical journalist based in Birmingham, Alabama, writing for Medscape, MDedge, and other affiliate sites. She currently covers oncology, but has also written on a variety of other medical specialties and healthcare topics. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SW_MedReporter.
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