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April 15th, 2011

Can you plagiarize yourself?

The American Academy of Rome held a celebration Thursday night of Galileo's first public demonstration in Rome of his telescope. This was the opening of what was to be in many ways a high-water mark for Galileo; within 11 days he would be elected to the Society of the Lynxes, and a month later the Jesuits at the Roman College would fete him and shower him with honors. (Of course, later on things would not go so smoothly...)

I wrote a short piece about this for the L'Osservatore Romano, and sent it off Wednesday afternoon, hoping it could make it in time for their Thursday edition. But come Thursday, it didn't appear - if nothing else, they probably didn't have time to translate it into Italian.

I looked on-line on Friday and it didn't appear there, either. So I re-worked it and sent it off to The Tablet, where I have a monthly column.

Naturally, two minutes after I had pushed the "send" button, someone came into my room with a hard copy of L'Osservatore Romano, and there was my original article, in Italian, on page 4.

So... was I plagiarizing myself by sending it to The Tablet?

(Of course, I did the obvious thing, and immediately wrote to the Tablet editor. She decided that few of their readers would be likely to have read the Italian version. She liked the article enough that she's decided to run it anyway.)

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