the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Continuing Copygate Discussions

Posted by Jeff Id on October 14, 2010

Climate Audit reader Geoff left this in the comments at the excellent CA copygate thread.  Not sure if this is Geoff Sherrington or not.

Geoff

Posted Oct 13, 2010 at 8:45 AM | Permalink | Reply

I note the comment from the Office of Research Integrity of the US Department of Health & Human Services:

ORI’s definition of plagiarism provides the following caveat:
“ORI generally does not pursue the limited use of identical or nearly identical phrases which describe a commonly-used methodology or
previous research because ORI does not consider such use as
substantially misleading to the reader or of great significance.”

http://ori.hhs.gov/education/products/plagiarism/

It seems a reasonable policy for basic information, especially considering how often the basics need to be repeated.  All of the unreferenced stuff in the Wegman report would easily fit into this category.The link is worth a minute to follow.

Carrick made this point at the CA thread also which fits well with the above policy.

Carrick

Posted Oct 14, 2010 at 8:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

I agree with the other commenters. bigcity obviously has no experience at all with reports/documents given to businesses, if he thinks plagiarism is always discouraged there. Some reports are mere aggregations of existing work—the value added is the aggregation not the individual contents in that case.

Ironically, legal departments want you to follow existing documents, and not deviate from it (not even in formatting). I had a document I prepared a few days ago that was returned to me reformatted and reworded to more closely follow the template given to me.

Perhaps Steve McIntyre could comment further on the differences between business and academic models. (It’s certainly not true that the press avoids plagiarism, as another example—quite the opposite.)

Also, Bart Verheggen has some discussion on the matter:

49 Responses to “Continuing Copygate Discussions”

  1. AMac said

    I disagree: Wegman and coauthors could have and should have acknowledged the sources of the ideas that they present. They certainly could have and should have given citations for the blocks of text that they cut-and-pasted.

    OK, it’s a pain in the neck to do so, by the picky standards of academia. I know, having spent much time at it before leaving those hallowed halls. The report authors could have instead made a set of blanket acknowledgments — “The primary sources for the background material presented in Section 23 are Clyde and Bonnie (1995) and Corleone et al (2001).”

    I write reports for industry and usually do that.

    From scanning comments — particularly Brandon Shollenberger’s at C-a-s — I recognize that many of Deep Climate’s and John Mashey’s charges don’t stick, and others are thin gruel. But some of the evidence they present appears to be solid.

    I find one telling parallel to L’affaire Tiljander. In that case, the principal (Prof. Mann) has remained silent on the points of dispute, letting his seconds do all the heavy lifting. If he really thinks that his conduct with respect to Mann08’s use of Tiljander is above reproach, he can use old media (WaPo Op-Ed, Chris Mooney interview) or new (RealClimate) to clearly state his position.

    Likewise, if Profs. Wegman and Said et al think that their report is fine as is, they can step up and so state. But to my knowledge, they have declined to do so.

  2. Mike S. said

    Moving beyond the immediate ramifications for Wegman and his team, and possible impacts on public perception of Hockey-gate, I’m starting to wonder what effect this is going to have, if any, on any future reports requested by Congressional committees.

    Wegman and his team worked pro bono on the report, with no real stake in the outcome. Unsurprisingly, the report (at least to me) has a “quick-and-dirty” feel to it – get the facts, present them, no need for excessive clean-up or “beautification”.

    Now, anyone presenting a report in a contentious area of research or policy is under notice – have all i’s dotted and all t’s crossed, or we’ll crucify you, regardless of how good your content is. I’m thinking pro bono expert work might become a wee bit harder to procure. Even if Wegman is fully exonerated in how he did his presentation, who’s going to want to go through this in the future?

  3. Mike S. said

    Likewise, if Profs. Wegman and Said et al think that their report is fine as is, they can step up and so state. But to my knowledge, they have declined to do so.

    Almost missed this. Wegman has specifically addressed this:

    When contacted by phone, Wegman said, “I’m very aware of this report, but I have already been asked by this university to refrain from commenting on this issue until all these issues have been completely settled.” He adds that “some litigation is underway”. [GMU spokesman Daniel] Walsh has also confirmed that the university asked Wegman to refrain from giving out any comments.

  4. AMac said

    Re: Mike S. (Oct 14 12:46),

    Thanks for the link, Mike S. It shows that I was wrong in making that comparison between Profs. Mann and Wegman. I withdraw it.

  5. David S said

    Surely the fundamental evil with plagiarism is that it is theft of intellectual property, passing off someone else’s work as one’s own, as in the case of Raj Persaud. It does not apply in these circumstances. I’m sure it has been said many times before, but I cannot believe that Bradley and the people at RC are unaware of the difference between a report prepared for a Government review and a piece of work representing itself as original research. Only in the latter case does the alleged misrepresentation have any meaning. As far as I am aware, Wegman was not seeking to represent himself as having undertaken paleo research de novo, so the question of plagiarism is moot. The allegations are simply a neat combination of smear and distraction, and as a number of people have pointed out at CA, if Bradley was acting in good faith he would have made similar allegations against other researchers who appear to have restated his work with less than perfect acknowledgement.

  6. Brian H said

    David S;
    Agree. Also, the ‘original’ work in question is listed in the references/sources.

    It’s a common tactic to try and “freeze” your opposition by demanding perfection in form, to negate the content.

  7. 5 David S

    “Surely the fundamental evil with plagiarism is that it is theft of intellectual property,”

    No, that’s an issue of theft. If that were the case, the focus on the text wouldn’t be there.

    The issue, overlooked mostly in these discussions, is credibility. It’s important to the institutions, for example. There’s been pointless discussion of the exact nature of Bradley’s complaint, and what it applies to. Universities should, and usually do, investigate on their own whenever evidence surfaces. They don’t need a formal complaint from anyone – they have a big stake in it. It’s their brand.

    It’s important to the writers themselves. There have been many cases (non-academic) where people have been unable to operate because of loss of credibility due to plagiarism. I mentioned at CA the recent case of Scott McInnis in CO. More famous were the allegations against Joe Biden in 1988, which forced him out of the presidential race for speeches with text from Neil Kinnock. It wasn’t because Kinnock was offended (he wasn’t) or that the plagiarism mad ethe speeches wrong in any way. It just took away his credibility.

    The credibility issue is mainly that it conveys the impression that you’re out of your depth, and are trying to sound authoritative about something you don’t understand, so it’s a kind of fraud against the audience. This of course is the issue with student grades etc, but it applies even more with statements designed to convince with the imprimatur of a famous scientist.

  8. TimG said

    #7 – Nick Stokes

    Wegman said nothing that was not demonstrated by SteveMc and agreed to by North. The only difference between the Wegman and North reports is Wegman did not feel it was necessary to protect the IPCC political agenda and did not spin his conclusions is a way that would allow misinterpretation (which is what North did).

    The plagiarism is a side show because that has no bearing on his statistical arguments which are his area of expertise.

  9. BillyBob said

    NS: “The issue, overlooked mostly in these discussions, is credibility.”

    Yup. And you have none. Neither does Mann. Or William Connelly. Or any of the AGW propagandists. You and they threw it all away.

  10. Lucia said

    Nick

    hich forced him out of the presidential race for speeches with text from Neil Kinnock. It wasn’t because Kinnock was offended (he wasn’t) or that the plagiarism mad ethe speeches wrong in any way. It just took away his credibility.

    Well… that and when applied to Biden’s background the plagiarized stuff from Kinnock distorted Biden’s family background making it appear Biden lied about his family background to voters. Kinnock may not have minded if Biden mislead voters about his family background, but some voters did. Plus a few days later, a Biden plagiarism in law school came to light. Then Biden lied about a few other things in his background: scholarships in college, class rank in law school and what not. Plus, Biden had already been running behind Dukakis and Gephart.

    It’s tough to unpack quite which issue forced Biden out of the race at a very early stage of the game. American’s will all recognize that speeches at the Iowa State fair, come… well… early in the primaries. That’s right, I wrote “Iowa”. As in: the first primary used to always be New Hampshire; that was followed by the Iowa Caucuses.

    So, yeah. At a very early stage in the primary, while polling well behind two other candidates in the primary, Biden committed several gaffes that were sufficiently embarrassing to suck all the wind out of his sails. He stepped out of the race. He seems to have suffered ilttle permanent harm. I have the strong impression the man, who is something of a foot-in the mouth, gaffe prone windbag somehow managed to become vice president.

  11. Stilgar said

    So if the IPCC printed a few paragraphs from someone else without mentioning with the text where it came from, then we are free to ignore the entire IPCC report? Or would just the individual chapter/working group that the quote/paraphrase is found in becomes invalid?

    That’s what it boils down to. From what I understand, the Wegman report was not for peer review, it was a political summary. No different from the IPCC.

    Does the summary for policy makers that the IPCC creates also reference everything correctly? (I am sure some will go ahead and try to claim that the larger IPCC document does, but we all know that politicians will not bother to read it so any omissions of reference or changes from the full text to the simpler text would be of a similar “sin” as to what Wegman did)

    I know it is silly to try to get the Team cheerleaders to agree to a set standard for all to be judged by, but you have to try anyway.

  12. gens said

    Nick is really stretching the point here. As many comments at CA have pointed out, copying of introductory and background material will have no impact on credibility in settings outside of the academy. The Biden speech is a very poor analogy. The Scott McInnis case is also a strained comparison – he was being paid for an original analysis and lifted both words and ideas which he claimed as his own. It was not limited to background and introductory material

    There should be no illusions about about what is going on here. Certain AGW’ers, being unable to scientifically poke any holes in the statistical findings of the Wegman report, are attempting to discredit it anyway by casting aspersions on the authors. If you want evidence of this, just check John Mashey’s mess of a paper where he actually checks a co-author’s PhD thesis for evidence of plagiarism. This is a thesis with no relevance to climate science – it is on alcohol abuse! The alacrity and glee with which Nick and his cohorts (yes, I am sure Nick will claim it it is not glee but disappointment and sadness, yadda , yadda) have jumped on these craven charges by Mashey does them a severe discredit.

  13. stan said

    Biden not only lied to the voters about his life (the big problem), he was stupid enough to lie about his life by appropriating someone else’s published story. He wasn’t even smart enough to make up his own lies!

    For Nick Stokes to equate Biden’s lying (and the stupidity in the way he lied) with academic plagiarism really boggles the mind. It would appear that he is so intent on damaging Wegman’s credibility that he has damaged his own. Give it up Nick. It’s a bridge too far.

  14. kuhnkat said

    So Nick, think you could become VP if you plagiarized a colleague?

  15. KK, no, I believe there’s a constitutional problem. But on plagiarism I’d be OK; my writing is sufficiently eccentric.

  16. Jeff Id said

    Nick, you always attract comments, but I don’t think you are wrong about this. It is also difficult to say you are 100 percent right. Surely the text was copied but I can’t find the true author. Were I to write the report, I would have quoted the copy. Wegman is likely to be in trouble IMO. However, is it reasonable to have any consequence from copying the most basic info? Again, Bradley is no issue because it was referenced but the wiki stuff is an unreferenced copy. Can anyone say who the original wiki author is though?

    I know who posted it, but have no evidence of who wrote it.

  17. TimG said

    SteveMc posted this link which pretty much vindicates Wegman:

    http://ori.dhhs.gov/education/products/plagiarism/10.shtml

    Consequently, students’ need to create an acceptable academic product that is grammatically correct and that demonstrates knowledge of the concepts discussed, forces many of them to rely on close paraphrases of the original text. Unfortunately, such writing can result in a charge of plagiarism.

    Perhaps in recognition of the fact that highly technical descriptions of a methodology, phenomena, etc., can be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to properly paraphrase, ORI’s definition of plagiarism provides the following caveat:

    “ORI generally does not pursue the limited use of identical or nearly-identical phrases which describe a commonly-used methodology or previous research because ORI does not consider such use as substantially misleading to the reader or of great significance.”

  18. 16 Jeff,
    Again, the source is irrelevant – it’s not about an aggrieved party. It was copied from somewhere (and Wiki, which matches word-for-word is the obvious candidate). That damages Wegman’s credibility, and that of GMU, which is why GMU is taking action. It isn’t because of Bradley’s hurt feelings.

    The SNA stuff isn’t basic info. It’s argument – explaining why SNA should be believed. For that sort of thing, you definitely want to know who is saying it.

  19. TimG said

    #18 – Nick Stokes

    Credibility with who? The people who already decided that they don’t want to listen to what Wegman has to say because it undermines their political objectives? Those people don’t need a bogus pilagerism charge and people who actually read an understand what Wegman says are not going care.

  20. Jeff Id said

    Nick,

    “Again, the source is irrelevant ”

    It is not if you suspect the source is not properly attributed. I do agree Wegman did a poor job.

    If you would like to base his credibility on the repetition of common knowledge, we have an entirely different matter. Surely one of your mathematical skill recognizes that credibility is not the issue?

  21. kuhnkat said

    Anyone know if the ORIGINAL of the social networking section has ever been found??

    Is it absolutely POSITIVE it was copied from there?

  22. kuhnkat said

    “The SNA stuff isn’t basic info. It’s argument – explaining why SNA should be believed. For that sort of thing, you definitely want to know who is saying it.”

    The Wikipedia section that was copied is argument?

  23. kuhnkat said

    Nick Stokes,

    “KK, no, I believe there’s a constitutional problem. But on plagiarism I’d be OK; my writing is sufficiently eccentric.”

    You’ve plagiarized a colleague to qualify as VP like Biden???

  24. AusieDan said

    Nick Stokes – let’s take another approach.
    We know your opinion of Wedgmen’s introductory remarks.
    (Most don’t agree, but no matter).

    Now what about the statistical skill of his arguement?

    You’re in a great hole. Stop digging!
    You are just drawing more and more attention to the fact that the Hockey Stick theory is dead in the water.

    On the other hand, perhaps I should encourage you to keep digging.
    your choice.

  25. kdk33 said

    AusieDan,

    Please let Nick be; there are 7 miners trapped beneath him that must be saved.

    argumentum ad hominem: an attempt to link the validity of a premise to a characteristic or belief of the person advocating the premise.[1][2]

    [1] “ad hominem: West’s Encyclopedia of American Law (Full Article) from”. Answers.com. 2007-09-10. http://www.answers.com/topic/ad-hominem. Retrieved 2009-11-08.

    [2] as copied from Wiki. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

  26. 24 As it happens, I’ve just posted on that at CA. There is virtually no statistical analysis in the report. Sec’s 1-3 are intro on other topics. Sec 4 basically recomputes the artificial PC examples of M&M, and says that decentering can introduce bias, which is really not in dispute – the question is how much (in MBH98/99), which they never say. Later calcs by Wahl and Ammann said, very little. Sec 5 is social network analysis, not about temp reconstructions at all. Then findings. Appendix A has elementary stuff on PCA; A3 has a moderately interesting theoretical demonstration of bias, but again it’s elementary, and no quantitative calcs are made.

    So really no statistical analysis at all. But if you’ve been able to find some, do set it out.

  27. Jeff Id said

    Nick,

    People always react strongly to you but I’ve never asked your opinion on the old HS and McIntyre/McKitrick conclusions. It seems fairly obvious that short centered PCA would emphasize variance in the near term so I really don’t see where any of this side issue affects Wegman’s credibility or conclusions. Certainly, the fact that he didn’t discuss it in extensive statistical detail to the likes of Maxine Waters or Carl Levin just means that Wegman recognized his audience.

  28. 27 Jeff,
    I’ve consistently said that decentered PCA is not a good idea, and looks like a simple mistake (they just used the wrong mean). And it hasn’t been used since MBH99. I think Wegman and M&M were right qualitatively, but never turned that into a quantitative calc to see just how much difference it actually made. The fact that other calcs since by other methods give similar results suggest that it doesn’t make much. And Wahl and Ammann 2007 seem to have confirmed that.

    Actually, I posted yesterday here on my plans to redo some of these calcs myself, starting with an Ammann code.

  29. Jeff Id said

    Thanks Nick, again it is hard to disagree with you. A simple mistake is very possibly what happened in the first paper, the others are fuzzy for me because they do much of the same thing.

  30. Lucia said

    Re: Nick Stokes (Oct 15 08:16),

    So really no statistical analysis at all. But if you’ve been able to find some, do set it out.

    Well… this counts as “statistical analysis”.

    Sec 4 basically recomputes the artificial PC examples of M&M, and says that decentering can introduce bias,

    Wegman answered the questions asked of him. The recomputation may not be “original”, but it is a statistical analysis, and it’s the statistical analysis that the Congressional committee wanted done to establish whether others doing it would confirm the results. That is: Contrary to your claim, a statistical analysis was performed by Wegman and presented in the Wegman report.

    You seem to be mistaking ground breaking, novel, original, fresh analysis for “analysis”. No one is asking whether Wegman’s statistical analysis was sufficiently novel to warrant publication as “new” in an academic journal. Of course it wasn’t. His specific mandate was to evaluate a dispute about the correctness of analyses and conclusions in already published articles. To do this, he performed “an analysis” and “made conclusions”. That analysis obviously did not involve developing a whole new statistical method, deviating from the papers etc. If it had done so it would not be responsive to Congress’s or the public’s questions”.

    But the fact that it was not a novel statistical analysis doesn’t mean it’s not “an statistical analysis”! To suggest such a thing is simply silly.

    JeffId–
    I agree with you that this plagiarism issue is not primarily an issue of Wegman’s credibiilty.

    I’ve already pointed out that Nick’s view of the Biden/Kinnock issue is not a good example of how a discovery of plagiarism affects people’s views about politicians or members of the public in general. Nick, not being an American, may have rather scant exposure to the dynamics of Democratic primaries. The fact is, not long before Biden’s gaffe, the Wall Street Journal had been referring to the candidates in the primary as “Snow White and the 7 dwarfs”. Biden counted among the 7 dwarfs. He was not the front runner, had never been the front runner. It is always the case that early in the campaign, many Americans are often fairly unfamiliar with most the candidates. (That is: Biden was well known in Delaware; not so much in other states.) Many budget their time to focus on reading more about front runners. Even a small gaffe can cause voters to decide this guy has no chance of winning, and those who might have been looking into Biden might well decide to focus on Gephart and Dukakis (who was the front runner after Hart –aka “Snow White– fell out of the race. In a crowded field of 7 candidates, Biden’s race was already not capturing the American imagination. He was not polling well. Then, he made a gaffe. As a result of the gaffe, he likely found that he was going to end up having to discuss the gaffe in every early interview (or it would be reported.) This would make it impossible for him to focus his message and get it out.

    He withdrew. Is this because of “loss of credibility” specifically for plagiarism as plagiarism (as opposed to appearing to lie about his family background? Or just “not being able to get a message out”? Given the circumstances surrounding the event, and the fact that he is now VP, I think it is the latter.

    Nick an Australian may have a different view of the dynamic of American primaries, particularly the 1988 primary. If so, he can explain why he thinks the it was specifically loss of credibiity due to American’s views on plagiarism itself. I think he’ll have a very difficult time showing that.

    Many American’s don’t care that much about plagiarism as plagiarism. Maybe they should, but they don’t.

  31. Carrick said

    Nick Stokes:

    No, that’s an issue of theft

    Theft implies intent.

  32. Carrick said

    I had another comment on the climateaudit thread… I was suggesting that it’s interesting how often plagiarism charges (real or imagined) come up in the context of political disputes. In this context, it’s just another version of “attack the messenger”. Kind of a typical tactic for warmingists, like asking where the funding is from, instead of actually delving into the content of the paper.

    I can think of few cases where the plagiarism arose as part of a scholastic dispute. Even blatant examples (like Ward Churchill) started out because he wrote a contentious editorial on 9/11.

    Here’s an example of Churchill’s plagiarism.

    (Animated gif showing Churchill’s painting reversed.)

    I think we can all agree this is cut from a different cloth than the type of sloppy, inadvertent plagiarism found in Wegman’s report.

    I do agree with Lucia that Wegman, as a representative of GMU, was obligated to maintain higher standards of academic conduct than this (sloppy work isn’t excusable in such a public forum as this).

  33. Mike S. said

    Many American’s don’t care that much about plagiarism as plagiarism.

    I think that’s because the word doesn’t really convey what is primarily disapproved of. Plagiarism has two dimensions – fraudulent (presenting something which someone else worked on, as if the involved work was your own, or otherwise taking the credit away from someone else for their work) and procedural (presenting someone else’s work without acknowledging it using the proper format/technique). At least among people I know, the former is seen as A Very Bad Thing, while the latter elicits an almost “so what?” attitude. I suspect many don’t care about that because they had trouble figuring out the right way to do it themselves back in their college writing classes, and so are not inclined to fault someone else for not dotting those same i’s and crossing those same t’s properly.

    That’s why Bradley’s charges find no grip: they are entirely procedural – the sections are obviously not presented as Wegman’s own work and he references Bradley’s book – and so elicit a yawning “meh” (except among those with an emotional investment in the issue). The SNA section elicits more concern to the degree the observer is uncertain as to whether or not Wegman intended it to be seen as his own work. Essentially, the view is “no fraud, no foul.”

  34. [...] on plagiarism. Particularly lively and interesting more recent discussions appear at climate audit ,the air vent and Judy Curry’s open [...]

  35. Steve McIntyre said

    Nick’s assertion that we didn’t assess the impact of PC retention is completely untrue. We catalogued a variety of permutations and combinations in MM2005 (EE), many of the cases having been previously raised in the Mann et al reply to our Nature submission and at realclimate posts. This analysis included cases such as 2 versus 5 covariance PCs, correlation PCs, no PCs etc – the main cases later discussed in Wahl and Ammann (who did not relate their findings to our results on the same point.)

    The diagnosis was that differences in results depended not on magic methods but whether bristlecones were retained as a principal component, which, in turn, raises the question of why Graybill’s bristlecone chronologies were uniquely capable of discerning world climate.

    On any empirical point, Wahl and Ammann got identical results to ours. They confirmed our results, but spun them differently.

    Our analysis long preceded Wahl and Ammann’s analysis of similar permutations, as did the analysis of Mann et al which we cited. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, Wahl and Ammann plagiarized the Mann et al reply to our Nature submission (the contents of which were in early RC posts published as a preemptive strike against our 2005 articles.)

  36. 35 Steve,
    I wasn’t talking about what you did – I was talking about what statistical analysis appeared in the Wegman Report. And what is lacking is a demonstration that the hockey stick would have looked different had Wegman’s criticism been met. That is what W&A attempted, and showed that it didn’t.

    The Wegman report was about the stat methods used by MBH. Bristlecones etc don’t appear in the analysis – only (characteristically) in the findings. But at least in finding 8, they preface their excursion with the caveat:
    “Although we have not addressed the Bristlecone Pines issue extensively in this
    report except as one element of the proxy data,…”

    “(not) extensively” is an understatement.

  37. Lucia 30,
    I was asked (again) about the quality of the statistical analysis, and my reply is that there isn’t analysis to which quality could be assigned. If they have repeated MM’s analysis and got it right, well, it’s better than getting it wrong, but not what I would call quality analysis. If the analysis isn’t original, then what can you say about it except that it’s a fair copy?

    On Biden, well, he withdrew in September 1987. That’s pretty early, and he hadn’t even been bimboed. Here is Maureen Dowd on the plagiarism issue. Biden’s spokesman sounds familiar:
    ”What he said was close to the Kinnock rhetoric, but on the other hand, it wasn’t untrue, was it?”
    But he went.

  38. kuhnkat said

    Nick Stokes,

    “27 Jeff,
    I’ve consistently said that decentered PCA is not a good idea, and looks like a simple mistake (they just used the wrong mean). ”

    I would be more sympathetic to it being a simple mistake if you could provide us with information on who has used decentered PCA previously? That is, where could he have gotten the idea that it was an appropriate tool that delivered useable information in the task he was accomplishing?

    Or, are you saying he was so poor at statistics that he did not realize that he was doing it incorrectly?

    I might have sympathy for that position also if he and fellow travelers had not fought so hard to NOT provide code and data, smeared those who were trying to straighten it out, and still maintains that his answer was right, whatever that means, and blames the Big Oil conspiracy for the whole thing. Then there is the minor issue that he continued to use bad proxies to hype his message and helped others do similar frauds.

    Ignoring the fact that the MWP was a fixed part of the Science based on records and proxies long before Mann arrived is to ignore what a HUGE change to the CONSENSUS SETTLED Science that Mann’s work was. How it could be accepted immediately without an enormous amount of discussion and argument still amazes me!! How were the stakeholders in the field convinced to shut up and accept this heresy changing their long held beliefs that were backed up by numerous data points?? Especially when this inexperienced, fresh faced kid just out of school used new methods and did NOT show any of it??

    No Nick, you are again acting as an apologist trying to put the best face on the criminal conspiracy caught red handed.

  39. kuhnkat said

    Nick Stokes,

    “If the analysis isn’t original, then what can you say about it except that it’s a fair copy?”

    You could say that it accomplishes the requested task, or not.

    For instance, I am asked to compute the area of a yard to purchase sod to cover. If I do not come up with a novel method, does it mean length x width is not a valid solution for the rectangular yard? As usual, you are trying to run down ridiculous tangents that are not apropos to the case at hand.

    Either the analysis was what the Committee wanted or it wasn’t. Based on how much time you and other apologists are wasting on this I would guess it was EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANTED, And correct to boot!!

  40. Geoff said

    Hi Jeff,

    Just to clear up the “mystery”, I’m not Geoff Sherrington but another member of the Geoff S. club (Smith). Geoff Sherrington writes intelligent comments on statistics and the scientific method. As for me, I’m probably one of the few individuals who was not embarrassed to have his private e-mails revealed in Climategate.

    What turns on the charges of plagiarism by Wegman? Nothing except style. Since his critics cannot answer his statistical analysis (which Jerry North as head of the NAS panel testified under oath that he agreed with) they look for alternative attack methods. This convinces no one with an open mind, but revs up the flagging spirits of the partisans.

  41. Brian H said

    #40, Geoff-not-Sherrington;
    Good comment, thx. But I’m curious about the term “private emails”. On what grounds are emails exchanged on site about work/project-related matters “private”? They might or might not be confidential, but they’re hardly personal property.
    IMO

  42. mikep said

    Could I just add that Mann has explicitly denied that his method was a mistake and that his PC1 (created by short centring) appears in later reconstructions than MBH1999 )including some of the “independent” ones that get the same result.

  43. Geoff said

    #41 Hi Brian, you’ve misconstrued my comment and jumped to conclusions. I have never worked at UEA, and the e-mails I refer to were e-mails I sent directly to scientists who were in a position to release data or take other positive steps. I felt that a direct approach might be more successful than a more public effort.

    Now they are public through no action of mine. If you want to see an example look at e-mail 1233326033 or page 124 in the Costella analysis at http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/reprint/climategate_analysis_updated.html .

  44. Carrick said

    Nick Stokes:

    On Biden, well, he withdrew in September 1987. That’s pretty early, and he hadn’t even been bimboed. Here is Maureen Dowd on the plagiarism issue. Biden’s spokesman sounds familiar:
    ”What he said was close to the Kinnock rhetoric, but on the other hand, it wasn’t untrue, was it?”
    But he went.

    Hence my comment on most plagiarism charges being driven by politics. Even the Ward Churchill (who is one of the worst offenders I’ve ever seen) charges and subsequent dismissal were driven by politics, IMO.

  45. Geoff said

    whoops, new version, page 139-40

  46. #44
    Carrick,
    Plagiarism is an ongoing issue wherever text is produced, eg universities, journalism etc. Politics doesn’t make it an issue – it just amplifies the noise about it.

  47. AMac said

    At Deep Climate via Eli Rabbett’s, Rattus Norvegicus links to this article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Alan Sokal, the 1996 Hoaxer, Takes Aim at an Accused Plagiarist at Rutgers.

    The particulars are entirely different, but the general frame is the same, as are the pro- and con- arguments. Depressing.

    I don’t see a reason to make excuses for the bad behavior in such cases. For Wegman, the authority of the report is diminished by this conduct. As always, the correctness and relevance of its arguments must stand or fall on their own merits, irrespective of attribution.

  48. gens said

    “…At Deep Climate via Eli Rabbett’s, Rattus Norvegicus links to this article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, …”

    Amac, now that is taking attribution way beyond where it needs to go. Four references for one article!

  49. kim said

    The echo’s in the attribution and the attribution is the echo.
    =========================

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 140 other followers

%d bloggers like this: