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Because the world needs another opinion

As Copygate turns

Posted by Jeff Id on October 9, 2010

I’ve spent the last several hours looking at references and such from the alleged plagiarism included in the Wegman report.  Deep climate has been ranting on about it for a long time now, I’ve found the discussion both tedious and uninteresting but primarily the lack of organization of the story combined with discussions of Wegmans differences of opinion (Bias in Deep’s view) at his blog makes the issue difficult to penetrate.

Several sections of the Wegman report are very believable rewordings of the literature, and I find it impossible to conclude that pre-dated sources were not correctly identified by Deep.

From Wiki:

Plagiarism is defined in dictionaries as “the wrongful appropriation, close imitation, or purloining and publication, of another author’s language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions, and the representation of them as one’s own original work.”[1][2] The modern concept of plagiarism as immoral and originality as an ideal emerged in Europe only in the 18th century, while in the previous centuries authors and artists were encouraged to “copy the masters as closely as possible” and avoid “unnecessary invention.”[3][4][5][6][7]

The 18th century new morals have been institutionalized and enforced prominently in the sectors of academia and journalism, where plagiarism is now considered academic dishonesty and a breach of journalistic ethics, subject to sanctions like expulsion and other severe career damage. Not so in the arts, which have resisted in their long-established tradition of copying as a fundamental practice of the creative process, with plagiarism being still hugely tolerated by 21st century artists.[8][9]

Plagiarism is not a crime but is disapproved more on the grounds of moral offence.[3][10]

So it is the representation of someone else’s ideas as your own work.  The sections of the Wegman report which can be credibly stated to NOT be his own work include some from a book by Raymond Bradley. In the ever-left USA Today, Bradley is quoted as writing:

“Clearly, text was just lifted verbatim from my book and placed in the (Wegman) report,” says Bradley, who is also one of the authors of the 1999 Nature study. In response to earlier concerns raised by the Deep Climate website, Bradley says he wrote a letter in April to GMU, noting the possibility of plagiarism and demanding an investigation of both the 2006 report and a subsequent, federally-funded study published by some of Wegman’s students. “Talk about irony. It just seems surreal (that) these authors could criticize my work when they are lifting my words.”

Now it sure sounds serious, the best representation of the copied text I can find is from the Deep Climate website copied here.wegman-bradley-tree-rings-v20[1]

In my opinion the text was obviously a sligtly reworded version of Bradley’s book.   That issue is a no brainer, but I wonder if that rises by itself to the level of plagiarism.  Certainly, nobody expected that Wegman knew this stuff on his own, he’s a statistician and was asked to testify on statistics issues. It’s hard to imagine anyone reading the report would misinterpret Wegman as representing himself as an expert in paleoclimatology so of course you would expect this sort of background information to be compiled from sources.

So the question is, were the sources referenced correctly?  After all, this is a congressional report, not a scientific paper.

The book in question was: Paleoclimatology: Reconstructing Climates of the Quaternary

Riveting title aside, I looked to the bibliography of Wegman’s report.07142006_wegman_report[1]

Bradley, R. S. (1999) Paleoclimatology: Reconstructing Climates of the Quarternary, 2nd
Edition, San Diego: Academic Press.

So it seems to me that to accuse academic misconduct from this section on basic background information on paleoclimatology, means that we must assume that first Wegman’s report represents that he himself came up with the field.  Also, since there was slight rewording of the text based on some improved wording and differences of opinion, how could he possibly cite the information in a quotation fashion.  It wasn’t a direct quote.

I assume then that Ray and Deep are basically insisting that Wegman must use his words exactly as written by Ray with no changes and then place quotes around the whole thing?  As we know, in climate science there is often little room for differences of opinion.

Is it correct to insist that he can’t cite the book and insert changes to the text where appropriate for a congressional report?

And I find it particularly odd that Raymond Bradley who was one of the critiqued authors by Wegman’s report, who’s book was cited by the Wegman report, just now after years noticed that the wording was too similar for his liking.

I’m inexperienced in how plagiarism and proper citation are addressed in non-scientific literature so perhaps someone can enlighten me but it seems to me that this is a totally fabricated issue.


112 Responses to “As Copygate turns”

  1. M. Simon said

    I have been accused of plagiarism. In fact I just accused myself of plagiarizing myself the other day. I don’t think I getting out of this one. There is a fair amount of evidence.

  2. co2fan said

    It’s the usual suspects, diverting attention from the issue by trying to shoot the messenger.

    LOL

    Especially that third person pompous ass, oops I mean rabbit, on Lucia’s blog.

  3. kim said

    The light shines on the truth.
    ==========

  4. Mike S. said

    Uh-oh, Jeff, you just stole the ideas for this article from my comment #5 in the original “Copygate” article – and without any citations! You’re in trouble….🙂

  5. Jeff Id said

    Mike,

    That’s funny, With all the time I spent reading, the comments today weren’t on the list. You said exactly the same thing. I claim independent discovery🙂

    Mike S. said
    October 8, 2010 at 8:42 pm e

    OK, I admit to being a bit confused by “copygate”.

    Based on what I’ve seen posted on various alarmist blogs, a primary accusation seems to be that Wegman’s report copies chunks from Bradley’s Paleoclimatology: Reconstructing Climates of the Quaternary, but changes them to mean (or at least imply) something different than the original.

    Now, Wegman’s report clearly cites Paleoclimatology in the bibliography, but does not attribute specific passages to it (at least I don’t remember seeing any specific attributions, but then I only skimmed it). However, if Wegman wanted to use a chunk of text from Paleoclimatology as a base and adjust a few words to better convey what he was trying to say, how is he supposed to cite that? He’s not exactly quoting, but he’s not ‘not’ quoting either. I don’t remember anything about that kind of scenario in my old college writing classes.

    I didn’t note what other works Wegman is alleged to have plagiarized from, but it would not surprise me if they are all listed in his bibliography. So, is it plagiarism? Poor referencing? Something else? Does it even matter?

    Discovery of what is another matter.

  6. Jeff Id said

    That could have saved me a lot of time.

  7. kdk33 said

    Question

    Have errors been found in Wegman’s statistical analysis (conclusions regardings Mann’s work) or did he just copy (kind of, but not exactly) some background prose.

  8. John F. Pittman said

    Jeff, IIRC, copywrite, and I would assume, plagarism are not infractions when reporting to Congress. He acknowledged the source, and then provided what was requested. I don’t think one has to get an autor’s permission if the request is from Congress. It will be interesting. I imagine that the school’s administration is aware of the request. Has anybody seen the suit? Is there a suing party? I have to think that those comparing this to “own goal” will be correct, when all is said and done,or not, as may be the case.

  9. andy said

    So the work is cited.
    Maybe it could have been cited better.

    And the statistical analysis?

    What a surprise they don’t want to talk about that.

  10. boballab said

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that Deep Climate doesn’t understand what the term “Fair Use” means:

    § 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use40

    Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include —

    (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

    (2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

    (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

    (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

    The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

    http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107

  11. Brian H said

    When I saw Ribbit-Ribbit weigh in, I knew the charges were BS. By their advocates shall ye know them …

  12. eddy said

    This suggests a little experiment. Take one of the disputed paragraphs and compare the Bradley version to a previous textbook definition. If they match as closely as the reworded version in Wegmann then its grins all round. For basic stuff there are only so many ways of stating the basics🙂

  13. Anthony Watts said

    What I find amazing, is that all these years have passed since the Wegman report was released:

    http://climateaudit.org/2006/07/14/wegman-report-released/

    …in July 2006.

    Obviously Bradley would have read it before, as it is being critical of his work. Not a peep from him about the issue until just after Cuccinelli gets his second subpoena going.

    Sure seems like more politics, less substance. If anyone on MBH was upset by it when they read the report in 2006, it sure didn’t rise to the level of public complaint then or in the time since. So it must have been a non-issue then in their eyes.

    If Bradley’s defense is that he never read the report until now, and is just now noticing the issue (with help from Deep Climate) he looks incompetent.

    Me thinks it’s just that DC reminded them of a convenient political opportunity.

    Hey I need some help in getting WaPo to publish the Hal Lewis resignation letter. Go on over to WUWT and help out with the links to WaPo and send a request.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/10/08/hal-lewis-my-resignation-from-the-american-physical-society

    The letter needs to be spread far and wide on other blogs and discussion forums also.

  14. stan said

    This is an absolutely perfect example of the failure of the left-wing wackos to make a logical, coherent argument. Even if Wegman were guilty of blatant plagiarism, it would not mean anything with respect to the issue at hand — climate science. It wouldn’t help Mikey Mann’s work or Mikey’s claims about climate science.

    Assuming a plagiarism charge is made to stick against Wegman, the wackos will have succeeded only in tarnishing his personal reputation. His analysis would still stand on its own merits. I don’t care about Wegman or his personal life or even his reputation (insofar as the dispute is about climate and policy). His work would stand or fall the same way, even if he did it while in prison on a murder rap, or even if the work were proven to have been ripped off from an undergraduate student.

    Einstein responded to the German pamphlet “100 Scientists Against Einstein” by remarking, “Why 100? If I were wrong, one would have been enough!”

    Smearing people that disagree may help win elections, but it doesn’t change the science, math or statistics. We aren’t electing a boy scout honor council.

  15. Antoon DV said

    Anthony,
    Bradley sent the letter in April, before Cuccineli started his actions …

  16. John F. Pittman said

    Stan, you are correct. It is a failure of the left, not liberal policies. Of course, the left-wing is making right-wing arguments at this time. The LEFT and the RIGHT have joined together to confound the conservatives and liberals from getting together to improve the human lot through well reasoned compromise.😉

  17. bob said

    From what I read from Jeff and others is that Wegman did not plagiarize.

    The report in and of itself does not purport to be anyone’s original academic work, and what we are left with are simply unreferenced or improperly referenced remarks in a text. It was clearly not his intent to present the report as original research

    As a final note, Wegman didn’t make up his stuff like the IPCC reports.

  18. I’m horribly reminded of the outcome of the original Wegman “vs” North event. North said to reporters (or reporters understood) that the HS had been vindicated, and only in close questioning did North admit he did not disagree with Wegman on key issues – ie the HS was NOT vindicated.

    HOWEVER (drrrrum rrrrrrroll) that’s not what newspapers reported. They reported victory for North and vindication of the HS over Wegman. And that’s what people remember.

    Are these r*** a**** squirting mud in the hope that some will stick onto the previous cakes of mud?

    Wegman again? Oh yes, he was discredited last time, found some more, plagiarism this time, how dreadful. And to think Cuccinelli is drawing on someone who’s been discredited twice now, terminally, incontrovertibly discredited, to make his strawman case against Mann………

  19. kuhnkat said

    So how does Donald Rapp fit into the current Bradley issue??

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2009/deepclimate-in-cache/

    Was Bradley also plagiarized by Rapp. Did Bradley plagiarize Rapp. Was Wegman plagiarized by both of them???Some one needs some hard evidence of precedence here and proof that the passages are not reasonably distant from the standard definition.

    As the Wegman report actually REFERENCES Bradley I think we can see why the earlier Rapp accusation was quashed.

    The only issue left is whether there are clear rules declaring that poor paraphrasing is a crime.
    If poor paraphrasing is a crime most of us better quit writing including the accusers.

  20. Eric Anderson said

    “Deep climate has been ranting on about it for a long time now, I’ve found the discussion both tedious and uninteresting but primarily the lack of organization of the story combined with discussions of Wegmans differences of opinion (Bias in Deep’s view) at his blog makes the issue difficult to penetrate.”

    Jeff, you are a brave man to spend time at Deep Climate. He occasionally has some good thoughts and valid points, but it is generally a pretty tough site to wade through. I’ve found my time is better spent elsewhere . . .

  21. David Jay said

    M.Simon:

    Actually, self-plagiarism is a hot topic in school these days (my daughter was “instructed” in such matters). It is re-using content you have written earlier and passing it off as new work. The stress is on referencing your previous work, so it is properly sourced.

    David Jay
    “In God We Trust, all others show code and data”

  22. Jeff,
    I tend to agree that while it’s cheeky to include in a hatchet job text lifted from a textbook by a hatchetee, it isn’t hugely significant. But the social network analysis stuff lifted from Wikipedia (Mashey p 119) is more serious, since SNA is something Wegman introduced, and they are trying to sound as if they know something about it.

  23. davidc said

    In the Wegman report

    “…proxy signals contained in the historical records of climate dependent natural phenomena.
    Table 1 based on Bradley (1999) illustrates the wide variety of these natural phenomena
    that may be used as proxies. Some proxies measure very low frequency (slowly varying)
    climatic variables and thus are not useful for measuring average annual temperature
    changes. Table 2 found in Bradley (1999)”

    So he is clearly drawing attention to Bradley (1999). If this case was serious there would be no mention of this work.

  24. M. Simon said

    Anthony,

    I haven’t been doing climate much lately on my blog but I will take your advice and do a post. Links to you and tAV natch.

  25. M. Simon said

    David Jay,

    I had no idea things had gotten so insane.

    So if I use a phrase like:

    “Government can….”. I have news for you. No it can’t.

    Do I have to link back to the first time I used it? I’d like to know the rules (the short version) lest I be accused of not following them out of ignorance. I prefer not following them out of intention.

  26. Eric Anderson said

    David Jay, it is impossible to self-plagiarize. The teacher may not want students re-using work from prior courses if they want them to do it de-novo for their class — I can understand that — but that is an issue of whether the student did the appropriate amount of “work” for the particular teacher in question, and has nothing to do with plagiarism.

  27. Peter P. said

    Hey All, slightly off topic… I think 10 October from now on should be commemorated as Climate Fools Day, to remember the beginning of the end of the global warming swindle.

    A hundred years from now, children will remember and celebrate this day!

    Thank you 10:10. No Pressure!

  28. steven Mosher said

    agree with Nick on the SNA.

    if it were a freshman english paper I would say this.

    1. the bradley stuff was cited, but not properly. Not plagarism.
    2.SNA stuff: not cited. problem.

  29. asmilwho said

    I don’t know about everyone else, but somehow I feel a sense of disappointment. Is this the best that the Hockey Team can come up with?

    Four years after the event (as Anthony points out) they complain that someone asked to summarize their work …. summarized their work.

    This is risible, and to repeat what others are saying, has no effect on the criticism of the statistical methods that the Team used / uses.

  30. MikeN said

    This is taken very seriously at universities. Wegman could be fired over the issue.
    Professors are very quick to hand out an F if they see plagiarism, of one sentence in a 20 page paper, and then refer you to be thrown out of school.

  31. DaveJR said

    15.Antoon DV said “Bradley sent the letter in April, before Cuccineli started his actions …”

    Not true. Cuccinelli filed on the 23rd April 2010.

    http://www.foxnews.com/projects/pdf/Virginia_Attorney_General_Letter.pdf

  32. 31 DaveJR
    According to this letter from GMU, the investigative committee was formed in April. Seems hard to imagine that Bradley wrote after April 23, and GMU had a committee ready all within 7 days.

  33. stan said

    Nick Stokes, Steve Mosher, and Mike N,

    SO WHAT?! As it relates to the question of Mann’s fatally messed up hockey stick, what difference does it make if Wegman is fired for plagiarism? None.

    As it relates to Einstein’s theory of relativity, what difference would it make if we were to discover that he was a cross-dresser, a witch, a petty thief, or an axe murderer? None. Or even that he got the idea from a butcher down the street and didn’t cite him? None.

    Mann’s work is flawed. Period. Any problems that the alarmist team manages to smear onto Wegman can not possibly breathe new life into the Mannian corpse. It’s dead. It’s been proved, repeatedly, to be completely pucked up.

  34. Jeff Id said

    I would like to address the specific point of how this should have been correctly cited. What is the correct procedure when most of the text is used but some is changed? I don’t think a report (summary) to congress needs to meet the same standards as a scientific paper. In several instances the wording was changed to simpler, easier to understand language that had the same meaning. Our congress has some very dumb people in it, ever heard Maxine Waters speak? While the bulk of it is from Bradley, once the language was changed it would be inappropriate and maybe even illegal to deliberately misquote him. If you were to cite every sentence that was perfect and leave the changed ones unmarked, is that correct? It sure would have made a messy looking report.

    Since it was just background material on paleo discussing what paleo is and not specifically related to anything new, is it really inappropriate to simply cite the book at the end? It certainly didn’t look like he was claiming credit for inventing paleo or social networking to me.

  35. kim said

    I predict it’s going to take a Congressional investigation to settle this matter. One fine day soon. Keep the windows closed, but let the light in.
    ================

  36. Jeff,
    As I’ve said above, the worst examples are not the Bradley stuff, but the social network analysis, which is supposedly original material introduced by Wegman. The offending para on p 19 lifted from <a href="Social Networks, Wiki Feb 2006 is:

    “The shape of the social network helps determine a network‘s usefulness to its individuals. Smaller, tighter networks can be less useful to their members than networks with lots of loose connections (weak ties) to individuals outside the main network. More “open” networks, with many weak ties and social connections, are more likely to introduce new ideas and opportunities to their members than closed networks with many redundant ties. In other words, a group of friends who only do things with each other already share the same knowledge and opportunities. Yet a group of individuals with connections to other social worlds is likely to have access to a wider range of information. It is better for individual success to have connections to a variety of networks rather than many connections within a single network. Similarly, individuals can exercise influence or act as brokers within their social networks by bridging two networks that are not directly linked (called filling social holes)”

    They’ve made just one change, adding “Yet”.

    No niceties of how to reference – Wiki isn’t mentioned anywhere.

  37. DaveJR said

    Nick Stokes wrote: “Seems hard to imagine that Bradley wrote after April 23, and GMU had a committee ready all within 7 days.”

    That something is “hard to imagine” does not mean it can’t be true. Unless I see the original letter by Bradley as received by the university, I’m afraid I find the attack on Wegman by Mann’s coauthor and Cuccinelli’s investigation of Mann being unconnected, hard to imagine.

  38. Lady in Red said

    Let’s see:

    Wegman “lifted” stuff. I expect it’s true. Bradley’s smart, good writer…. it was easy, fast…. probably a bunch of intern/kids who did the actual “lifting” – for the preamble of the report….. i.e., imagine…..this report is going to be about buttons, counting buttons, saving buttons, exchanging buttons. We will write about who keeps buttons and why, how they are used in the creation of costumes. ..Which buttons become valuable and which do not…. and, as number guys, we will look at how the button people track their buttons…..

    … doing good statistical analysis with buttons, or climate data. It’s the math, folks.

    The Wegman Report conclusions about Mann’s lousy math are true. Is Mann mathematically/statistically challenged? Yes.

    The Bradley stuff which was lifted was preamble, like the history of buttons. Lifting the stuff without attribution wasn’t nice; in fact, it was plagiarism. Deep Climate does not deal, ever, with the substance of the report, the fact Mann can’t punch his way out of a statistical paper bag

    Has Mann done good, credible scientific analysis? Is there a hockey stick, or not? The story about the history of buttons, as it were, is not relevant to the question of Mann’s credibility as a scientist – axing the MWP, no less.

    (I have tried to read Deep Climate’s pedantic analysis of Wegman’s plagiarism. One does wonder where he gets the time, the interest, in such non-relevant facts. I’d be hard pressed to defend Wegman in the matter. But that don’t validate the hockey stick, folk. The hockey stick continues to be a sham.)

    Congratulations to Deep Climate. May he continue to pick metaphorical lint off the jackets of
    smart men…. But, who cares? ……..Lady in Red

  39. Jeff Id said

    Thanks Nick, I’m still not sure Wegmen is legally clean from the Bradley stuff either though. I’m not a professor so am unsure how that will be handled.

    I’m trying to figure out who wrote that wiki quote but it is still incredibly general information. Perhaps like lady in red stated it was done by a grad student or someone for him.

  40. David S said

    Interesting use of double standards from the predictable gang at RC. The critical test for Wegman, Mann or anybody else is: do the errors/omissions/misdemeanours disqualify the scientific content or not? On RC you will read that neither climategate nor Steve McIntyre’s work nor the numerous errors/lies/misquotes in IPCC4 detracts from the “settled science”, but the slightest problem with Wegman gives them a chance to pile on.

  41. Charlie A said

    We could solve the mystery if we were mind readers.

    Was Wegman trying make us think that he and his coauthors were the original authors?

    Or did Wegman expect that people would understand that he was summarizing and paraphrasing previous works?

    —————–

    I wonder how much “plagiarism” was done by IPCC, using the definition that Wegman’s critics are using?

  42. Kan said

    That is funny – everybody winces when using Wikipedia as a reference due to it’s somewhat questionable accuracy in certain matters. Now we are going to move mountains because it was not cited?

    Does this mean it is now acceptable once again to quote Wiki in polite company?

  43. Lady in Red said

    Anthony Watts, and others, apparently, have chided Keith Kloor for not posting about Hal Lewis’ resignation from APS and focused, instead, on this metaphorical lint story about Wegman.

    Keith replied:

    “Anthony Watts and other commenters here have asked why I haven’t yet posted on the Hal Lewis resignation. It’s silly. “

    Silly? Poor Keith! His “lint” story has about thirteen minutes of intellectual traction, regardless the outcome for Wegman and others. Lewis’ resignation letter is far more nuanced, complicated.

    We have thousands of “certified climate scientists” of various educational persuasions in the United States alone. None of them speak, publicly, on the issue of “man-made global climate disaster.” According to Lewis, they are not even permitted to “speak” about the matter to their professional societies.

    Is that weird?

    Lewis, finally, in desperate annoyance, resigns his APS professional affiliation. More lock-step silence.

    Is that weird?

    This is a story that has traction – for months, years, even? Hell, one might move from APS, to AMS to AGU to The Oceanography Society…. where else? Beyond Judith Curry and Peter Webster, who is “allowed” to speak, publicly, about this issue?

    I read Mann’s letter in the Washington Post: “How can I assure young researchers in climate science that if they make a breakthrough in our understanding about how human activity is altering our climate that they, too, will not be dragged through a show trial at a congressional hearing? “

    Whew! Real science? Is NSF funding any research about “man-made climate disaster,” more fundamental than mere remediation for the “known science” about which all in the field agree – in silence? Do today’s “scientists” carry blackjack knee-cappers to convert the unconvinced?

    Why the silence?

    Why the silence?

    Mann intones: “My fellow scientists and I must be ready to stand up to blatant abuse from politicians who seek to mislead and distract the public.” I am waiting for Mann’s “fellow scientists” to stand up.

    One tree fell in the forest, and all the highly educated, commited to “man-made global climate disaster” are silent. Where, in heavens name, is the noise?

    This is a potential Keith Kloor blog with lots and lots of traction. ….assuming one can move beyond the hand-on-forehead, furrowed brow, overworked-with-grading-papers, I-don’t-have-time, am-too-underpaid argument. Where the hell are Michael Mann’s students, the real scientists of tomorrow?

    Why only Hal Lewis? Who is talking? ….Lady in Red

  44. Jeff Id said

    I found a 2006 paper with very similar wording to what Nick quoted above.

    http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~ss824/papers/scn.pdf

  45. Jeff Id said

    And this link may have some of the same text as well, I would appreciate it if someone could send a copy.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V8V-4PCPFBJ-1&_user=10&_coverDate=01%2F10%2F2008&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_origin=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=86e61773b9f78372cdf827a81ae5d093&searchtype=a

  46. TomRude said

    Anthony Watts wrote:
    What I find amazing, is that all these years have passed since the Wegman report was released:
    http://climateaudit.org/2006/07/14/wegman-report-released/
    …in July 2006.

    Well that’s the difference between “weather” and “climate” for you… LOL

  47. Jeff Id said

    Someone sent the article above.

  48. boballab said

    Jeff I tracked the change to a Rev date of 6 sept 2005 and the user Goodoldpolonius2.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Social_network&action=historysubmit&diff=22709409&oldid=22708874

    His page linked here is interesting:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Goodoldpolonius2

  49. RobWansbeck said

    This appears to be the latest version of the book:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/16/Introduction_to_Sociology-v2.0.pdf

    The quoted text is at page 71.

  50. Carrick said

    Charles A:

    I wonder how much “plagiarism” was done by IPCC, using the definition that Wegman’s critics are using?

    I’m sure Nick Stokes and the others are right on it.

  51. boballab said

    Ok I think I found where everything comes from. Nick linked to an old revision of the page, here is the link to the current revision and it gives a cite at the end of this paragraph as shown:

    The shape of a social network helps determine a network’s usefulness to its individuals. Smaller, tighter networks can be less useful to their members than networks with lots of loose connections (weak ties) to individuals outside the main network. More open networks, with many weak ties and social connections, are more likely to introduce new ideas and opportunities to their members than closed networks with many redundant ties. In other words, a group of friends who only do things with each other already share the same knowledge and opportunities. A group of individuals with connections to other social worlds is likely to have access to a wider range of information. It is better for individual success to have connections to a variety of networks rather than many connections within a single network. Similarly, individuals can exercise influence or act as brokers within their social networks by bridging two networks that are not directly linked (called filling structural holes).[5]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_network

    The Cite is for: Scott, John. 1991. Social Network Analysis. London: Sage.

    I also found this when looking up that paper:

    The shape of a social network helps determine a network’s usefulness to its individuals. Smaller, tighter networks can be less useful to their members than networks with lots of loose connections (weak ties) to individuals outside the main network. More open networks, with many weak ties and social connections, are more likely to introduce new ideas and opportunities to their members than closed networks with many redundant ties. In other words, a group of friends who only do things with each other already share the same knowledge and opportunities. A group of individuals with connections to other social worlds is likely to have access to a wider range of information. It is better for individual success to have connections to a variety of networks rather than many connections within a single network. Similarly, individuals can exercise influence or act as brokers within their social networks by bridging two networks that are not directly linked (called filling structural holes). [Scott, John. 1991. “Social Network Analysis.” London: Sage.]

    http://en.academic.ru/dic.nsf/enwiki/193486

  52. Jeff Id said

    Boballab, Rob,

    I think Rob has the original author although the wrong edition. The article is a disgusting Marxist book. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikimedia/en-labs/8/8b/Introduction_to_sociology.pdf

    Wow, Wegman quoted one of the most disgusting Marxist piles of tripe I’ve read.

    My wife told me a lot of sociology is like this. How is it that people faced with piles of facts to the contrary can exist in these forms of denial? Marx wasn’t stupid, he was just wrong.

    If you build a castle, the brick on the top is what everyone sees but the one at the bottom is the most important.

  53. boballab said

    #52

    Jeff, that was made in 2006 after the Wikipedia article was changed in Sept 2005, see my post #48 where I linked to the revision page or you can just look at the screencap here and note the date:

    That establishes that particular paragraph prior to the Wikibook, however at that time their was no reference on that paragraph in the Wikipedia article. The same applies to the revision Nick linked to, however in the current revision of the Wikipedia article they do give a citation to a Handbook printed in 1991 and updated in 2000.

    Note Jeff that the authors of that book cite the Wikipedia Article as their source on page 85:

    This chapter draws heavily on the following Wikipedia articles:
    · group
    · Social identity
    · Primary group/Secondary group
    · Group Polarization
    · Deindividuation
    · Social loafing
    · Social network
    · Groupthink
    · Reference group

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikimedia/en-labs/8/8b/Introduction_to_sociology.pdf

    So the book that rob linked to is not the source of that paragraph.

    Also of note the author to the Wikipedia article is not listed as one of the contributors of the Wikibook:
    http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Introduction_to_Sociology/Noted_Contributors.

  54. boballab said

    I have found a link dated from Nov 2004 that has this in it:

    The shape of a social network helps determine a network’s usefulness to its individuals. Smaller, tighter networks can be less useful to their members than networks with lots of loose connections to individuals outside the main network.

    More open networks, with many weak ties and social connections, are more likely to introduce new ideas and opportunities to their members than closed networks with many redundant ties.

    In other words, a group of friends who only do things with each other already share the same knowledge and opportunities. A group of individuals with connections to other social worlds is likely to have access to a wider range of information.

    It is better for individual success to have connections to a variety of networks rather than many connections within a single network. Similarly, individuals can exercise influence or act as brokers within their social networks by bridging two networks that are not directly linked (called filling structural holes).

    The power of social network analysis stems from its difference from traditional social scientific studies, which assume that it is the attributes of individual actors—whether they are friendly or unfriendly, smart or dumb, etc.—that matter.

    Social network analysis produces an alternate view, where the attributes of individuals are less important than their relationships and ties with other actors within the network. This approach has turned out to be useful for explaining many real-world phenomena, but leaves less room for individual agency, the ability for individuals to influence their success, because so much of it rests within the structure of their network.

    http://clicks.weebly.com/social-networking.html

    Here is the Google listing:

    Social Networking – Top List
    Nov 5, 2004 – The shape of a social network helps determine a network’s usefulness to its individuals. Smaller, tighter networks can be less useful to their members than …
    clicks.weebly.com/social-networking.html – Cached

    http://www.google.com/search?q=%22The+shape+of+a+social+network+helps%22&hl=en&lr=&sa=X&ei=lyiyTNSrGsOAlAfbmL3lDw&ved=0CAkQpwU4Cg&source=lnt&tbs=cdr:1,cd_min:10/1/1980,cd_max:9/1/2005

    So obviously that Wikipedia article or that Wiki book is where that paragraph originated.

  55. boballab said

    Err That should have been So obviously that Wikipedia article or that Wiki book is NOT where that paragraph originated.

  56. Mike S. said

    As per the Wikipedia entry Wegman is alleged to have plagiarized – I did a Google search on a couple of primary terms, “smaller, tighter networks” and “shape of the social”, and got well over 300 hits. Over half appear to be this particular text, and none of the two dozen or so identical versions I looked at gave any reference for it.

  57. kuhnkat said

    Nick Stokes,

    I believe I remember you trying to support Prof Wang on his science even though the investigation found that he had little data that could be presented that matched the specs in his aper and others showed it was likely that there could not be enough real data to support his UHI paper.

    Resolution was that it was all blamed on the assistant. Didn’t hear you yelling for Wang’s head even though there was bad or misleading science! What is the difference here again? Oh yeah, Wegman isn’t accused of fraud or malfeasance, just plagiarism and trying to pass himself off as an expert in an area he isn’t.

    http://www.informath.org/pubs/EnE07a.pdf

    So Nick, apparently, like virtually all your other posts you are acting purely in a partisan manner and in this case trying to exact revenge on a man who trashed your beloved Hockey Stick. Good to know the character of the people we read on the net!!

    Maybe you should back off a little and allow for the slight possibility that this situation sounds more like the work of a student trying to get ahead in a high profile, stressful activity? Wanna help crucify that person Nick??

    Obviously the line was crossed with wholesale copying of others work even if it was common background information from an obscure work available for 20 years!! The question is, do you really want revenge on Wegman so bad that you will escalate the attention on this case to the point that someone you don’t know, and who may be an otherwise fine individual, is bound to get crucified for a relatively minor offense???

    Yeah, I thought you would Nick!!

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  58. boballab said

    Found this from Sept 2005 (page 23):

    The shape of the social network helps determine its usefulness to its members. Smaller, tighter networks can be less useful than networks with lots of loose connections to individuals outside the main network. More “open” networks, with many weak ties and social connections, are more likely to introduce new ideas and opportunities than closed networks with many redundant ties.
    ©2005

    http://www.knowledgestreet.com/Knowledge_Street_Report_-_BLL_ikonnect.pdf

    Then I found this from Apr 2005 (page 26):

    The shape of the social network has been found to be a key factor in a network’s usefulness to the individuals it includes. Smaller tighter networks, for example, can actually be less useful to their members than networks with lots of loose connections (weak ties) to other individuals outside the main network. More “open” networks, with many weak ties and social connections, are more likely to introduce new ideas and opportunities to their members than closed networks with many redundant ties.

    http://www.ics.forth.gr/isl/publications/paperlink/papag.pdf

    It’s not exact but you see the same words, however this thing is looking more and more as something that everyone and their grandmother (Including Wikipedia) has taken from some text book somewhere.

  59. Mark F said

    It would seem prudent to archive wiki’s articles containing the text, so that creative rewrites can’t (if they haven’t already done so) be used to seal the fate of Wegman. not that any creative Wiki editing has ever been done in the past….

  60. Mike S. said

    I did find, in the 2008 NESTet transactions, the following:

    On the final point covering the organisation and its networks, the basic assumption would be that the shape of the social network helps determine the networks´ usefulness to its individuals. Smaller tighter networks tend to be less useful and efficient than larger more open networks with many weak ties to individuals outside this network (Wasserman, Stanley, & Faust, Katherine. (1994). Social Networks Analysis: Methods and applications. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

    So, it looks like this book and Scott’s 1991 book are the two to check for the original source of the text in question.

    However, from my research, I have to concur with Boballab – this text is quoted or paraphrased, in whole or in part, by a bundle of folks, and without attribution. And several of those using it provide attribution for numerous other quotes in their papers.

  61. Mike S. said

    Hmmm… next time I need to use a tag besides “cite”. I didn’t know it capitalized everything.

  62. Lucia said

    I think the Wegman word-for-word quoting of Wikipedia, which is extensive is very difficult to not see as plagiarism.

    this text is quoted or paraphrased, in whole or in part, by a bundle of folks, and without attribution.

    If Wegman had paraphrased the wikipedia social media article and not cited, I’d have no issues. The reason is that what you guys are showing is that material is common knowledge. Citation is not required for common knowledge. However, when lots and lots of text is quoted, directly, with no changes, that always has to be cited for attribution.

    I find no citation to Wikipedia or any other possible book or magazine which might have been the original source of the wikipedia text. It’s nearly impossible to believe Wegman or a co-author came up with that word for word text without copying. The similarity isn’t just using long strings and terms of art everyone would use when writing their own discussion answering the question “What is a social network” etc. So, this section is a real problem.

    Does Wegman’s problem go away if he happened to plagiarize text from a source that had already plagiarized: No.
    Does Wegman’s problem go away if we don’t know whether he copied from Wikipedia or the underlying source: No.

    To me, the social media stuff is very difficult to see as “not plagiarism”. In contrast, tons of alleged plagiarized examples in Mashey’s document look like “not plagiarism” and only amount to some lack of understanding of all the possible conventions for mixing quotes and paraphrasing. (Or just getting around that by rewording even more, which when you cite a work is often sufficient.)

    Jeff–
    You also asked this:

    So the question is, were the sources referenced correctly? After all, this is a congressional report, not a scientific paper.

    In my opinion the sources are referenced properly. The difficulty is they choose to mix word for word stuff with paraphrases without understanding how to format this. Lawyers and people in lots of non-scientific fields often format long quote modified slightly, and there is a convention for how to do that. Here’s an example of doing the quoting correctly by Eugene Volokh (EV):

    At issue here is the state ban on any combination [of letters and numbers on a personalized license plate] that “refer[s], in any language, to a … religion” or “deity.” Id. § 304(d)(4). The asserted purpose of the ban is to avoid the “distraction and disruption [that would] result[] from controversial speech” and to “disassociat[e] the State from speech” it does not endorse….

    Notice that EV quote extensively. He then includes … for omitted text. Where he has inserted his own, he places them inside [ ].

    Obviously, lawyers aren’t even slightly inclined to plagiarize a court ruling because it actually strengthens their own case to make sure people know they are quoting. So, they all do this. In fact, they may go to great pains to retain as much directly quoted material as possible.

    Most scientists and engineers will just try to paraphrase more completely so as to avoid all this ugly formatting. (i.e. All the … and [words I inserted] type constructions. ) It can sometimes be hard to gauge if the did it “enough”, particularly when writing what amounts to boilerplate sections.

  63. David Jay said

    Eric Anderson said
    October 10, 2010 at 1:52 am

    David Jay, it is impossible to self-plagiarize.

    Sorry Eric, but whether or not it is a logical oxymoron, “self-plagiarism” is the current term in academia. First page of Google hits includes St. Johns University, University of Arizona and DHHS (US govt – Dept. of Health & Human Services). Example:

    facpub.stjohns.edu/…/plagiarism/Self%20plagiarism.html

    David

  64. Kan said

    The SNA text has as much unattributed popularity as the song “Happy Birthday to You” (Copyright 1935, Warner Chappell Music, Inc. All rights reserved).

  65. stan said

    Do all accusations of academic plagiarism give rise to extensive discussions on climate sites? Don’t think so. Is there anything about this claim of plagiarism which has an impact on our understanding of the debate about the science of climate? No.

    NO. Why all the hand-wringing then? If any of the folks beating this to death actually think it matters, would one of you at least tell the rest of us why you think so. Otherwise, I think we can all choose to treat your comments the same way we treat an argument re: the number of angels on the head of a pin. Perhaps, exciting for theology students, but I tend not to bother reading any further.

  66. Jeff Id said

    Thanks Lucia, that’s exactly what I was looking for.

  67. Jeff Id said

    I mean as a business owner, we do neat stuff we have no intention of publishing. This is outside of my/our experience.

  68. kuhnkat said

    ” and the representation of them as one’s own original work.”

    We should not forget this part of the rule. Not having read the appropriate parts of the Wegman text, that is, the Social Networking section, is it reasonable to conclude that he is representing it AS HIS OWN ORIGINAL WORK??

  69. Eric Anderson said

    David Jay:

    Thanks for the link. I have to stand by the position that self-plagiarism, in the normal, well-established, historical sense of using another’s material, is a meaningless oxymoron. This is precisely the context in which the Wegman issue is being discussed (using another’s work).

    I stand corrected, however, that there is no such thing as “self-plagiarism.” It looks like some institutions (but certainly not all) have, for simplicity of reference, jumbled a bunch of things into a bucket they call self-plagiarism, none of which have anything to do with plagiarism as typically understood (such things, being submitting a publication to multiple journals; re-using data and observations from one study in a subsequent study, etc.)

    It is unfortunate that “plagiarism” is being used for this catch-all category about bad publishing/academic behavior, because it is a misnomer and requires drilling deeper to determine exactly what is meant by “self-plagiarism” in the particular case. Oh well. You’re right that the term is certainly used, and I’ll have to be more careful to include a caveat in my blanket statement next time.

  70. MikeN said

    I think the Report part of Wegman Report is significant. This is not a paper for publication. Should a report to Congress follow the same rules?

  71. kuhnkat said

    “…and the representation of them as one’s own original work.”

    We should not forget this part of the rule. For the Social Networking section, is it reasonable to conclude that he is representing it AS HIS OWN ORIGINAL WORK??

    Another question is what area does plagiarism cover? That is, Universities typically have their own rules and regulations covering plagiarism, misconduct… The business world has Copyright Law. Since this was a report to Congress does the University plagiarism rules apply? That is, is Wegman working for a University or attending one, or in some other relationship where they can claim authority?

    I believe there is no Copyright infringement in this case. Even if the work was copyrighted, wherever it is, the lack of effort to defend the Copyright would make the case moot. (unable to prove damages from action)

    So, in Al Gore’s famous words, there is no controlling legal authority. That being said, I have no doubt that there is a University or court somewhere who will attempt to adjudicate the case anyway.

  72. Robert E. Phelan said

    68.kuhnkat said
    October 10, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    No, we were doing social network analysis back in the 60s. We called it “sociometry” back then. The field actually goes back to the work of the German sociologist Toennies who wrote about social networks. The text could have been written any time between 1880 to 2000. Anyone who interprets it as original work is so ignorant that there is no point in discoursing with them.

  73. Kan said

    Jeff ID

    Your concern is patents, and the devilish submariner variety.

  74. kuhnkat said

    Thank you for the education Robert.

    By the way, I just realized I forgot an important controlling legal authority, not being a member of one. Wegman is most likely a member of a Professional Society or similar group. It will be interesting to see if they are PC enough to want to make someone(s) happy by investigating him.

  75. Kan said

    One more thing about plagiarism, and I agree with Lucy, this appears to be a cut/paste job, and is not good at all.

    But in the world we live today, the consequences are not straight forward , and pursuit of the issue leads to the worst place possible – a wubbit hole.

    For fun, look up the University of Colorado case against the esteemed Professor Ward Churchill. They are still sorting out that mess.

    In fact, this article captures the juxtaposition (and misunderstanding therein) to which Lucy referred to above re the legal aspect.

    http://blogs.westword.com/latestword/2009/07/the_appeal_of_the_ward_churchi.php

  76. KK 57
    No, you’ve mixed me up with someone else – I haven’t been discussing Dr wang.

    And I didn’t initiate any of the threads on Wegman. But I saw long discussions saying, well, it was just borrowing from Bradley, who was cited anyway, and just summarising climate science. That’s not true, and I said so.

  77. Alex Heyworth said

    I predict this will all end in tears. I have no doubt that there are more than a few skeptics who are even now going over large numbers of warmist papers with a fine-toothed plagiarism detector.

  78. Kan said

    #77 Alex,
    Yes, given the newly forming standard for citations within governmental summary reports, I wonder which document will be scrutinized once again? Any bets on how that will come through?

  79. Alex Heyworth said

    PS I predict Ray Bradbury will be the first target of choice.

  80. max said

    #79

    Ray Bradley.

    While Ray Bradbury has taken the controversial position on Climate Disruption TM (IIRC he is a Lomberg skeptic) I don’t think he’s prominent enough to be the first target of choice, unless many people confuse the two names🙂 (not trying to be mean, just an interesting name confusion I thought worth noting).

  81. StuartR said

    Looks to me like this SNA section originated only from Wikipedia, and everyone else and their dog has been quoting it for the last 6 years which doesn’t excuse Wegman using it unattributed.

    Goodoldpolonius first entered the section below on 30th October 2004 which has the seed of the section which is now there, with a comment “Complete overhaul of page”:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Social_network&diff=next&oldid=6975880

    The shape of the social network has been found to be a key factor in a network’s usefulness to the individuals it includes. Tighter networks, for example, are actually less useful to their members than networks with lots of empty spaces (social holes) or loose connections to other individuals outside the main network (weak ties). More open networks, with many weak ties and social holes, are more likely to introduce new ideas and opportunities to their members than closed networks with many redundant ties. In other words, a group of friends who only do things with each other already share the same knowledge and opportunities. A group of individuals where each has connections to other social worlds is likely to have access to a wider range of information.

    Note “(weak ties)” starts with no link though.

    I assume that this is the same person as Goodoldpolonius2 mentioned above, who shaped this into the version we know and love today. It looks like Goodoldpolonius/2 is the originator of this network stuff.

  82. michel said

    I’m finding this a bit hard to take very seriously. There are two places where the social network stuff occurs, one of which is in the start of it, where there is a sort of background summary. The other place is where they apply it, at the end. Now if the part where they applied it had been lifted and presented as original work, that really would be plagiarism. But where they try to give background, yes, they should give the source if they are quoting, that was silly, but if they say it was an oversight not to cite, I would give the benefit of the doubt. As one would to Mann, Jones or Schmidt in similar circumstances. I don’t think in these background sections they are representing it as original work, just useful background that is commonly known. Of course, you should reference. But its not plagiarism not to, its failure to reference material which is widely floating around as a fair background summary of this stuff.

  83. PaulM said

    Jeff, you are 100% right, this is a totally fabricated issue.
    Of course Wegman paraphrases a lot from Bradley’s book – they have to, this is the issue they are supposed to be investigating!
    The Wegman report is a report – it is not claiming to be an original research paper.
    As you say, the book was cited anyway, along with four other papers by Bradley.

    This is just a desperate response from the hockey team and their supporters to the recent demolition of their work by McShane and Wyner and “The Hockey Stick Illusion”.

  84. Alex Heyworth said

    Max, #80, mea culpa!

  85. 83
    “Of course Wegman paraphrases a lot from Bradley’s book – they have to, this is the issue they are supposed to be investigating!
    The Wegman report is a report – it is not claiming to be an original research paper.”

    But they lifted from Wiki (or possibly its source) in large verbatim slabs. And while the Wegman report may not claim to be a research paper, the first half of the Wiki para I cited above also was used in:
    Yasmin H. Said, Edward J. Wegman, Walid K. Sharabati, John T.Rigsby, Social networks of author–coauthor relationships,‖ Computational Statistics & Data Analysis 52 (2008) 2177 – 2184.

    Anyway, it isn’t true that plagiarism is OK outside academic research. It’s a no-no in journalism, politics, wherever credibility counts.

  86. Tony Hansen said

    Max,
    Wasn’t one of them famous for writing science fiction?
    Or maybe both?

  87. curious said

    85 Nick Stokes – “It’s a no-no in journalism, politics, wherever credibility counts.”

    Sorry Nick, can’t help but ask – do you live in a parallel universe where politics and journalism = credibility?!🙂

  88. Carrick said

    Nick Stokes:

    Anyway, it isn’t true that plagiarism is OK outside academic research. It’s a no-no in journalism, politics, wherever credibility counts.

    I have to agree with Curious here… plagiarism is rampant in journalism. Take any story from AP, count how many local papers reprint it with a local by-line and no credit to the AP. after adding maybe one paragraph for “local interest” and a few other minor edits.

    I’ve also seen enough of how they do their productions for their broadcasts to be permanently sickened. Things like the person shown asking the questions is not the real interviewer, he/she wasn’t even there when the person was interviewed, and in many cases never even met the interviewee.

    Especially crazy examples are to hear the BBC and the NPR “interview” the same person… same questions, same answers, in fact, exactly the same sound recording for the person giving the answers.

    That said plagiarism committed by Wegman, intentional or otherwise, or even just badly citing other people’s contributions, tends to undermine public trust in science, and should be eschewed.

    What do people thing about the evidence that points to Bradley reusing text from his own book in a later article (some of the same text he’s angry with Wegman poorly attributing), with a minor editing and no attribution? These days we call this “self-plagiarism.” Wiki also calls it “recycling fraud”, that seems a bit strongly worded to me.

  89. DeWitt Payne said

    Re: Nick Stokes (Oct 11 07:14),

    It’s a no-no in journalism,

    I’m pretty sure that reporters cut and paste press releases frequently. Technically, that would be plagiarism, but I doubt anybody calls them on it.

  90. RuhRoh said

    Wow, you all must really have excess free time.

    When I read the Wegman report, back in the day, I was under no illusion that Wegman was claiming to have invented the field.

    I did think that he was claiming to have performed (with students) the mappings of the particular networks of ( hockey stick team) members.
    Were those in the wiki article, or anywhere else?

    I had no impression that he was claiming to have invented SNA or even to be expert in it. I thought he was exploring a sidebranch as a way to convey the (otherwise non-obvious) level of ‘group effort’ across an apparently-independent, spatially-diverse group of clima-scientologists.

    When was the last time any of you weighed your navel lint?
    Hmmmmm?

    RR

  91. RuhRoh said

    Again, from memory, I think it is important to look at the context of the report, to differentiate the parts where Wegman pronounced an analytical result, from where no claims of conclusion were made.

    It’s like reading a patent; start at the back, and then read what underpins the claims.

    I’ll check in with you all later. There’s some people counting on me to get something working, sooner rather than later…

    Has anyone checked whether Hal Lewis cribbed any of his letter from the team?
    RR

  92. PaulM said

    The section of Wegman on social networking was never of much interest – I always thought that section was a waste of space and I never read it.
    The issue is Bradley’s claims of plagiarism which seem to have no merit.

  93. Lucia said

    Michel

    But its not plagiarism not to, its failure to reference material which is widely floating around as a fair background summary of this stuff.

    No one is required to cite a reference for ideas that are widely floating around or for well known facts. If Wegman has paraphrased the wiki stuff about social networks and provided no citations at all, he’d have been fine. Ideally, he’s have read several sources to make sure his version of “what’s social networking” was complete and accurate. Once he’s internalized it, if it’s common knowledge, citation isn’t required.

    The difficulty is that he quoted the wikipedia stuff word for word and then didn’t cite it. That is plagiarism. It is plagiarism even if the stuff copied is of low scholarly value and even if someone thinks there is some rule you can’t cite wikipedia.

    In contrast, some other bits of alleged plagiarism (like the Bradley text book case) do cite sources of the material. However, the editorial methods of presenting and distinguishing exact quotes, paraphrasing with ellisions and additions, and full paraphrasing is poor. I count those as serious lapses in scholarship because scholars should know how to do the sort of thing I showed in comment 21 above. But I don’t quite count that a plagiarism because it appears the authors were intending to attributed, but were just clueless about how and didn’t consult someone on the correct method of formatting very light paraphrasing. (Science and engineering don’t call for using this light paraphrasing as much as other fields.)

  94. Jeff Id said

    Lucia,

    I agree with you on this. I did find some of the same wording in a prior paper and book but unless Wegman or his helpers produce the text from their own works, he’s basically caught. However, the copied bit really has so little meaning I’m not sure who will really care. Bradley’s got nothing though.

  95. Carrick said

    Jeff ID:

    I agree with you on this. I did find some of the same wording in a prior paper and book but unless Wegman or his helpers produce the text from their own works, he’s basically caught. However, the copied bit really has so little meaning I’m not sure who will really care. Bradley’s got nothing though.

    I’m not sure I’d use the word “caught” here.

    Like Lucia, I think this is a case of incompetent editing….

    Since you asked earlier, a distinction is generally made between intentional plagiarism and accidental plagiarism. The first speaks to ethics, the second to sloppy scholarship. As Lucia points out, it’s understandable how somebody who doesn’t normally produce this sort of summary might not understand how to cite properly. And as I’ve pointed out on Lucia’s blog, short of a psychic mind reader, there isn’t any easy way with Wegman’s report to automatically determine author’s intent.

    Bradley when he reused certain paragraphs from his book in a later book chapter, certainly was aware of the method for quoting properly in that context. I don’t know how one excuses Bradley’s clearly intentional self-plagiarism while excoriating Wegman’s “academic malfeasance” for what could easily be just a chopped-up poorly written literature review.

  96. kuhnkat said

    Lucia,

    “The difficulty is that he quoted the wikipedia stuff word for word and then didn’t cite it. ”

    He was the primary in developing a report that included a section that may be considered plagiarism. As in many other instances, I think it is premature to say HE, referring to Wegman himself, when assigning blame. HE may only be guilty of not doing a better job of checking the work of the rest of his team. This type of background information is exactly what I think would be done by his assistants! Even the Bradley sections are more likely to have been written by the assistants and not Wegman.

  97. michel said

    Lucia, maybe I am being naive, but I find it a bit hard to get excited about Wegman or his assistant having clipped something out of wikipedia and then not cited it, in the introduction and background to a report. I realize they should have done it, but its venal. Its not really plagiarism, its failure to cite. On the other hand, if they had put in the analytical part cuts and pastes from others work and passed it off as their own, well that would be a mortal sin and they should be hung, but they did not do that.

    I don’t think any the worse of Wegman for it. Yes, he should have cited, but its not a big deal, its an omission. On the substantive point, the Bradley stuff, I think he is OK. He did cite, he makes no effort to incorporate the prose into his own argument as his own. I can’t see a problem with that.

    On the very substantive point, the use of PCA, well there he is home free. This is what they never talk about.

  98. kuhnkat said

    Nick Stokes #76,

    I agree that I have seen nothing from you in relation to Wang RECENTLY.

  99. Carrick said

    Jeff, here’s a comment by Nick over at Lucia’s blog that is apropos:

    Very unlikely. Boballab has found a very similar text from 1991 – the Wiki entry itself has antecedents.

    It seems Wegman himself is not the SNA person – that is Yasmin Said, whose PhD in 2006 was very recent.

    SNA — “social network analysis”

    So not only did Wegman not plagiarize the report himself, the Wiki entry itself is probably a plagiarism.

    I’m going to have to watch how much irony I consume in my diet.

  100. Jeff Id said

    #99, Carrick,

    I think you’re right on this also, it probably wasn’t Wegman’s work. I did find in comment 52 that an introduction to sociology contained the following text:

    Social network theory views social relationships in terms of nodes and ties. Nodes are the
    individual actors within the networks, and ties are the relationships between the actors. There
    can be many kinds of ties between the nodes. In its most simple form, a social network is a map
    of all of the relevant ties between the nodes being studied. The network can also be used to
    determine the social capital of individual actors. These concepts are often displayed in a social
    network diagram, where nodes are the points and ties are the lines.

    The properties page of the pdf above has the date as 3/6/06. This particular phrase is copied so many times and places (uncited) it’s really difficult to nail down the original source. Perhaps that is why it wasn’t cited, nobody knows who wrote it. The link boballab found was referenced to the wiki page, I found it before him but as far as I could tell the paper didn’t contain the wording.

  101. Curious 87
    I said it counts – I didn’t say it was abundant😦

  102. Brian H said

    All this effort apply “scholarly” standards to a government document seems misplaced. As you concluded in the original post, “a totally fabricated issue”.

  103. Phil. said

    Brian H said

    October 11, 2010 at 4:35 pm
    All this effort apply “scholarly” standards to a government document seems misplaced. As you concluded in the original post, “a totally fabricated issue”.

    Universities have high expectations for their students and have Honor Codes which prohibit plagiarism with stiff penalties for breaking the rules, the faculty that teach these students are expected to follow the same standards.

  104. Brian H said

    Re: Phil. (Oct 11 17:03), True, and irrelevant to Wegman’s policy paper. He wasn’t writing for academic credits.

  105. Lucia said

    Michel

    Lucia, maybe I am being naive, but I find it a bit hard to get excited about Wegman or his assistant

    I can understand not getting excited about it. I can also understand getting excited about it. But there are questions floating around, and sometimes, whether or not the answer is exciting, an accurate answer needs to be provided. I’m just saying this bit really does look like plagiarism to me. The other alleged examples– not so much to me.

    I don’t know what GMU is going to say on any of the issues.

    Universities have high expectations for their students and have Honor Codes which prohibit plagiarism with stiff penalties for breaking the rules, the faculty that teach these students are expected to follow the same standards.

    I concur with Phil on this. As a faculty member, Wegman would ordinarily be expected to apply pretty decent scholarly standards in a report to Congress.

    Obviously, you might give anyone a pass for not knowing how to use blockquotes in comments at blogs, or not putting full citations in email or something. But I’d expect citations in a report to Congress.

    True, and irrelevant to Wegman’s policy paper. He wasn’t writing for academic credits.

    That standard would get faculty off the hook for everything. They aren’t taking classes for credit.

  106. HaroldW said

    #104 Brian H (October 11, 2010 at 6:48 pm):
    The fact that the lapse in not citing Wiki (or some common antecedent of the subject text) is irrelevant to the technical content of the report isn’t the point of the exercise.

    The plagiarized text — at least the SNA stuff, which is the only place I’ve seen plagiarism demonstrated — is only background material, intended to orient the reader in the not-so-well-known subject and jargon of SNA. It is *not* a report observation or conclusion. And apparently the text has been floating about for a while, cf. #99 above which claims to date it to 1991. But sadly, using the exact wording, without quotation marks or attribution, is a plagiarism violation.

    So, if it isn’t relevant to the conclusion of the paper, what is the point of the claim? As Phil. is kind enough to point out in #103, the intent is to use this as grounds to get Wegman kicked out of GMU. This would deprive him of the academic authority which he has earned. [It would also serve as an ad-hominem argument to say that the Wegman report’s conclusions are invalid because “after all, he plagiarized” or some such. And let’s be real, while Phil. may not make the above argument, there are plenty who would.]

    Such is the Pandora’s box opened by Cuccinelli. (IMO)

  107. Carrick said

    Lucia:

    I concur with Phil on this. As a faculty member, Wegman would ordinarily be expected to apply pretty decent scholarly standards in a report to Congress.

    I would agree with this too. Given the public nature of the report to Congress, Wegman should have known it would get scrutinized by the climate-change mafia (no I didn’t coin that phrase, just checked).

    As an employee of GMU, when he makes public appearances, he is representing GMU. They have the right to expect more from Wegman and his associates than this. IMHO.

  108. Note how Nick continues to shoot the messenger for a minor offence, and avoid the message of a major offence.

    One point I think has been missed. The reason for “no plagiarism” is to stop people using others’ work for their own advantage in claiming to be “inventor”, or to keep checks on the accuracy of stories focussing on the piece quoted.

    But Wegman, as auditor, is in neither category. Slight rewording of standard texts, to clarify for non-specialists, could well be fairly normal for auditing, simply to make work comprehensible and replicable by other statistical auditors.

  109. Brian H said

    I agree with Lucy. Trying to stick Wegman with an academic crime is utterly disingenuous. Not applicable.

  110. #37 DaveJR said…
    Just to round that off – USA Today now says Bradley’s complaint was made March 5 2010.

  111. […] blogs, including the usual suspects, have discussed DC’s posts, with the predictable denials and hand-waving on the part […]

  112. […] stones. 0 Posted by KC on October 20, 2010 at 13:11 TweetSeriously, if you’re going to throw mud around accusing people of plagiarisation in some vain attempt at somehow negating their report, perhaps you should not do something similar […]

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