Monday, November 22, 2010

Pop quiz on responses to Wegman plagiarism accusations

Match the quotes to the quotees.

First the quotes:

1 "Actually fairly shocking," "My own preliminary appraisal would be 'guilty as charged.'"

2 "It kind of undermines the credibility of your work criticizing others' integrity when you don't conform to the basic rules of scholarship" "If I was a peer reviewer of this report and I was to observe the paragraphs they have taken, then I would be obligated to report them" "There are a lot of things in the report that rise to the level of inappropriate."

3 "The plagiarism is fairly obvious when you compare things side-by-side"

4 "wild conclusions that have nothing to do with reality."

5 "Let me say that this is one of the most reprehensible attacks on a reputable scientist that I have seen, and the so-called tsunami of accusations made in regards to climategate are nothing in compared to the attack on Wegman." "To see such a respected academic accused in this way (with the accusations so obviously baseless) is absolutely reprehensible."

And in no particular order, their sources:

A. Cornell physicist Paul Ginsparg, developer of the Arxiv (and some anti-plagiarism tools).

B. Judith Curry, Chair, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology.

C. Ohio State's Robert Coleman, who chairs OSU's misconduct committee

D. Virginia Tech plagiarism expert Skip Garner, who heads a copying detection effort.

E. George Mason University statistician Edward Wegman, lead author of the disputed report.

Answers can be found here and here. Note, however, that the problems with Wegman's report go way beyond mere plagiarism.


Anonymous said...


The Wegman report called for improved "sharing of research materials, data and results" from scientists. But in response to a request for materials related to the report, GMU said it "does not have access to the information." Separately in that response, Wegman said his "email was downloaded to my notebook computer and was erased from the GMU mail server," and he would not disclose any report communications or materials because the "work was done offsite," aside from one meeting with Spencer.

C W Magee said...

Is Judith Curry mad?

If she doesn't think copying wikipedia is plagiarism, she should be forced to grade every first-year essay at her home institution.

Anonymous said...

Well, she has moved beyond defending Wegman based on no actual knowledge of the subject, and on to making policy/legal based pronouncements, with a similar level of ignorance:

"In any event, I think this overall line of argument presented by Michaels is a very significant one in terms of the EPA CO2 endangerment issue. However, the logic of the argument needs refining and it needs extending before lawyers can use this as “reasonable doubt” in challenging the EPA endangerment ruling. And those defending the science the behind the EPA endangerment ruling (which is basically the IPCC) need to shore up their arguments. I think that this is the coming battleground issue in U.S. policy on this topic."


pough said...

If I'm not mistaken, Curry's comment came at the very beginning of Deep Climate's postings, perhaps after just the first one. That was the point where I started to believe that Curry and Reality had gotten a bitter divorce due to violently irreconcilable differences.

John Mashey said...

Nice post!

Pugh: Curry's comment was much later, specifically her comment was from late April, after DC had found the social networks stuff as well, and long after the Bradley parts.

pough said...

@John: Ah. Perhaps I had only read one of those posts. Thanks for the correction. To help me get a better handle on things (including Curry's sense of perspective and my own), was there anything more than about 4 posts at DC to weigh against the "so-called tsunami" of Climategate?

John Mashey said...

I think there were more than that, as chunks got built up. But of course, DC had found ~8 pages that were mostly plagiarized, with pp.13-22 (the colors of noise and PCA material was later).

If somebody demonstrates clear near-verbatim plagiarism, that's rather more concrete than the whole mass of Climategate junk.

James Annan said...

Well, one might argue that it is slightly harsh of me to juxtapose Curry's relatively early comment with the others which were made in light of the full evidence, but then again, it does underscore her habit of speaking forcefully on matters that she hasn't actually looked into in any detail, which may explain the frequency of her foot/mouth interactions.

I'm still waiting for her to say anything with any real content, and I was particularly amused that her "credentials" for speaking on uncertainty at the recent hearing amounted to a pdf of vague bullet points - maybe a presentation somewhere? - and her blog. Not a peer-reviewed journal article in sight.

Anonymous said...

"it does underscore her habit of speaking forcefully on matters that she hasn't actually looked into in any detail"

like this

James Annan said...

That link didn't quite work as intended...