Peter Woit has provided an update on an ongoing plagiarism scandal involving at least 60 physics papers, by several groups of students and professors. The arXiv has replaced the papers with descriptions of the plagiarism, but they were also published in at least 18 journals which have been much slower to react. One commenter at Woit's blog claims that the corruption extends to high levels of administration at certain universities, and that these institutions have been wrapping themselves in the flag and denouncing exposers of the plagiarism as unpatriotic instead of rooting out the problem. One item that shocked me (also from the comments at Woit's post) was that one of the plagiarized papers, gr-qc/0011027, has a much lower citation count than the paper that plagiarized it, gr-qc/0505079.

In the meantime, the romance novel publishing world has been hit by the news that one of its most prolific authors, Cassie Edwards, is a serial plagiarist of multiple authors, well known and otherwise. See also: Newsweek, NY Times, Telegraph. Her publisher “takes any and all allegations of plagiarism very seriously” but the only thing we've seen from (allegedly) Edwards herself involves wrapping herself in the flag her claims of having Native American ancestry and denouncing exposers of the plagiarism as unpatriotic picking on her the way (showing her deep grasp of the history of her subject) “Native American Indians have always been picked on throughout history”.

I suppose it's too much to ask that the people with the chutzpah to steal from others and claim the credit for themselves, when caught, behave properly apologetically?



Comments:

arvindn:
2008-01-17T09:39:14Z
i think it's useful to point out that all the plagiarists are from a small number of universities in turkey. not to be *ist, but simply to make it clear that it's not a widespread crisis of professional ethics in the community but more likely a small clique of bad apples.
gareth_rees:
2008-01-17T11:02:56Z
it's not a widespread crisis of professional ethics But it is a widespread crisis of standards in refereeing and publishing.
None: C. Edwards
2008-01-17T15:51:07Z
The NYT had a sample of plagiarism for "C. Edwards" which I felt was very much borderline. The particular example was an ethnographic description within a novel which had been lifted and somewhat modified from a scholarly book. This raises interesting questions: What is the point of knowledge if you can't use it? How much do you need to modify it before it is no longer considered plagiarism? Is there a different standard of originality required from a narrative paragraph within a novel as compared to a factual description of a historical event, people or place? The examples from Peter Woit were rather clear cut, Cassie's not so much.
11011110: Re: C. Edwards
2008-01-17T16:26:56Z
A few of the Edwards examples could be legitimate literary allusions, but I thought the example from the Newsweek article was quite clear cut as well.