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Plagiarism at Harvard

Started by Langue_doc, December 21, 2023, 07:36:32 AM

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Wahoo Redux

Given the sheer mass of stuff that is published even on even esoteric subjects, even with computer technology, who could one possible check a dissertation, which is potentially hundreds of pages, for plagiarism in a timely fashion during a semester with everything else going on?
Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To flutter--and the Bird is on the Wing.

marshwiggle

Quote from: Wahoo Redux on January 03, 2024, 06:10:04 PMGiven the sheer mass of stuff that is published even on even esoteric subjects, even with computer technology, who could one possible check a dissertation, which is potentially hundreds of pages, for plagiarism in a timely fashion during a semester with everything else going on?

So dissertations are still submitted hand-typed, on paper? Who knew?
I don't think turnitin has a page limit. You can set the minimum length of text strings to flag, among other things. All kinds of things could be done to automate this even more.
It takes so little to be above average.

Langue_doc

Gay sounds most unpresidential in her op-ed.

In addition to continuing to play the race card, she also claims to have fallen into "a well-laid trap" at the congressional hearings.
As for her scholarship,
QuoteMost recently, the attacks have focused on my scholarship. My critics found instances in my academic writings where some material duplicated other scholars' language, without proper attribution. I believe all scholars deserve full and appropriate credit for their work. When I learned of these errors, I promptly requested corrections from the journals in which the flagged articles were published, consistent with how I have seen similar faculty cases handled at Harvard.

I have never misrepresented my research findings, nor have I ever claimed credit for the research of others. Moreover, the citation errors should not obscure a fundamental truth: I proudly stand by my work and its impact on the field.

It is my understanding that it is the authors and not the journals that are responsible for correcting instances of unattributed passages.

Despite the citation errors, she will continue to draw her $90,000 salary teaching at Harvard.

Ruralguy

Yeah, right, "teaching."   90K for probably nothing more than an annual seminar for some graduate students.
Although 90K isn't much for Boston area. Anyway, I doubt she'll be hurting. She could write a book (or get a ghost writer), run for office, whatever.


apl68

Among those for whom patriotism no longer carries any cachet, the race/identity card has become the last refuge of the scoundrel.

I saw a recent article that represented all the talk of plagiarism as all just another dirty right-wing trick, with no admission that maybe academia really does have a plagiarism problem.  I expect we'll see a doubling down in some quarters on this shooting of the (admittedly disagreeable) messenger.

And yet academia really does have problems like this.  Our very own foralurker's work was recently the object of plagiarism, by somebody who appears to be pretty well-known in that person's field.  The fact that these "gotcha" efforts to uncover plagiarism may not always be made in good faith doesn't mean that academia couldn't use some soul-searching and bringing-to-the-light on this matter.
If any will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it.
For how does a man profit if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul?

spork

Quote from: Langue_doc on January 04, 2024, 06:24:32 AM[. . . ]

Despite the citation errors, she will continue to draw her $90,000 salary teaching at Harvard.

Quote from: Ruralguy on January 04, 2024, 06:47:40 AMYeah, right, "teaching."   90K for probably nothing more than an annual seminar for some graduate students.
Although 90K isn't much for Boston area. Anyway, I doubt she'll be hurting. She could write a book (or get a ghost writer), run for office, whatever.


According to media reports, both of you have left out a zero.

No Harvard professor has a salary as low as 90K.

1. She was the target of a politically-driven racist attack.
2. She is a serial plagiarist.

Both (1) and (2) can be true simultaneously.
It's terrible writing, used to obfuscate the fact that the authors actually have nothing to say.

Ruralguy

There are many interwoven problems here, so its easy to confuse everything (often on purpose) and in the end propose some one size fits all solution (fire the presidents! get rid of DEI!). I saw one opinion piece in particular that bounced around between Gaza, genocide, DEI issues, and plagiarism. I think its important to isolate the problems and address them as separate problems. Gay's plagiarism issues seem to me to be completely separate from everything else. So, yes, those proposing to nuke DEI so we don't get any more plagiarizing women of color as presidents (with the additional subtext that they are likely stoking antisemitism as well) is really the ultimate racist, bad faith argument fueled by mixing together every single issue together and proclaiming that their "easy" answer is "the" answer. 

Ruralguy

Oh, yes, and I suspected I may have left out the zero, though I was just using what the previous person had and just assuming that they settled to give her much less than her presidential salary.

Anyway, I don't think any of my points really changed with that correction (in fact, the facetious comment regarding her so-called teaching is emphasized even more).

Ruralguy

I will also add:

I don't think its likely that plagiarism searches for presidential or faculty candidate will become a regular thing any more than a tenure committee will read all of the books and articles by faculty up for review. At some point, you have to believe someone else did the vetting competently. After all, the entire point of peer-review is so that everyone knows that trusted colleagues have already looked at the work and declared it to be worthy.

But that doesn't mean no one will do it. Of course, some faculty or admin will continue to be bumped off by this.

spork

Quote from: Ruralguy on January 04, 2024, 08:05:29 AMThere are many interwoven problems here

[. . .]

One problem: she quickly rose to the top of the very top of the academic pyramid despite a thin publication record and a long history of plagiarism. I'm now seeing interwebz comments (which may or may not be valid) that her some of her quantitative conclusions aren't supported by available data, or that at minimum her findings haven't been replicated. Yet a lot of people -- at Harvard, Stanford, and elsewhere -- helped her climb that pyramid for decades. In my opinion, one has to ask "Why?" given that there are numerous academics in a variety of skin colors who had much stronger scholarly and administrative experience.
It's terrible writing, used to obfuscate the fact that the authors actually have nothing to say.

marshwiggle

Quote from: Ruralguy on January 04, 2024, 08:14:50 AMI will also add:

I don't think its likely that plagiarism searches for presidential or faculty candidate will become a regular thing any more than a tenure committee will read all of the books and articles by faculty up for review. At some point, you have to believe someone else did the vetting competently. After all, the entire point of peer-review is so that everyone knows that trusted colleagues have already looked at the work and declared it to be worthy.

Honest question: Is peer review supposed to look for plagiarism? Are journal referees supposed to look for plagiarism?

I don't publish research, but I wasn't aware of anyone who is explicitly expected to detect plagiarism.
It takes so little to be above average.

marshwiggle

Quote from: apl68 on January 04, 2024, 07:51:14 AMAmong those for whom patriotism no longer carries any cachet, the race/identity card has become the last refuge of the scoundrel.

It's like the middle square on a Bingo card; it's free, so *everyone might as well play it.

(*Everyone, that is, of some "marginalized" identity.)
It takes so little to be above average.

Parasaurolophus

Quote from: spork on January 04, 2024, 08:21:26 AM
Quote from: Ruralguy on January 04, 2024, 08:05:29 AMThere are many interwoven problems here

[. . .]

One problem: she quickly rose to the top of the very top of the academic pyramid despite a thin publication record and a long history of plagiarism. I'm now seeing interwebz comments (which may or may not be valid) that her some of her quantitative conclusions aren't supported by available data, or that at minimum her findings haven't been replicated. Yet a lot of people -- at Harvard, Stanford, and elsewhere -- helped her climb that pyramid for decades. In my opinion, one has to ask "Why?" given that there are numerous academics in a variety of skin colors who had much stronger scholarly and administrative experience.

My sense is that that's not uncommon on the quant side of PoliSci. But that the results aren't robust is a different sort of problem, and not one I'd hold against her in the same way.

Quote from: marshwiggle on January 04, 2024, 08:28:05 AM
Quote from: Ruralguy on January 04, 2024, 08:14:50 AMI will also add:

I don't think its likely that plagiarism searches for presidential or faculty candidate will become a regular thing any more than a tenure committee will read all of the books and articles by faculty up for review. At some point, you have to believe someone else did the vetting competently. After all, the entire point of peer-review is so that everyone knows that trusted colleagues have already looked at the work and declared it to be worthy.

Honest question: Is peer review supposed to look for plagiarism? Are journal referees supposed to look for plagiarism?

I don't publish research, but I wasn't aware of anyone who is explicitly expected to detect plagiarism.


No. We all operate on the assumption that we're reading someone's genuine work. Though sometimes something stands out. I actually think that's a fine assumption, so long as we're good about dealing with the other end--i.e. booting plagiarists when we find them.


I know it's a genus.

Langue_doc

#43
Quote from: spork on January 04, 2024, 07:59:14 AM
Quote from: Langue_doc on January 04, 2024, 06:24:32 AM[. . . ]

Despite the citation errors, she will continue to draw her $90,000 salary teaching at Harvard.

Quote from: Ruralguy on January 04, 2024, 06:47:40 AMYeah, right, "teaching."  90K for probably nothing more than an annual seminar for some graduate students.
Although 90K isn't much for Boston area. Anyway, I doubt she'll be hurting. She could write a book (or get a ghost writer), run for office, whatever.


According to media reports, both of you have left out a zero.

No Harvard professor has a salary as low as 90K.

1. She was the target of a politically-driven racist attack.
2. She is a serial plagiarist.

Both (1) and (2) can be true simultaneously.

Mea culpa.
Despite the serial plagiarism, she will continue to draw her presidential salary, which was $90,0000, and also be expected to either detect or overlook plagiarism while grading her students' submissions.

Even if #2 is true, it is still unpresidential and unprofessional to mention this in the resignation letter as well as in the op-ed. "Woe is me, they're all out to get me" is the antithesis of leadership qualities as it comes across as whining.

dismalist

Quote from: Ruralguy on January 04, 2024, 08:14:50 AMI will also add:

I don't think its likely that plagiarism searches for presidential or faculty candidate will become a regular thing any more than a tenure committee will read all of the books and articles by faculty up for review. At some point, you have to believe someone else did the vetting competently. After all, the entire point of peer-review is so that everyone knows that trusted colleagues have already looked at the work and declared it to be worthy.

But that doesn't mean no one will do it. Of course, some faculty or admin will continue to be bumped off by this.

Trust, but verify.
That's not even wrong!
--Wolfgang Pauli