Many college  students, and others, plain don’t understand what plagiarism is, nor that it is flat out wrong.

Many academics, including professors, plain don’t understand: if your name goes on a piece of work, you bear full responsibility for it, even if you did not write the part that include the plagiarism.

Now we have a case where

Evidence of plagiarism and complaints about the peer-review process have led a statistics journal to retract a federally funded study that condemned scientific support for global warming.


portions contained text from Wikipedia and textbooks.

The leader of the study, Edward Wegman, blames a student who apparently put this information into a Congressional report, which then made it into the paper that was retracted. Does that imply low standards for a Congressional report? (I will add that attorneys copy each others’ material willy-nilly, word for word, with no repercussions. Honor among thieves, I suppose.)

Anyway, this study

…  concluded that climate scientists favorably publish one another’s work because of too-close collaboration. They suggested this led to the consensus that the Earth is warming.

This sounds like a real stretch, reminding me of the old saw, “Here is my conclusion. Now find me the statistics to prove it.” And it shows that even statisticians are up for climbing on the climate change publication bandwagon, from one direction or the other. Academics do that.

Speaking of which, maybe some careful eyes should be put to checking for plagiarism in the authors’ other works. Coauthor Yasmin Said’s dissertation, Agent-based simulation of ecological alcohol systems, published in 2005, might be an interesting place to start.

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