Saturday, August 07, 2010

More on McInnis matter

In discussing a settlement between McInnis and the Hasan people in the matter of the McInnis plagiarism, an AP story presents two interesting points.

First, about the obligations of McInnis in McInnis/Hasan deal:

Hasan said he was disappointed when McInnis took a job in a law firm a month later and turned in reports that were unpublishable, but there was nothing he could do about it because the grant letter did not specify what duties McInnis had to perform to earn the money during the two-year commitment.

Second, about McInnis not knowing the source of material he copied:

McInnis said a longtime friend and water expert, Rolly Fischer, gave him copies of essays written by a Colorado Supreme Court justice without providing attribution. Fischer has said McInnis is lying, and he refused to sign a letter accepting responsibility.

Of the first point, perhaps it will be necessary for those doing grants and giving contracts to specify that the work done be original and that there be indemnification if the work is found NOT to be original (including but not limited to indemnity for patent and copyright infringement).

Of the second point, it may be necessary for those doing grants and giving contracts to specify that the work done not be copied from earlier work, whether done by
anonymous sources or by the grantee itself. [The Ward Churchill saga offers an interesting twist on the latter point, whereas the earlier SIU self-plagiarism incident (Wendler) suggests why a grantor might not want to pay for work that someone else had already paid for. People don't want to pay the price of an exclusive license when they are not getting an exclusive license.]

**Background on McInnis matter

Colorado Supreme Court justice victim of plagiarism

In view of Joe Biden's trail of plagiarism, McInnis might be correct on --"voters don't really care about this issue. They care about jobs, getting back to work." --
but then again...


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