Sunday, September 17, 2006

More on Ohio University plagiarism; Australian report on lies in resumes

The Cleveland Plain Dealer talks about the Ohio University plagiarism scandal:

For decades, Ohio University has been saddled with a national reputation as Budweiser U, a spot where the good times rolled and the boozing was heavy. These days tales are flowing that it was a haven for plagiarists as well as partyers. [IPBiz: thought Harvard Law School had trademarked "haven for plagiarists."]

The Plain Dealer mentions the law suit filed AGAINST Ohio University:

One of the professors, Jay Gunasekera, quit as department head in June. He sued the school for defamation, claiming he was made a scapegoat for the scandal. Gunasekera, a native of Sri Lanka, settled in Ohio after receiving a military research fellowship in 1981 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton.

Gunasekera's lawsuit says there are other incidents of plagiarism that have not been acted upon. His lawyer, John Marshall of Columbus, refused to give any details or name any names.

"We have looked at others. We have found an awful lot of it in the ones we looked at," Marshall said.


"Specifically," he said, "students had failed to include quotations around the quoted passages in the thesis introduction and/or background despite the attribution to the cited publications in the endnotes of the thesis."

He said the offending passages mostly recount generic processes that are widely accepted in the fields of mechanical engineering and metal forming.

Meanwhile, Matrka, aged 40, who was the one who discovered the problem, submitted his thesis "Design of an Experiment to Measure Plane Strain Flow Stress at Elevated Temperatures," in 2005. He got his master's degree that June. He works for Atlas Powder Co. in Vinton County, which makes explosives for the mining industry.

Separately, Rutgers University, now famous as the school that sued GM/Onstar for patent infringement, beat Ohio University in football on September 16.

Of a different form of dishonesty, The Daily Telegraph (Australia)reported on September 12: Research has shown 43 per cent of resumes contain bare-faced lies,
leaving many employers questioning whether or not their staff are really who
they say they are.

Access Management Consultants senior recruitment consultant Jenny
Eager says her research has shown only 59 per cent of human resource managers
verify the authenticity of candidate qualifications, only 78 per cent verify
employment experience and less than 50 per cent check a candidate's criminal

Related to Ohio University: Supporting this warning is an Australian university investigation which found more than one in 12 students copy and paste substantial portions of their assignment from the internet or other students' work. And a University of Wollongong academic fraud researcher says that for every one student caught cheating, another 10 are probably going undetected.

And interviews are affected: According to a recent SHL survey in the UK, job candidates are not only cheating in tests, they are stretching the truth in interviews.

The study found that during a job interview, 57 per cent of people
think it is acceptable to stretch the truth, 33 per cent exaggerate their
skills, 28 per cent omit negative information and 27 per cent fib about previous


The Post Online states:

In another public relations move, Ohio University Provost Kathy Krendl has created the Academic Honesty Committee. The purpose of the 10-member group is to prepare “institution-wide recommendations on academic honesty in respect to university policy, procedure and resources.”

If that sounds like bland, vague sentiments meant more to suppress the post-plagiarism fiasco angst than to actually change an institutional problem, that’s because it might just be.

Unless this committee is going to do more than discuss how plagiarism is a problem and reinforce what most professors already print in bold on their syllabi, it will be nothing more than words.

[IPBiz: Hmmm, this issue reminds me of the "educational aspect" of the Task Force on Ethics of the American Chemical Society.]


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