Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Texas A&M game plan imprinted on SIU?

KWMU reported on the newest SIU "plagiarism" problem involving the use by Walter Wendler at SIU of ideas previously used at Texas A&M:

The two schools' plans, according to a story Friday on the Chronicle's Web site, list a two-page list of "critical concerns," including the subtitle "Overarching Issues," and a nearly identical eight-point list of "primary gaps," including "low research dollars in the sciences" and a "less attractive community than larger metropolitan areas."

Texas A&M's written belief plan notes that the university "is judged and will continue to be judged by how well it serves the citizens of the State of Texas." The Southern Illinois plan says that it "is judged and will continue to be judged by how well it serves the citizens of the State of Illinois."

Now, if we set aside the plagiarism issue, and looked at this as an anticipation (or obviousness) issue in patent law, what outcome? Is the SIU plan "invalid" over the Texas A&M plan?

Now, look at this as a Hwang Woo-Suk problem. Why didn't the SIU administrators recognize this as old hat? [Throughout the year 2005, no stem cell scientist spoke out against the work of Hwang Woo-Suk, even though it turned out to be totally fabricated. If no one calls a spade a spade, is it through fear or simple dullness?]

Wendler defended himself by saying "one cannot plagiarise oneself." Different people define plagiarism differently. One website includes "not citing" (Wendler's problem) AND paraphrasing/quoting others [without attribution].

Posner's "Little Book" on plagiarism requires the recipient/reader to be damaged by the misrepresentation. Query: was SIU harmed by receiving a plan that had already been created elsewhere, when it apparently did not know of the prior work? Were readers of the University of Tennessee book on Andersonville harmed by reading that book without knowing that many aspects had been previously published?


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