Tuesday, January 16, 2007

SIU plagiarism scandal takes another nasty turn

The siuDE reported: At the monthly SIU Board of Trustees meeting Thursday, Linguistics Professor Joan Friedenberg blasted back at SIU President Glenn Poshard after he allegedly said the professor was among a group of "academic terrorists" who "lay in the weeds and throw bombs at everybody" during a Nov. 30 SIUC Graduate Council meeting.

A committee known as AFAC reported alleged incidents of plagiarism to the Chronicle of Higher Education and other media outlets. The charges led to an investigation into the questioned incidents by a three-member committee, which determined that (now-former) Chancellor Walter Wendler had committed "academic dishonesty" but not plagiarism by lifting passages from a similar document he worked on at Texas A&M University.

Of possible future issues at SIU, Friedenberg demanded that Poshard issue her an apology, and said if he did not apologize, she would "consider legal action, state ethics charges and charges of retaliation against whistleblowers."

If one follows a definition of plagiarism requiring that the non-cited work has to be of OTHERS, then this whole matter is about a FAILURE TO REFERENCE PRIOR WORK. In the patent business, a failure to cite your own work can lead to bad outcomes, as a recent CAFC case on a failure to cite a footnote in JACS demonstrated. It may or not be plagiarism, but in patent law it can lead to a finding of inequitable conduct.


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