Monday, May 21, 2007

Another mechanical engineering plagiarism scandal

Following the plagiarism flap in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Ohio University, there's now another mechanical engineering plagiarism controversy, in South Africa. There are possible ties to the University of Kentucky.

The Sunday Times reports: An extensive Sunday Times investigation has found that Shaik’s 2003 PhD in mechanical engineering from the then University of Natal was plagiarised. More than two-thirds was regurgitated from journal papers of other authors without citation or acknowledgement.

Possible corrective actions may be harsh:

Chippy Shaik now risks his doctorate being revoked, and the academics who supervised his thesis — Professor Viktor Verijenko, head of the School of Mechanical Engineering at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and his colleague, Professor Sarp Adali — face being fired.

An American is implicated in the mess:

The Sunday Times has established that Professor Theodore Tauchert from the College of Engineering at the University of Kentucky in the US, who had participated in research collaborations with Verijenko, was an external examiner on the thesis.

Of details -->

A study of Shaik’s 217-page thesis, on the formulation of an advanced theory to calculate the bending of composite structures due to mechanical stress and heat, has also revealed:

Fundamental errors in mathematical formulations; and

At least 100 spelling, typographical, grammatical, consistency and internal referencing errors.

UKZN vice-chancellor and principal Professor Malegapuru Makgoba said late yesterday he was “outraged”.

“I am livid that certain academics have abused the privileged space of the university and taxpayers’ money to engage in what are clearly illicit, disgraceful and dishonest activities that have tainted again the integrity and quality of our degrees,” he said.

IPBiz notes, as to abuse of taxpayers' money, what about promises made concerning patent royalties in the campaign for Proposition 71?

See, for example, the IPBiz post, Law review article questions CIRM's patent policy


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