Sunday, September 23, 2007

Student government at SIU monitoring the Poshard situation

Ann Niccum had a piece on the Poshard matter at observing that SIUE student government leaders wanted people to know that they are "monitoring the situation."

IPBiz notes that most of the accusations of plagiarism in the Poshard Ph.D. thesis are in a section on previous work. Thus, although Poshard may not have given appropriate credit, Poshard himself was not taking credit for previous work in failing to appropriatly cite others in a section on previous work.

IPBiz got a comment from a reader:

Per your discussion of Poshard thesis, most "failures to cite" were in
one review section:

Maybe in this brave new world of cut/paste, it would be very easy to
move text from a region with citation, to a separate page without
citation. Ten minutes to 10 years later, no one can figure out where
initial location and citation are located.

just a random thought.

IPBiz notes that when Poshard did his Ph.D. thesis, cutting meant using scissors and paste meant using paste. Someone has already commented on the technology available at the time Poshard did his thesis, noting that making a mistake about a citation would have to be pretty deliberate. Of course, does the fact that it is easier to "cut and paste" NOW offer a defense to not citing to other people's work?

In all of this, IPBiz notes that there are levels of badness. Not citing the work of others is bad. Taking credit for the uncited work of others is worse. HOWEVER, publicizing FALSITIES (as in saying Gary Boone invented the integrated circuit) is still worse. Some members of the public will be tricked into believing something that is NOT true. As far as IPBiz can tell, what Poshard wrote was true, or at least arguably true. In contrast, there is no argument at all that Gary Boone did NOT invent the integrated circuit. Furthermore, the case of Hyatt v. Boone bears no similarity to what happened in the actual case on the inventorship of the integrated circuit, which case involved Noyce and Kilby.


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