Friday, December 05, 2008

Plagiarism meanderings at SIU

The diffuse rationalizations at SIU continue. The SIUDE reported on SIU's new policy on plagiarism:

The overarching goal of the new policy is to discourage a knee-jerk response to plagiarism accusations, he [Gerald Nelms] said.

The word "plagiarism" itself has a negative stigma to many people, and the policy aimed to show that not all cases that are referred to as plagiarism are necessarily cheating, Nelms said.

"The term is weighted, and so when people hear it, they tend to automatically associate it with unethical behavior, basically intentional cheating, and it doesn't have to be," he said.

Plagiarism should be looked at as an educational issue, not a moral one, he said. The key should be educating people how to properly disseminate information and cite sources, he said.

Having dealt with plagiarism at nearly every level of education, Jan Waggoner said those who plagiarize usually do so because they lack the critical thinking skills to apply the information they've read in their own words.

The main victim in plagiarism is the writer who commits it, said Waggoner, director of teacher education for the College of Education and Human Services.

For those that don't remember, the blindered Nelms found 40 copying issues in the Poshard Ph.D. dissertation, none of which constituted plagiarism to Nelms. The invitation by IPBiz to Nelms in 2007 is still open. See Page 54 of the Poshard Ph.D. thesis: a real problem as to plagiarism . The problem is that Nelms has no answer.

In a response to a different SIUDE piece, Nelms wrote:

Third, given all the aspects of the Committee's recommendations and the scholarship informing these recommendations that I spent hours discussing with Mr. McGahan, it is shocking that he would focus his discussion with me almost entirely on whether or not the accusations of plagiarism made against President Poshard in the past would have been considered frivolous. At the end of our interview, Mr. McGahan asked that question, and I gave my opinion. Yes, I think the accusations did warrant investigation. Yes, I think any unbiased investigating committee would have come to the same conclusion that the investigating committee came to in 2007. No, I don't think that the accusations were frivolous, but were they malicious? I would leave that determination to an investigating committee. I certainly think that the DE's obsession with embarrassing President Poshard is malicious, and this obsession has certainly been made clear to me by Mr. McGahan's narrowly conceived story and the DE's wrongheaded, ill-informed editorial.


LBE attempted to post a comment-->

Plagiarism is copying without attribution and can be determined without analyzing the intent of the copyist. The motivations of the "accuser" ["frivolous or malicious" charges of plagiarism] are similarly irrelevant to a side-by-side comparison of older text with asserted copied text. In the area of copyright infringement (which is not co-extensive with plagiarism), one can mount an independent creation defense, which is about lack of access, not about intent. The previous analysis of Dr. Nelms on the basic plagiarism issues was deficient, especially as to page 54 of the initial Poshard thesis. See for example


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