Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Ever not recognize text that you wrote earlier?

In a piece titled Top 20 websites every scientist (or engineer) ought to know, Mary Spiro writes:

Ever read some of your own writing and not recognize it? Maybe you didn’t write it and just forgot to put in the citation. Recently, scientific plagiarism is in the news. So if there is any question in your mind about where those eloquent words came from, you better check it out with the Glatt Plagiarism Self-Detection Test. It’s not a perfect tool, but it could spare you the humiliation of being labeled a copy-cat or much worse.

IPBiz query: did Spiro write for the Glenn Poshard defense team?

Further, IPBiz notes Spiro's link to "scientific plagiarism is in the news" is to
a review of a book on Jan-Hendrik Schon, which incident was about scientific fraud, not about plagiarism. See Nature 459, 645-646 (4 June 2009), Martin Blume reviewing Eugenie Samuel Reich's Plastic Fantastic: How the Biggest Fraud in Physics Shook the Scientific World. The review contains the text:

Similarly, when Schön applied for patents, he was not required to show or have others sign his laboratory notebook — his use of which is questionable.


IPBiz notes that, after the Beasley report, Bell Labs withdrew the patent applications a lot faster than the papers.

Blume also writes:

Scientific associations, such as the American Physical Society (APS) and the Council of Science Editors, have developed and updated codes of behaviour and educational programmes before and since this landmark case. The APS policy (http://tinyurl.com/aps-policy) includes a report on ethics education, which is vital to define and promote ethical behaviour by all scientists. Reich herself references the Beasley report using a link on the website of the APS. I was responsible for posting it there, with permission from Bell Labs' owners Lucent Technologies, following the retraction of six articles co-authored by Schön in the APS journals for which I was then editor-in-chief. It is fortunate that this stable link keeps the report accessible years later (see http://publish.aps.org/reports).

Dancing around the fact that Bell Labs took their link down.


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