Thursday, March 03, 2011

Oliver Lepsius on zu Guttenberg: "We were duped by a fraudster"

In the face of plagiarism charges, Baron Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg resigned his position of Germany's Defense Minister.

The Daily Beast has the following text:

The cheating baron used every trick in the plagiarism textbook. Some 72 pages were direct cut-and-pastes from other sources, including an entire eight-page stretch, sections from several undergrads’ papers, plus parts taken from the U.S. embassy website. The equivalent of another 70 pages was copied but camouflaged, with just a word tweaked here and there. More than 23 pages were word-for-word translations of English-language sources, including six pages lifted from an article in Foreign Policy. Another 33 pages’ worth was copied with misleading citations—especially nifty tricks that include footnoting just one sentence of a much longer stolen text, or making an oblique reference to the original source without any hint that the text is copied. It’s the subtle tweaks and misleading citations that constitute the smoking gun, making it all but inconceivable that there was no intended fraud involved, as the baron has claimed. The University of Bayreuth has revoked his Ph.D. "We were duped by a fraudster," says Bayreuth law professor Oliver Lepsius. Because of additional allegations that KTG had library of parliament staff prepare research reports to help him with his thesis, German prosecutors have launched a preliminary investigation into misuse of public office, fraud, and copyright infringement that could lead to legal proceedings once the baron’s parliamentary immunity expires.

See also Germany: Plagiarism Claims Take Down zu Guttenberg: Accused of having stolen large parts of his doctoral dissertation in what has become known as the Copy, Paste Affair, Guttenberg announced his resignation as minister on Tuesday [1 March 2011], leaving his political future uncertain and the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) devastated.

One remembers the far different outcome in the United States when the President of SIU (Poshard) was caught plagiarizing his Ph.D. thesis. He got to do a re-write.

The website defines 11 different types of plagiarism:

Sources Not Cited

1. "The Ghost Writer"
The writer turns in another's work, word-for-word, as his or her own.
2. "The Photocopy"
The writer copies significant portions of text straight from a single source, without alteration.
3. "The Potluck Paper"
The writer tries to disguise plagiarism by copying from several different sources, tweaking the sentences to make them fit together while retaining most of the original phrasing.
4. "The Poor Disguise"
Although the writer has retained the essential content of the source, he or she has altered the paper's appearance slightly by changing key words and phrases.
5. "The Labor of Laziness"
The writer takes the time to paraphrase most of the paper from other sources and make it all fit together, instead of spending the same effort on original work.
6. "The Self-Stealer"
The writer "borrows" generously from his or her previous work, violating policies concerning the expectation of originality adopted by most academic institutions. [self-plagiarism]

Sources Cited (But Still Plagiarized)

1. "The Forgotten Footnote"
The writer mentions an author's name for a source, but neglects to include specific information on the location of the material referenced. This often masks other forms of plagiarism by obscuring source locations.
2. "The Misinformer"
The writer provides inaccurate information regarding the sources, making it impossible to find them.
3. "The Too-Perfect Paraphrase"
The writer properly cites a source, but neglects to put in quotation marks text that has been copied word-for-word, or close to it. Although attributing the basic ideas to the source, the writer is falsely claiming original presentation and interpretation of the information.
4. "The Resourceful Citer"
The writer properly cites all sources, paraphrasing and using quotations appropriately. The catch? The paper contains almost no original work! It is sometimes difficult to spot this form of plagiarism because it looks like any other well-researched document.
5. "The Perfect Crime"
Well, we all know it doesn't exist. In this case, the writer properly quotes and cites sources in some places, but goes on to paraphrase other arguments from those sources without citation. This way, the writer tries to pass off the paraphrased material as his or her own analysis of the cited material.

**Of the "misinformer," [ 2. "The Misinformer"
The writer provides inaccurate information regarding the sources, making it impossible to find them. ]

one notes there is a different, but related, problem wherein the writer cites a nonexistent source. For example, Mark Lemley, in "his transistor only for hearing aid" argument, cited a nonexistent article in the 1947 New York Times to back up his argument. [See 8 JMRIPL 80 (2008) for a discussion]. Separately, note an article
in the American Chemical Society journal, Energy & Fuels. See Intersection of Science and Law:

In my own experience, I came across one episode which illustrated the inability of the scientific community to deal with each side of the coin. In a paper by D. L. Wertz and M. Bissell, Energy & Fuels, 1994, 8, 613-617 on the diffraction of the graphene layer ["(002)"] peak in bituminous coals, the authors stated that the diffraction peak was "far too intense to be caused by amorphous scattering and far
too broad to be caused by conventional diffraction." The authors cited three papers to justify this assertion. Of three papers relied upon to prove the statement, which was the key assumption in the paper, one was non-existent, one was irrelevant and one supported a contrary position.


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