|[ Teaching and Learning Forum 2001 ] [ Proceedings Contents ]|
A table comparing the consequences the of unintentional plagiarism and intentional plagiarism is given. Fraud is defined and tables comparing copyright infringement and plagiarism are included to demonstrate the differences. Vignettes also provide exemplars of known plagiarism, copyright, fabrication, and falsification cases.
Excuses provided by American universities and institutions whose staff were accused of misconduct are highlighted to demonstrate how staff attempt to hold on to autonomy and power by resisting actions or claiming expertise. Finally, poor management, retardation of intellectual progress, and diminished national integrity are cited as outcomes of university management 'looking the other way' when problems arise.
Similarly, journalists plagiarise. Mike Barnicle (Stein, 1998), Ms Beaghler (Stein, 1997), Lynn Mathews (Stein, 1996), Janet Cooke (Calvacca,1996, Ruth Shalit (Beam, 1996), and Bob Wisehart (Stein, 1995), were reported for varying degrees of plagiarism. An inquiry to the Columbia Journalism Review by a journalism instructor about the consequences of journalism plagiarism indicated that outcomes were mixed (Lieberman, 1995). The Australian ABC program Media Watch has consistently drawn attention to misconduct, journalistic, academic, and other. Bowers (1997: 128) contends that journalists 'see plagiarism for what it is: the theft of someone else's creative and intellectual property.' However, what society 'sees' is that government-sponsored [or any] research should not be tainted by possibility of bias (Weiss, 1989: A56).
This paper is concerned with academic misconduct, components of which are plagiarism, fabrication, forgery, and salami-slicing, as 'new ways of shading the truth.' The first objective is to provide background information, to review definitions of academic misconduct, and to discuss the differences and the problems which imprecise definitions present. The second objective is to examine plagiarism, fabrication, falsification and other misdemeanours. The third objective is to give a limited overview of the damage misconduct inflicts on society and offer some advice.
Members of Congress could not understand, for example, why the NIH continued to support those guilty of misconduct. Moreover, the heated congressional discussions 'spilled' to...morning newspapers' like the Boston Globe, the New York Times, and the Washington Post (264). La Follette reports that scientists ignored political warnings and were unconcerned about dealing with known facts of misconduct and plagiarism (26). Nonetheless a random sample of journals reported misdemenours prominently. For instance, Science published articles in 1974, 1980 [2 articles], 1981, 1982, 1985, 1986 [2 articles], 1987 [2 articles], [1988 [6 articles], 1989 [3 articles], and 1990 [2 articles], (26). Other journals like Minerva published leading articles about research misconduct in 1985, 1989 [2 articles] and 1990, and Wheeler (1977, 1988) reported on a scientist who corruptly interpreted and reported [fabricated] results and named 6 scientists who had been debarred. However, it came as a surprise to the scientists when the Congressional Committee of Congress (COC) indicted Summerlin [see later] and charged him with misconduct (17). More indictments followed.
Misconduct in research
Loeb's (1990:126) literature search, which identified the pressure on academics [particularly] to publish [or perish] documented and reported [accounting] academic misconduct ranging from research errors to fraud and plagiarism. For example, he identified not analysing and interpreting results with integrity (Key & Hendricks, 1984: 80), and not recognising ethical responsibilities to human subjects (Engle & Smith, 1990:12; Crain & Carruth, 1992: 31) as instances of misconduct. Other cited researchers exposed examples of misconduct as:
Researchers also indicate that misconduct can be indirectly related to research, being often interwoven with other academic activities:
At a basic level, plagiarising the work of another is a form of academic dishonesty and not acceptable in academic circles: it is unethical, illegal borrowing, laziness (Leight, 1999: 226), or deliberate guile (Swearingen, 1999: 25). St Onge (53, cited in Stearns:) defines plagiarism as:
... the form of repeating another's sentences as your own, adopting a particularly apt phrase as you own, paraphrasing someone else's argument as you own even presenting someone else's line of thinking in the development of a thesis [as] though it were your own. In short, to plagiarise is to give the impression that you have written or thought something that you have in fact borrowed from another.Lindey (1952: 2) describes it as '...taking the product of another person's mind and representing it as one's own', and as 'literary or artistic or musical theft' (8). Stearns (1999: 7) refers to it as the failure of creativity. His definition speaks of theft: '...the false assumption of authorship'(8). He notes that the plagiarised author's reaction can be internal: 'there is a curious element of intellectual violence even in the word's root [plagiari(us), kidnapper; plagi(um), kidnapping] because the abduction or appropriation of words or ideas occurs without the owner's consent.' Its 'lack of attribution severs the connection between the original author's name and the work' (Stearns, 1999: 10). More to the point it assaults the author's interest in receiving credit by falsely claiming authorship of someone else's material.
Table 1: Instances of unintentional plagiarism
|The impact of deception||Image of unintentionality||Image of intentionality|
|Effects||Reflect on the reputation as researcher||Reflect on the character as a person|
|Hoaxes, parodies and jokes||Regarded as innocent goals|
Sloppy work, errors in statistics
|Amount to copyright infringement, fabrication if copied, false representation|
|Accidents and mistakes||Onus of proof on the author/s||All the above|
|Carelessness||Laziness/lack of caring||Deliberate fakery|
|Self-interest||Incidental gain||Designed to gain an advantage|
|Source: La Follette (1992, 38-41)|
LaFollette notes that unintentional plagiarism includes honest mistakes caused by sloppiness or proofreading errors. The absence of self-interest, even though a gain may incidentally accrue, is another unintentional outcome. A study by Tenpenny et al., however, suggests that unintentional [inadvertent] plagiarism is unlikely:
...to the extent that an artist, theorist, composer, or writer attempts to produce truly novel material, it may be unlikely that someone else's unusual idea would come to mind unaccompanied by any knowledge about its source. (March & Bower, 1993; March & Landau, 1995, cited in Tenpenny et al.).It is the systematic aspect that elevates plagiarism to the level of misconduct. The vignette that follows provides an instance of plagiarism. Vignette 1 about Sokolow [the Texas Tech case] demonstrates how difficult it is for universities to 'out' those guilty of misconduct even when systematic plagiarism is proved.
An instance of plagiarism, in Mallon, T. (1989). Stolen Words: Forays into the Origins and Ravages of Plagiarism: 144-193.
Details: Jayme Sokolow (S) commenced his university life at Texas Tech in 1976. He was 30 years old and had a Phd. He was not a top class Phd. but there was a shortage of Phd.s and Texas Tech needed a change of ethos. By 1981 [he had been there 5 years] he was ready for tenure, and at the same time Professor Collins (C), a British specialist historian, S's colleague, came across a criticism of one of S's 'notes', which stated specifically that S's comments were similar to those in another's study. C sought a copy of the 'note' and found evidence of plagiarism. C rang Gray [an editor], on another matter, but Gray in passing, asked C's impression of S. It turned out that Gray received a manuscript from S for publication that was rejected by a referee because of plagiarism. Armed with this knowledge C and a colleague Professor Blakeley (B) began to check on S's scholarship. Briefly, they acquired the plagiarised work, fearing it might disappear. In the meanwhile the plagiarised author [Nissenbaum] was told by Foster (F) from Georgia Tech of the plagiarism. F asked that the matter go no further, hoping he was wrong. Ultimately he was asked to referee one of S's manuscripts. He quickly pointed out the plagiarisms. To cut a long story short, C and B collected original evidence of S's plagiarism and put it to the members of the tenure board.
Outcome: Ultimately, one member came to the view that S should go - immediately. S, asked to explain, was not contrite and stood his ground. However, when he realised he had no support, he resigned. He was not dismissed. What is of concern is the university's stance. First, the university [and its professors] feared that it might be accused of persecution, and second they feared potential legal consequences. The irony is that S was employed by the National Endowment for the Humanities, a position that monitored grants awarded to academics.
Mallon (191-193) claims that this was a not 'a cover up, just a shut up.'
...direct interference with the integrity of the work of others', and...such disparate acts as tampering with another's computer files, contaminating another's laboratory specimens, or otherwise altering illicitly the natural course of an experimentThus a fraud is one who:
... in the context of [scientific] communication... makes a false representation to obtain some unfair advantage or to injure deliberately the rights or interests of another person or group (41)The publication of an article sets up a legal and social contract that binds the parties. This contract warrants that the author/s is/are the true author/s and can give permission to publish. This permission also implies that the author is the person he/she says he/she is, that all authors are listed, that all authors have contributed, that the conclusions fit the actual data, and that the research is that which was actually done. Moreover, it is assumed that the publisher and author/s understand how editors react to and deal with misconduct matters (La Follette: 92). The key point of interest is that every contract is underpinned by trust and mutual obligations. The clear-cut implications of intentional/unintentional publication of falsified or fabricated data, forgery of signatures, or copyright infringement, especially plagiarism, is covered by copyright (61).
The normative framework 'for the conception of ... author is philosophical' according to LaRochelle (1999: 122). He notes that Kant  (see Table 2) pinpointed the connection between an author and his work by specifying a 'distinction between ownership and author, and possession and buyer.'
A book always has two levels of reality that when taken separately, determine its status. On the one hand the material aspect makes it a "body" of which the owner can easily dispose...[thus] it lends itself to market operations and transactions of capitalism. On the other hand Kant ...maintains that books imply an intellectual aspect that manifests at once the subjectivity of its author (individualism), and the inter-subjective sharing out of the intellect (universalism). LaRochelle (1999: 122).
Table 2: Kant's paralogic of copyright law
rights to property
|Author and creation are linked by the interiority of his discourse [as an individual]||Personal rights||The author has a writing or discourse asset|
|Publisher never acquires any right to parts of the book - only the alienable part of the book||Real rights||The publisher has a mute instrument to diffuse the discourse|
The notion of synthetic, of writing as an extension of 'self', regarded in law as an efficient method of operating, and the co-option of 'intellectual property' as 'a property', is consonant with the idea that 'nothing can with greater propriety be called a man's property than the fruit of his brain (Waring, cited in Stearns: 12). Thus, the novelty of the content and the way words are arranged and expressed, meld with authorship as intellectual property.
The mind of a man of Genius is a fertile and pleasant field, a pleasant Elysium...it enjoys a perpetual Spring. Of that Spring, Originals are the fairest Flowers: Imitations are of quicker growth, but fainter bloom. Imitations are of two kinds: one of Nature, one of Authors: the first we call Originals, and confine the term Imitation to the second...Notwithstanding disagreement about what constitutes originality, copyright protects the 'form.' Three key concepts are recognised, (1) originality [if copyrighted], (2) an author's rights to personal property, and (3) the meaning of copyright infringement [adaptation of words to new contexts does not infringe copyright].
Swearingen (1999: 20) notes in respect of ownership, that once originality and unique individual genius was emphasised, original authorship came to be defined as personal and statutory property. Personal property is intangible: thus an author acquires a common law right to the manuscript and a statutory right to copyright, 'granted ... to authors for a limited time to make and sell copies of their work' (Lindey: 96-99). Spigelman (1999: 232) also agrees that once 'literary' property was linked to its originality, authors acquired property rights. Lindey (21) addressed the issue of 'strict originality' by stating that:
If a book which lacked strictly original elements were to be denied copyright, there would be no ground for copyright in modern times; indeed, we would be hard put to it to find, even in antiquity, a work entitled to such eminence.Copyright relates to the content, not to the name. Thus copying is a key construct: the author must prove copying. Table 3 compares plagiarism and copyright.
Table 3: Proving plagiarism and proving copyright infringement
|Tests: the form, the amount, and the source||Plagiarism||Copyright|
|Form - are words or thoughts copied?||Yes: any copying of words, ideas, facts, and quotations is forbidden||Yes: all statutorially defined aspects are protected including expressions, but not public knowledge|
Not protected- ideas
|Amount - what amount?||Copying any amount -1 sentence or 1 resonant phrase is forbidden||The amount must be substantial in quantity and quality|
|Source- what source?||Copying from any source is forbidden||The focus is on the effect of new work on old|
|Source: Stearns (1999: 9-17)|
Note that copyright infringement and plagiarism are not the same. For example, copying of copyrighted material, unintentional or not, is forbidden: for plagiarism copying must be intentional. Another difference is that to prove plagiarism, material does not have to be copyrighted: to prove copyright infringement, material must be copyrighted. The law protects original works: authors are punished if they fail to obtain permission (LaFollette: 67).
Plagiarism is a modern construct (Spigelman, 1999: 233) which seems to be easier to prove than copyright infringement. Table 4 provides a trail from plagiarism to copyright infringement to guide debate. It demonstrates the intention of copyright law to protect economic rights, and shows how the concepts of authenticity and originality 'underwrite the essence of copyright' (Haywood, cited in La Follette: 64). Another objective of copyright law is to facilitate commerce: thus copyright infringement law also protects a publisher's investment and the publication process by denying the right to use the work (except as specified) without permission. Whereas attribution is the 'highly personal connection between author and work: the interest that copyright protects is 'the impersonal.' It also shows that whereas morally an author owns the original work [originality is the key], legally the owner holds the economic rights [ownership is the key]. However, since copyright is concerned with the arrangement of words: the form/s of expression: not the novelty of the content: the test of copyright infringement is about originality, i.e. has the person copied an essential or substantial part of copyrighted or copyrightable material?
Table 4: Copyright - the centrality of an author's rights in law
|Effect of the lack of attribution||Plagiarism||Copyright|
|Ownership not acknowledged||Attribution is essential. The author has plagiarised.||Attribution is not essential. Author is protected - the Law provides a remedy subject to the above comments. Publication is evidence of infringement.|
|Monetary value||None - rights are severed||The right to control publication and uses of the work.|
|Non-monetary value||None - rights are severed||Right to be named as author, to display and perform it publicly|
|Owner's rights||To complain||To sue: injunction and/or to impound materials.|
|Intentionality||Proof of copying but often hard to establish.||Includes intentional and unintentional copying.|
|Focus of effect||Is on process.||Is on process.|
An essential aspect is that a right is not limited literally to a text, 'otherwise a plagiarist would escape by immaterial variations' (Butterworth Online). As noted, the legal aspects of plagiarism are far from obvious. In Frankel v Irwin Judge Hough states that plagiarism may relate to language, or to plot:
...It is doubtful whether these incidents per se can become copyrightable literary property, but it does not take many of them, nor much causal connection thereof, to make what will pass for a plot, or scene, and constitute the action of a play; and that a scene has literary quality and can be copyrighted, and piracy may consist in appropriating the action of a play without any of the words, is well settled...(Butterworths Online).Plagiarism can reside in incidents, in situations: the way ideas are worked out and presented and the dramatic value and importance of the copying. It is not necessary that original words in a dialogue be copied (in Rees v Melville); copyright protection is constituted in 'the words and the dramatic incidents or action in which the idea is embodied'(Sutton v Famous Players Film Co. Ltd.). Moreover, a film can infringe copyright in a play, and a non-dramatic literary work may be infringed by dramatising it or by making a film of it: it depends whether dramatic incidents or devices are copied (Clauson J, commenting on a sound film). However, when an idea in 'general' in nature [meaning the dramatic structure, situations, incidents, character development and story line] then action is limited. Thus the less developed the characters in a fiction, the less a literary work can be copyrighted (Hand, J in Nichols v Universal Pictures Corp). A recent example of alleged theft of ideas is the plagiarism case against Spielberg (Handy, 1997), in which Chase-Riboud is claiming damages. Handy reports that the tone, structure, and dramatic focus are different: Spielberg's script is sleek, A-list product riveting, literate, conventional; Chase-Riboud's is inferior by comparison.
false representation of the authenticity of data, text, or authorship, as well as misrepresentation of a decision on publication; it includes deception intended to advance one's own career or position, to harm another's career or position, or to advance undeservedly another's career or position; and it includes theft of ideas (La Follette: 39).Deception draws on all sorts of motives: 'power, greed, fear, jealousy, career advancement, and favours or protection from the powerful (attribute).'As Lindey (8) notes, however, 'the honesty of motive is no defense.' The case that follows demonstrates dishonest motive and intent.
An instance of fraud, in Charatan, F. (1997). Psychologist wins damages over theft of research. British Medical Journal: International Edn. 315 (7107): 501.
Details: Dr. Phinney (Carolyn), a specialist psychologist in personality and cognitive psychology, became a member of Dr. Perlmutter's (Marion) Institute of Gerontology in Michigan in 1986. Marion suggested to Carolyn that she apply for a federal grant based on her independent research into wisdom in old age. Marion later claimed this research as her own. Thus, Carolyn could not publish the research or apply for grants. Carolyn complained to University of Michigan but Dr. Adelman a director of the Institute of Gerontology threatened her and suspended her for insubordination.
Outcome: Because she received no satisfaction, Carolyn took her case to the Washtenaw County Circuit Court, and in 1993 it was found that Marion had committed fraud, and that Dr. Adelman had retaliated against Carolyn. In 1996, the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld that verdict and the university awarded her $1.6m and returned her research data.
The legal question was, Did Marion steal Carolyn's research?
LaFollette (65) notes that unlike university considerations, worth or usefulness is not the issue in law: any examination is about a passage in relation to the total work. The legal intention is always [emphasis added] relative to society's needs. An example is the 1976 revision of the American Copyright Act as a response to changing needs:
Ever more periodicals, increased electronic indexing and dissemination, high speed photocopiers and scanners, and an accelerating publishing pace in many 'hot' research fields all coincide with normal economic pressures on publishing (cited in La Follette: 64).It seems that plagiarism is 'self-evident': a person is not required to prove mis-representation or that he/she was damaged as a result of plagiarism (Sise, 1991: 405). However, not everyone agrees that plagiarism is a crime in 2000. Brahams (1995) demonstrates this view (see Appendix D). The litigation between Professor Williams, who was accused of plagiarism in his doctoral thesis, and Dr. Spautz (the accuser- both men worked at Newcastle University, Australia), is another example. Ultimately Dr. Spautz, who was dismissed for misconduct in 1980, bought a defamation action against Williams and others. His misconduct was that he plagued Professor Williams and members of the university senate after Professor Williams was cleared of academic fraud.
Falsification is a major aspect of American scientific misconduct (Pownall, 1999: 377). For example of 150 cases investigated, 76 cases involved falsification and fabrication, but also included plagiarism. The Summerlin case, the first case prosecuted as a result of Congressional investigations, caused widespread anger and disappointment. But it was no less sensational than Breuning's indictment for falsifying data and impeding investigations into his work (Wheeler, 1988: A4, A12). An overview of Summerlin's misconduct is given in the next vignette.
Summerlin, a case of fabrication in LaFollette (1992: 214)
Details: Summerlin, a dermatologist, admitted that in 1974 he used a felt-tip ink marker to darken skin grafts on two white mice...to make it appear that the experiments had been successful. Upon investigation, more data were uncovered; more mis-representations were found.
Outcome: Summerlin was disbarred from government grants for twelve months.
The Darsee cased; A case of Co-authorships cited in La Follette (8)
Details: Darsee, an energetic post-doc, regarded as a brilliant scholar, worked with eminent cardiologist, Eugene Braunwald. In 1981 Darsee was accused of manipulating, inventing, or otherwise compromising the integrity of data reported in over a dozen co-authored papers and over fifty abstracts based on his Harvard cardiology research. Harvard's and the National Institute of Health (NIH) investigation reports were published in 1982 and 1983. The remaining query centred on the role of co-authors named in the articles.
Outcome: Most co-authors denied any knowledge of the articles claiming that they were honorary: they did not contribute to the research or write the articles. The co-authors were 'scientific' stars, often 'free-riding' on their reputation. Darsee was dismissed.
The OIG were shocked at this level of misconduct. Moreover, whereas universities were familiar with plagiarism and copyright violations, which had hitherto been dealt with in-house, 'honorary' co-uthorship was an unheard-of issue that was not covered by rules, and people wanted public answers. The Slutsky and Gupta cases, two such examples, are reported in Appendix D.
Details: a) Herrmann, an eminent German researcher, faked data in 94 cases. Moreover, Mertelsmann, the chief oncologist at the Freibert University Clinic was drawn into the case because he added his name to the research.
Details: b) Another case reported by Boyes, refers to a German University of Erlangen moral philosopher who is reputed to have plagiarised 30% of a 1988 work of an Oxford philosopher Urmson.
Outcome: The German Research Community is hearing witnesses and has introduced an Ombudsman to listen to complaints from doctoral students who feel that their research has been stolen or copied.
However, while level of misconduct may have been biased by the level and prestige of the grants, it is likely that misconduct is the ugly side of research everywhere. The next part examines 'excuses' for misconduct, and provides a guide for managing research misconduct.
The controversy over scientific fraud and misconduct, although initially framed as a philosophical or psychological problem, as a disagreement over standards of morality, exemplifies this shift for it now derives much of its political energy from assumptions about the value of scientific knowledge and expertise. Scientific ideas seem worth stealing.Thus as instances of misconduct emerged and society's trust diminished, scientists dismissed them as little mischiefs (18), claiming that scientific knowledge was a major new commodity (27). Universities, scientists, and institutes argued in defence that scientists (in this case) engaged in 'good practices' and were by and large, trustworthy: that they were scapegoats, and that claims of misconduct were exaggerated (60). Kerr (1989: 143) agreed that:
Occasionally fabricated, distorted or misrepresented...an analysis is sometimes faulty...the system checks and balances...takes good care of these errors...unscrupulously ambitious scientists and scholars [are]...usually caught and discredited.Nevertheless, scientists continued to claim that the peer review system worked (13) even though peer reviews had failed to uncover fraud (24). They even argued in the Summerlin case, that he 'was a good man.' They tried to frame the debate to suit themselves rationalising criticism away by persisting with certain explanations of what was happening (13), using an intellectual grid on which to impose the history of political controversy, suggesting that somehow misconduct was different now: that social values had changed, citing stock exchange fraud and financial misstatement as examples (35).
The pressure for reform continued, however. Woolf (1987) refuted the notion that pressure to publish was an adequate excuse, and Freedman (1988) stated firmly that professors or students who plagiarised should not be excused or treated cautiously. Mazur (1989), complained that universities treated allegations of dishonesty lightly, and Wheeler (1987) reported that one third of scientists surveyed suspected a colleague of fraudulent research. Bracey (1987) took an extreme view of misconduct by recommending that research journals be abolished because too many of them included too much about too little, while Coughlin (1989) claimed that editorial bias made it necessary to scrutinise journal practices.
Buzelli (1993) blames monitoring organisations claiming that the National Academy of Sciences' (NAS) proposals to weaken misconduct definitions for research institutions and government agencies by limiting them, was done to protect NAS's reputation, should fraud occur. For example, when an academic used his influence and authority over students to gain sexual favours it was not until the OIG proved the 'deviation' that the researcher academic agreed to a five-year debarment from the federal grant support. The NAS regarded this as an 'other deviation', unrelated to science!
Unfortunately 'outing' cheats is not simple. LaFollette (217, 219, 223, 245) reports that even after Burt was discredited, his data 'on inheritability of intelligence continued to influence British educational policy,' and whether The Piltdown Forgery was a hoax that went wrong is still being debated. Moreover, available evidence suggested that academics do not take misconduct seriously. For example, Frazier, who was forced to resign was reinstated and later honoured by fellow psychiatrists (cited in LaFollette (247). In addition, Cordes (1990) expressed concern that journal reviews were poor. As Evans noted long ago:
The closeness with which one crime follows upon another, and the similarity of the motive that lies at the bottom of them all, will sufficiently show that they do not represent perverseness of individual natures, but are so many indices of a depreciated, and apparently bad, moral atmosphere that has of late pervaded the whole of the commercial world (cited in LaFollette (217).Universities cannot ignore the problem: they cannot continue to claim that there may be legal consequences, because in the scientists' case, Wheeler (1989) reports, for example, that the Congress Committee will prosecute those who fabricate results. Nor can they argue that the research community has been willing and capable of policing itself. Woolf (1991) reports that 'several distinguished universities were technically in violation of law' regarding misconduct, ' not for months but for years.'
Widespread misconduct has three detrimental outcomes: (1) poor management, (2) it retardation of intellectual progress, and (3), diminishment of the nation's intellectual property [and reputation]. Thus, it must be monitored by employing institutions [including universities] who were not forthcoming when misconduct was alleged.
At the same time poor management punishes 'whistleblowers.' For example, accusers point to the treatment of Stewart and Feder, whistleblowers, who were vilified when they investigated the Darsee/Bridge cases. LaFollette (9-12) reports that the men were accused of libel, meanness, vindictiveness, reported to the Health Authorities and dismissed.
The dilemma of Stewart and Feder, whistleblowers, cited in LaFollette (9-12):
Details: Stewart and Feder, two biologists, who worked in the NIH began to analyse and write about the Darsee co-authors, bluntly identifying them by name or citing them in their research. Their trials and tribulations are famous. Not being scientists posed credibility problems for them when it came to publishing. One of the journals they approached was co-sponsored by MIT and Massachussets University (MU) and published by John Wiley & Sons (JW). While both institutions agreed that the editor had control over the journal's content, the contract between the MIT, MU and JW required that all copies for publication be free of libel (12). These policies were at odds with each other so the conflicts were not resolved, and the article was not published.
Outcome: After Stewart and Feder gave evidence before the House Committee on the Judiciary, the manuscript was published in Congressional Record in 1986, thereby overcoming the above difficulties.
Citation is a ...means by which scholarly writers transform their discourse from the 'dialectical' conversation among members within a disciplinary community into 'ultimate discourse' that represents the discipline as a whole.The systematic aspect of misconduct is worrying (54). The 1994 Australian Senate Inquiry into 'Whistleblowing', In the Public Interest, demonstrates that 'sectors of academia were operating as isolated pockets of tyranny'(141).
Four safeguards are required:
...the duty of confidentiality [is] overridden by the public interest in receiving information of misconduct and that the extent of the public interest should be wide extending to crime, frauds and misdeeds and any given misconduct that ought to be in the public interest.
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Details: The author reports the finding by a colleague of an article he published two years'prior in a well-known research journal, under another's name. The plagiarised paper was rejected by the journal editor, and in time Kock got more facts from his colleague.
Outcome: It took time but the publishers eventually extracted an apology from the plagiarist.
Farthing, M. (1997, July). Research misconduct. Editor of GUT?
Details:This case reports overt plagiarism in an article about Helocabacter pylori associated with gastric ulcers. The plagiarism was reported to the senior author who eventually acknowledged the plagiarism and attributed it to an inexperienced junior, a first researcher.
Outcome: No action was taken by the journal editor.
Xiguang, Li & Ziong Lei. (1996), October). Chinese researchers debate rash of plagiarism cases. Science, 1-3.
Vignette 3 (a)
Details: In 1994, five Chinese researchers, one a university Vice President and a prominent molecular biologist, published a paper in a Dutch-based journal about manipulating resistance to tobacco and other agriculturally important plants. One third of the article was copied from a 1989 article. The principal researcher, Pan Aihua was reported to the Editor of the Journal by a British Columbian academic. The Editor's investigation found that plagiarism had occurred.
Outcome: Pan was removed from his position and installed as general manager of a Chinese university-owned technology company.
Xiguang, Li., & Xiong Lei (1996, October). Chinese researchers debate rash of plagiarism cases. Science, 3.
Vignette 3 (b)
Details: In 1990, a lecturer at China Mining University copied the whole text of a paper co-authored with a Turkish professor and an Italian scholar which had been published in Italy, and submitted it [with a new title] to a Swiss physics journal.
Outcome: The lecturer confessed to his misconduct, resigned his position and left academic research.
Xiguang, Li., & Xiong Lei (1996, October). Chinese researchers debate rash of plagiarism cases. Science, 4.
Vignette 3 (c)
Details: Wang Ruidan, an associate professor at Hunan Norma University copied six papers published by Ma Dongping and sent them to the Journal of Chemistry and Physics.
Outcome: Wang was demoted to lecturer.
Holden, C. (1987, September). Researcher accused of plagiarism resigns. Science, 3.
Details: Shamberger plagiarized a report from an academy's Diet, Nutrition and Cancer Report and published the work in a book on nutrition and cancer. The plagiarism was discovered during a hearing held by the Federal Trade Commission when Shamberger appeared as an expert witness. When he failed to convince publishers that his intentions were honourable, the book was withdrawn.
Outcome: Shamberger resigned his position.
Wheeler, D. (1988, December 7). Noted Harvard psychiatrist resigns posts after faculty group finds he plagiarised. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 35.
Details: H. Frazier, a well-known academic psychiatrist plagiarised four review papers between 1966 and 1975. His misconduct was reported to the Medical school Dean by Scatena, an academic of the University of Rochester.
Outcome: Harvard demanded Frazier's resignation when the allegations of plagiarizing were verified.
Norman, C. (1984, April). Stanford investigates plagiarism charge. Science, 1-3.
Details: K. Melmon incorporated large chunks of material from a book he helped to edit into a chapter of a new book. The first book was copyrighted.
Outcome: He apologised and offered to forego royalties. The publishers settled an action with the real authors.
It is noteworthy that each author admitted that he/she copied someone's else's words: that they plagiarised. With the exception of vignettes 4 (a), (b) and (c), the authors of which may not have understood the 'rules', each author stole someone else's work.
Details: Two academics (Dr Koo and Professor Ho, from Hong Kong University) sued one of their colleagues alleging breach of copyright.
Outcome: The Judge and the Court of Appeal held that Dr Lam did plagiarise 'Dr Koo's questionnaire in the preparation of his own.
Sequel: The university conducted its own inquiry. Members criticised Koo and Ho for not cooperating.
Outcome: Lam was exonerated, the university claiming that 'in the 1980s there was no copyright or confidentiality in questionnaires'. Lam still has to pay the legal costs and has the burden of an adverse legal finding.
Details: Breuning was indicted for fabricating research reports to the federal government. His research data were widely circulated and accepted by practitioners. Furthermore, his research had been used to help hundreds of hyperactive children.
Outcome: He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to community service, and a substantial fine.
Other cases of scientific fabrication cases, in Farthing, M. (1997, July). Research misconduct. Editor of GUT.
Details: Another form of misconduct concerns 'salami slicing': the conversion of one paper into several papers. Each monoclonal antibody was reported in a separate paper.
Outcome: Salami-slicing is another instance of misconduct, deemed to be at the lower end of misconduct. It is the act of publishing repeat articles etc. Two examples are given to demonstrate the offence.
Farthing, M. (1997, July). Research misconduct. Editor of GUT.
Details: This case deals with overt redundant publication [salami-slicing] or the publishing of one paper that overlaps with one that has already been published. One reviewer observed that the paper had been published in another journal: the overlap was about 80%. This article added very little to the original.
Outcome: The authors when pressured ultimately agreed with the reviewer that this was a duplicate publication. A similar, less overt case of overlap was also discovered.
Professor McBride - a case of Fabrication: Source ABC TV. Details: Professor McBride of Thalidimide fame, undertook using Devon.Dox to prove its potential. Vardi joined Foundation (McBride was the research leader) and worked with him on the project. Rats and rabbits (16) were used in the experiment result of which were published as a general report in the Biological Sciences. Upon publication Vardi discovered that the data did not agree with his research. He checked his 'orange file' and discovered that the number of rabbits was changed: the research had been fabricated. He confronted Professor McBride who claimed it was changed while he was away and expressed disappointment with Vardi. He asked him to rework the data so as to deny the claims. Vardy left his employ. McBride claimed that he was a victim of a campaign.. Outcome: Vardy who had met Robin Williams contacted him to seek his support. When the case came to court Chief Justice Gibbs found McBride guilty of fraud.
Details: Slutsky of the University of California, a radiology lecturer/researcher, was accused of fabricating data. Ultimately he was accused of 'honorary authorship misconduct. University investigators first identified material inconsistencies in his work and then noted that he had created a paper every ten days (161 papers over 6.5 years) and covered up his fraud by using the names of young researchers, post-doctoral researchers, and others in the lab.
Outcome: He was dismissed.
The case of Gupta, Jit., cited in La Follette (102)
Details: Gupta, an Indian geologist, eminent in his field, had been co-authoring articles with many international paleontologists, including Australian geologists, since the 1960s. In 1989, Talent, an Australian paleontologist, published a paper claiming misconduct [fakery] in over 300 papers, specifically that fossils' origins, confirmed by Gupta as coming from India, most likely came from Morocco.
Outcome: Gupta vigoursly denied the charges.
|Author: P. A. Addison|
School of Accounting
Curtin University of Technology
GPO Box U1987, Perth WA 6845, Australia
Telephone: +61 8 9266 7567
Please cite as: Addison, P. A. (2001). Academic misconduct, definitions, legal issues, and management. In A. Herrmann and M. M. Kulski (Eds), Expanding Horizons in Teaching and Learning. Proceedings of the 10th Annual Teaching Learning Forum, 7-9 February 2001. Perth: Curtin University of Technology. http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2001/addison2.html