What plagiarism looks like

Discuss

126 Responses to “What plagiarism looks like”

  1. paxsarah says:

    Plagiarism, plagiarism, plagiarism…the word has lost all meaning!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Anon #97, in the case you describe, I’d think a disclosure statement would be appropriate: “This work was performed in conjunction with…and is also documented in…”

    /former academic
    //present academic editor

  3. RedShirt77 says:

    It’s only plagiarism when poor people do it. I have always heard that great minds think alike, so this must just be a coincidence. Poor people and young people are dumb, so them must also be liars.

  4. Church says:

    “Yellow Dissertation” is accepted, but not yet promulgated. Check here within the next couple days:
    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Yellow%20Dissertation

  5. naufragio says:

    @Brainspore #7: It’s only one of the same faculty members (Bishop). Miller and Rogers are listed on both, but they’re department chair and dean of the graduate school, respectively. You can’t imagine Dr. Rogers reads every dissertation written at his university — he relies on the student’s review committee, and ultimately on the student herself, to follow the rules.

    One can be forgiven for imagining why Dr. Bishop didn’t notice something awfully similar, though.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I’ve taught at JSU and know Bill Meehan personally, and I like him, but this is completely unacceptable. I’ve failed students who’ve given me papers with half this much plagiarism.

    No two ways about it; Meehan has to resign, or they have to fire him.

  7. mdh says:

    That said, does this herald a brave new world of retroactive policing of academics’ scribblings

    academics? I want for the PhD’s economists at the bailed out banks to be checked out.

  8. naufragio says:

    …Ah, I take that back. Miller was chair of the student’s committee, not of the department. So 2, not 3.

  9. kuanes says:

    It’s only poor when people plagiarize.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I’m too polite to point out the fact that there’s a typo in the first sentence of the poster.

  11. Anonymous says:

    http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20090515/NEWS/905149944/1007?Title=UA-workers-fight-call-to-testify-

    “Two University of Alabama administrators are asking a state judge to protect them from being questioned on how UA investigated a plagiarism claim against a former graduate student who is now the president of Jacksonville State University.”

  12. krysalist says:

    These are dissertations about the efficacy of sabbaticals for teachers.

    That’s a future professor writing about how his leave time is of the utmost importance, having copied much of his research from a previous future professor, writing about how his leave time is of the utmost importance.

    Of course there’s plagiarism, the topic is disgustingly trite and specific. Pink slips for everyone!

  13. mojojojo says:

    Why don’t universities simply start granting the degree of PhD in Plagiarism? Any student caught attempting to pass off original work to fulfill the requirements would immediately be expelled.

    Not only academia, but society at large stands to benefit from this practical approach to intellectual poverty. While the cheater-exposing highlighter industry might suffer, the benefit to the nearly-extinct carbon paper and duplicating machine industries could be substantial, so long as doctoral candidates are still expected to submit their own dissertation copies. However, there exists the possibility of further, more long-term environmental benefits to be gained by “recycling” dissertations. For this reason, students in disciplines such as environmental studies should be encouraged to simply scratch out the previous name on existing dissertations and write in their own.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Food for thought, for those of you who think it’s simple:

    I’m a graduate student in the sciences. I have co-authored papers with fellow students. One of those students has since graduated, and our paper is in his thesis mostly unmodified, because standard practice in our field is to collect papers that we have published, slap on an introduction and conclusion, make sure the notation lines up, and call it a thesis. Sections of the work will likely end up in my own thesis as well.

    Is this plagiarism? We did the research and wrote it up together. It would be a waste of everyone’s time to reword the whole thing. I think the published versions of the papers in question end up getting cited for reference, but probably only once a chapter.

    When I took a brief look and saw the two students had the same committee chair and nearly identical topics, I figured it must be the same sort of case, although the Tuscaloosanews article makes it sound as though the two dissertations in question are a clearer cut case of plagiarism. Who knows.

  15. Sparrow says:

    Plagarism it is not, unless do it poor people do. – Yoda

  16. Anonymous says:

    it’s not plagiarism unless poor people do it. – Takuan (http://www.boingboing.net/2009/06/01/what-plagiarism-look.html)

  17. Anonymous says:

    “Boening, who doesn’t know Meehan, said he first learned of questions about the dissertations about two years ago when he received an anonymous letter.” – AP/Jay Reeves

    http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/article/20090423/NEWS02/904230312/1009/rss04

    This should clear up any questions of collaboration. Resume shitstorm.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I blame the poor people

  19. jimbuck says:

    all plagiarism is committed by poor people

  20. dlelash says:

    It’s only plagiarism when done poorly.

    Or so I’ve heard.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Purple monkey dishwasher!

  22. Anonymous says:

    I’m not sure our place would give a PhD for that whether it was plagiarised or not! I usually defend the non-scientists round here against the charge that their subjects are softer, but frankly… they should try doing population genetics or X-ray crystallography and see if they can get away with that level of “research”.

    And I mean the first one, not the plagiarism.

  23. Avram / Moderator says:

    As Tom Lehrer quoted Lobachevsky as saying, “Remember always unless poor people are doing it, to call it ‘research’!”

  24. Anonymous says:

    Plagiarizers of the world unite! You have nothing to loose but your poverty!

  25. Anonymous says:

    Is it plagiarism if those doing it are poor? Yes.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Poor plagiarism is committed by all people.

  27. Anonymous says:

    if you’re not not poor and you did not not do it is plagiarism.

  28. Anonymous says:

    This is not a Ph.D. thesis–this is a thesis for a doctorate of education degree (a very! diffrent creature).

  29. Anonymous says:

    Where r u d00d?

    I’m in ur skewl, stealin ur taxes!

  30. GoDownMoses says:

    Too lazy to paraphrase like a good student, I suppose.

  31. Anonymous says:

    It has been said that poor people have been known to plagiarize, but it is less often noted that people with money do not.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Shakespeare plagiarized…a lot.

  33. Apreche says:

    If it is money you lack, copy you must.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Not the first time
    In August 2007, University President Dr. William Meehan was implicated in a plagiarism scandal related to his periodic column entitled “Town & Gown,” which was actually written by the school’s news bureau. These columns were written by the recently retired Director of JSU’s News Bureau who was working part-time to ghostwrite the weekly “Town & Gown” column. A committee appointed by the President found no wrong-doing on the part of Meehan other than a lack of administrative oversight, and it was decided that responsibility for the plagiarism was that of the writer.

  35. Anonymous says:

    SOMETHING TELLS ME that it’s only plagiarism when poor people do it.

  36. Keith says:

    #23 posted by sophos7:

    Where the references sited? I’d like to look at the whole document myself. I am not saying that this sort of thing isn’t happening, but it IS ok to use other people’s work if it is properly cited and credit is given where due.

    No amount of proper citation can cover that amount of copy and paste work. Just glancing at the highlighted pages, I count at least 15 wholly appropriated passages and another dozen chunks, any one of which would have gotten him kicked out on his ass at my university. All of them in one place is an object lesson in research fail.

    The “three words in a row” rule is silly and hyperbole and anyone enforcing it is a moron. But this is 50% copied, the sort of result you’d expect from a Chinese research paper mill, not a grad-level researcher.

  37. DrMT says:

    Plagiarism is the willful use of another person’s ideas, concepts, images, thoughts, etc. without attribution that are passed off as your own. It is not plagiarism to use passages from a book or article if the writer is given credit AND your own work is not merely composed of quotes and paraphrases from other writers. Every college student is taught this, as are grad students (I’m a college professor). It’s too bad that they are so many sarcastic comments on here that don’t take this issue seriously. Doris Kearns Goodwin got away with plagiarism a few years ago and she shouldn’t have. When a university president is found to have plagiarized, it’s the alumni and donors who need to raise their voices and force the board of regents to fire him or her. It’s unfortunate, but that’s the only way these things get done. Plagiarism is an increasing problem in our classes and students need to understand how serious it is.

  38. Anonymous says:

    The revolution will not be plagiarised.
    The revolution will not writen with a xerox
    in 130 pages without original interuption.
    The revloution will not show you paragraphs by Meehan
    taking sabattical and leading the charge by Carl
    Boening,Harold Bishop, Harry E. Heath, to eat
    wine and cheese confiscated from a faculty meeting.
    The revolution will not be plagiarised

    –With all apologies to Gil Scott-Heron.

  39. RogueScholar says:

    As a professor, who (a) wrote his entire 350page dissertation, and (b) reads hundreds of papers a year, I wish there were a better solution than tough rules. I’ve tried many solutions. This summer I am requiring one class to write their papers in class to avoid it.
    One gripe, it takes 3-5 times the effort to read and evaluate a plagiarized paper (checking for references, originals, etc.) as it does to grade an original. I much prefer a poorly written original work to a plagiarized one. I don’t think all plagiarizers are sinister, but I have my hunches. I detail some of them here:
    http://rogue-scholars.blogspot.com/2009/04/citation-needed.html

  40. Lobster says:

    Just “justice” as usual. Get high enough, fast enough, and the rules no longer apply to you.

  41. JoshP says:

    ahh, if you don’t actually live around these two uni’s you are reaally missing the point. Let me see if I cans splain…
    {(research/academics)+(UA/jsu)={}} when compared with football wins ==>>> the only thing that really matters down here.
    go chickens!!! (JSU class of 06)

  42. scott (the other one) says:

    “All your plagiarism belongs to us.”
    —poor people

  43. webmonkees says:

    Anecdotal evidence trends towards the conclusion that an monetary distribution inequality among a populace is a potential vectoring element of the acquittal of suspects in regards to questionable redistribution of previously attributed information.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Why does “it’s only plagiarism when poor people do it” need a citation? It’s obviously a common proverb, so many people have said it.

  45. Slartybardfast says:

    I can’t afford to plagiarize

  46. Secret_Life_of_Plants says:

    Sorry, a looonnnnggggg one…

    William A. Meehan

    “An Analysis of Sabbatical Application Patterns, 1988-1998 at Jacksonville State University”

    Dissertation Chair: Michael Miller (Michael T. Miller)

    Committee: Harold Bishop, Harry E. Heath, Albert S. Miles, Kathleen P. Randall, R. Carl Westerfield

    Ronald Rogers (Dean)

    (Not for a PhD, But for a Doctor of Education Degree (which makes it tragic)

    ProQuest UMI Abstract (Summary):

    The faculty of a college is its greatest single resource and most significant investment. How to maintain faculty vitality and institutional reputation are concepts which are interrelated and identified in some of the earliest studies on faculty development and evaluation. Using a content analysis design, this study replicated at a regional comprehensive institution a study of sabbatical leave patterns that had first been conducted at The University of Alabama in 1996 by Boening.

    The purpose for conducting the study was to examine the characteristics and trends in the use of sabbatical leave patterns at Jacksonville State University between 1988 and 1998. The study consisted of an investigation of the ideas proposed by faculty members for sabbatical leave during these years and whether those proposals were accepted. The study reviewed sabbatical leaves by patterns and discipline, length of requested leave, whether external funding was available, thematic categories with regard to purpose statements and products for proposed leave, both approved and non-approved, correlation between leave re-application and approval, and frequency of and distribution between approved and non-approved sabbatical leaves, and receipt of faculty teaching and research awards. Data were collected through the academic affairs office and consisted of files of the Professional Development Committee and records concerning teaching and research awards.

    The study was successful in identifying sabbatical leave patterns and was consistent with the earlier study by Boening. The majority of sabbatical leaves requested came from the College of Arts and Sciences. The majority of requests were for single semester periods of sabbatical leave. The availability of external funding did not appear to influence the approval or non-approval of sabbatical leave requests. The dominant thematic category was found to be research and scholarship with the most frequent products being publishable materials. Re-applications for sabbatical leave whether for a second leave or after a non-approved request appeared to be successful and a worthwhile effort. Recognition as a researcher appears to be a benefit of sabbatical leave recipients before and after the sabbatical leave was awarded.

    Implications for policy and practice as well as recommendations and suggestions for further research are presented.
    _________________________________________________

    Carl Henry Boening

    “Faculty Renewal Through Sabbatical: An Analyis of sabbatical Application Patters, 1986-1996″

    Dissertation Chair: Michael Miller (Michael T. Miller)

    Committee: Harold Bishop, Howard Jones, Harry Knopke, Carl Williams, James Eddy

    Ronald Rogers (Dean)

    (Also not for a PhD, But for a Doctor of Education Degree (which makes it also tragic)

    ProQuest/UMI Abstract (Summary):

    The purpose for conducting the current study was to examine characteristics and trends in the use of sabbatical faculty development programs at The University of Alabama between 1986 and 1996. The study consisted of an investigation of the ideas proposed by faculty members for sabbatical leave during those years, and whether those proposals were accepted. The study also examined the length of sabbatical leave requested and previous sabbatical leave(s) granted and determined their part in the approval or disapproval of sabbatical leave proposals. In addition, the study examined the thematic categories of sabbatical leave requests and the extent to which sponsored programs were included.

    The current study found that the College of Arts and Sciences had the most requests (258 of 408 requests) and approvals (219 of 333 approved) between 1986 and 1996, while the College of Commerce and Business Administration had the highest approval rate (86%) among disciplines with 13 or more requests during that same time period. The College of Education had the lowest approval rate (29%, 4 of 14 requests approved) during the time period. The most common requested length for sabbatical leave was one semester (331 of 408 requests, 267 approved), followed by a year (70 requests, 56 approved). Of the 154 faculty requests for sabbatical leave between 1992 and 1996, half (77) had not sought and did not plan to seek funding, 46 were seeking funding at the time of their request, and 31 had already obtained funding. Little difference was found in approval rates among the three categories. The most common thematic category for approved sabbatical purpose statements was Scholarship and Research (258 of 333 approved), and the same was true for non- approved purpose statements (66 of 75 non-approved). Finally, the correlation between previous sabbatical leave(s) granted and re-application approval between 1989 and 1996, using the Pearson Product Moment Correlation Index, was found to be positive and moderately high (0.820).

  47. bardfinn says:

    We put forth the hypothesis, supported by a large quantity of pan-critical and pan-disciplinary studies, that in academia, an act of promulgation of a memetic entity in the precedential format without attribution is only enforceably immoral should the actor lack sufficient socioeconomic standing in the universe of discourse to successfully execute a subsequent argumentum verbosium.

  48. Secret_Life_of_Plants says:

    You might also want to check out this other Dissertation, by Kang Bai, also Chaired by Michael T. Miller:

    “Criteria for assessment and evaluation of the outcomes of sabbatical leaves as a mechanism for faculty development”

    by Bai, Kang, Ed.D., The University of Alabama, 1999, 177 pages; AAT 9935540

    ProQuest/UMI Abstract (Summary)

    The purpose for conducting the study was to identify and develop consensus among higher education senior academic affairs administrators concerning criteria for the assessment and evaluation of the outcomes of sabbatical leaves as a mechanism for faculty development. Based on the data collected through a three-round Delphi survey, the study examined the perceptions of 22 senior academic affairs administrators from research, doctoral, and comprehensive universities. The data collection included the development of consensus among survey participants concerning the benefits and outcomes of sabbaticals, as well as allowing for the group development of criteria for sabbatical outcomes.

    According to respondent consensus, five benefits were perceived by respondents to be the most important in assessing sabbaticals. These outcomes included scholarly renewal, focus on research and scholarly pursuits, professional development and knowledge renewal, engagement in creative activities, and the enhancement of skills and knowledge. Study participants also agreed on six important sabbatical outcomes: increased publications and presentations, renewed commitment to research and scholarship, tangible scholarly or artistic products, enhanced faculty morale, strengthened research or scholarly programs, and increased research productivity. Based on the perceptions of the senior academic administrators, four ideal criteria could be used to assess and evaluate sabbatical leave outcomes: the extent to which sabbatical goals/objectives were completed, evidence of new skills and knowledge, whether the sabbatical proposal plan was completed, and whether the number of publications (refereed) increased. Study findings identified that institutional classification affected the perception of what criteria could be used to assess and evaluate sabbatical outcomes but had no impact on how the sabbatical would influence the faculty or the institution.

    The findings of the study were significant in that they promoted an understanding of the sabbatical leave and provided criteria for assessing and evaluating sabbatical leave experiences. In addition, based on the findings and conclusions of the study, recommendations were made for both the current practice and additional future research on the sabbatical leave program.

  49. davejenk1ns says:

    An Analysis of Sabbatical Application Patterns, 1988-1998 at Jacksonville State University

    What kind of lame-ass topic is that? They hand out degrees for that? Jeez– I thought my MA was esoteric and relatively pointless, but I come off like Noam Chomsky compared to that topic. And even at that, he had to plagiarize half of it?

    I suspect a WoW addiction is involved somehow.

  50. Takuan says:

    it’s not plagiarism unless poor people do it.

  51. Secret_Life_of_Plants says:

    @#97 posted by Anonymous

    That’s okay if you are working in a lab. But when you are writing a thesis on SABBATICALS it is a bit sketchy.

    Also, presuming they were working together, I would expect each to briefly thank the other in the acknowledgments. I downloaded both the PDFs. Boening doesn’t mention Meehan. Meehan doesn’t mention Boening, but does thank his typist.

    Typists are important, (wish I had one) but maybe not as important as one’s partner in the scenario you hypothesize.

  52. spazzm says:

    I had a brief look, and yes, this is plagiarism plain and simple.

    Even where Meehan’s thesis isn’t highlighted in yellow, it’s just a rephrase of Boening’s work.
    (E.g. “are operationally defined” turns into “were defined operationally”).

  53. IWood says:

    it’s not plagiarism unless poor people do it.

  54. Chevan says:

    By far, the best thing about this post is this comment thread.

  55. Xopher says:

    I’ve often said that it’s not plagiarism unless poor people do it.

  56. Anonymous says:

    Plagiarism is a victimless crime. Information wants to be free!

  57. Anonymous says:

    Plagarism. Poor ppl haz it.

  58. Brainspore says:

    Maybe JSU is just worried about going through the hassle of finding a replacement for Meehan. Where else could they find a scholar with such expertise in a faculty sabbatical application patterns over a 10-year period ending in the 1990s?

  59. Anonymous says:

    I just thought of a pithy retort, get this: Its not plagiarism unless poor people do it.

  60. Anonymous says:

    After much investigation I’ve concluded that it’s not plagiarism unless poor people do it.

  61. Marsha Keeffer says:

    Plagiarism it’s not, unless poor people do it.

  62. klenow says:

    I would say something about the socioeconomic status of plagiarism, but I’m poor and I can’t risk it.

  63. Anonymous says:

    sounds like they’re big followers of Tom Lehrer’s preachings…
    “Plagiarize,
    Let no one elses work evade your eyes,
    Remember why the good lord made your eyes,
    So dont shade your eyes,
    But plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize -
    Only be sure always to call it please research.

    - Lobachevsky, by Tom lehrer.

    But on a serious note – -WTF? that’s ridiculous.

  64. Brainspore says:

    For crying out loud. A quick glance at the documents shows that Meehan’s dissertation committee included three of the same faculty members that had reviewed Boening’s dissertation less than three years earlier.

    No wonder the University of Alabama is reluctant to fess up to the scandal. It doesn’t just implicate one of their shining graduates, it exposes their whole institution as a glorified diploma mill.

  65. shoshie says:

    My sister, an eighteen year old terrified by her new college schoolwork,was KICKED OUT of a large state university for plagiarism. With no second chance of any kind.

    It is routine to torture students over this stuff, with ridiculous rules like “if you have three words the same in a row, it is plagiarism” (they told me that in grad school. So it would be nice to see these big deal profs deal with reality.

    How about some standardized consequesnces, including second chances for young students who were not trying to make an entire career on false premises, but merely, if stupidly,trying to finish a big paper!

  66. Bevatron Repairman says:

    Stealing from one person, that’s plagiarism. But steal from several? Ah, research.

    (Are these fellows named here interesting for some reason other than there are some plagiarism charges?)

  67. Takuan says:

    but what if they are only pretending to be poor?

  68. Anonymous says:

    You might want to read Jonathan Lethem’s “The Ecstasy of Influence.”

  69. Patrick Arcee says:

    Someone slacking at their job to turn off the flooding Slurpee machine will be fired.
    Someone slacking at their job to rescue people from a flood zone will be criticized;

    The more responsibility a person is trusted with, the less we hold them responsible.

  70. sworm says:

    it’s not plagiarism unless poor people do it. = plagiarism

    “it’s not plagiarism unless poor people do it.” (takuan, 2009) = research

  71. Xopher says:

    How about standardized consequences like NO second chances for Ph.D.s who plagiarized large portions of their dissertations?

    And…seriously, three words? So if your source says “United States of America” you can’t say that? Or “carbon nanotube experiments”? “Ronald Wilson Reagan” (paraphrase THAT)? “It is the”?

    I thenk sum buddy iz stoopyd.

  72. Anonymous says:

    what i find personally distasteful is Neither the University of Alabama (which granted Boening and Meehan their doctorates) nor Jacksonville State University, where Meehan is president, has chosen to take up the obvious questions about plagiarism that Meehan’s dissertation presents.

  73. gd23 says:

    priapism!

  74. Takuan says:

    the Buddha can not be plagiarized.

  75. Anonymous says:

    Many of you have not actually looked at the documents simply at the computer generated highlighted version. All of the sections that I viewed, were properly referenced. Although, they were paraphrased heavily, they do not represent plagarism. The practice of using similar materials and methods is common and even been used by the professor who is suing Dr. Meehan in all of his students thesis papers!

  76. Xopher says:

    Takuan (2009, quoted in Sworm 2009), suggests that consequences for plagiarism may be dependent on the socioeconomic status of the plagiarizer, more than on the egregiousness of the actual plagiarism:

    [I]t’s not plagiarism unless poor people do it.

  77. BookGuy says:

    Seems like a reasonable application of Creative Commons to me.

  78. phisrow says:

    Wait a second…

    Is that poster just an excerpt, or is that PhD thesis only 130 pages, including title page, endnotes and whatnot? And 50+% is still outright copied? SRSLY?

  79. Anonymous says:

    @shoshie : You see this and your conclusion is that we should reduce penalties for plagiarism for grad students with “big papers”? Really?

    We (faculty) wouldn’t have to come up with stupid rules like “no three words in a row” if students would actually credit the source of their material appropriately. Your lack of time is not our problem. Your willingness to take shortcuts that are disrespectful of the original author and your readers is our problem. If by graduate school you haven’t learned that plagiarism is wrong, we would be remiss in not removing you from the university, as someone should have done in this case.

  80. Anonymous says:

    The best thing about this post is that poor people do this comment thread.

  81. sum.zero says:

    it’s only plagiarism when poor people do it.

  82. Shay Guy says:

    Is it weird that I’m thinking of the flame wars that erupted in the Harry Potter fandom over The Draco Trilogy? (See http://www.journalfen.net/community/bad_penny/8985.html#cutid1 if you’re not familiar with what happened.)

  83. Anonymous says:

    I just looked through these two documents for about fifteen minutes and this is the worst case of plagiarism I think I’ve ever seen.

    I mean, I’ve seen some plagiarism in my day, but this dissertation really takes the taco. Damn.

  84. mdh says:

    It is not considered plagiarism unless poor people do it.

  85. Xopher says:

    And woo-woo scholarship would be

    Xopher (2009) interprets Takuan 2009 as making a sarcastic remark about the consequences of plagiarism, saying that Takuan
    suggests that consequences for plagiarism may be dependent on the socioeconomic status of the plagiarizer, more than on the egregiousness of the actual plagiarism…

    But what Takuan actually says is

    [I]t’s not plagiarism unless poor people do it.

    Xopher’s interpretation is possible, of course. But Takuan is more likely expressing his own socioeconomic prejudice here; he really believes that above a certain class what would otherwise be called plagiarism should be excused.

    …that is, quoting properly, but totally missing the point and coming to asinine conclusions.

    For that, there seems to be little penalty.

  86. Ugly Canuck says:

    IMO imitation is still the sincerest form of theft.

    I forget from whom I stole that line. Sorry ’bout that, y’all.

  87. Brainspore says:

    @ Shoshie #6:

    A “second chance” should mean starting over from scratch at a new institution. That goes for plagiarizing freshmen, drug policy violators, and fraudulent PhD-holding University Presidents alike.

  88. sophos7 says:

    Where the references sited? I’d like to look at the whole document myself. I am not saying that this sort of thing isn’t happening, but it IS ok to use other people’s work if it is properly cited and credit is given where due.

  89. Brainspore says:

    On second thought I’m not sure Universities should even have drug use policies anyway, but I’ll leave that up to the individual institutions.

  90. Anonymous says:

    The highlighted portions are simply memes.

  91. Church says:

    Can we call this “yellow dissertation?”

    I submitted the term to urbandictionary.com. Still pending, though.

  92. Anonymous says:

    Unless poor people do it, it’s not plagiarism.

  93. Anonymous says:

    I’ve heard that it’s only the poor people who plagarize. Only then is it plagarism.

  94. Anonymous says:

    Since the site that carried the yellow dissertation is down, there are links to the originals at the Tuscaloosa News at the end of their article on the subject. http://editorsnote.tuscaloosanews.com/default.asp?item=2373864

  95. noah says:

    Bandwidth limit exceeded on the site hosting the source documents, but I had looked at the highlighted dissertation earlier and the highlighting is…. strange.

    There are sections where whole sentences or phrases are highlighted in a single continuous block of yellow, but in most of the document, there are breaks in the highlighting between each word. I don’t know what this means, if anything, and I can’t check the source docs now. But it suggests that many of the highlights aren’t actual continuous runs of words that have been lifted from one document to the other. Rather, it seems like the person policing the alleged plagiarism may have simply found common words between the two documents and highlighted those when found.

    I wish I had looked more carefully before the host went down…

  96. Anonymous says:

    “We (faculty) wouldn’t have to come up with stupid rules like “no three words in a row” if students would actually credit the source of their material appropriately. Your lack of time is not our problem. Your willingness to take shortcuts that are disrespectful of the original author and your readers is our problem. If by graduate school you haven’t learned that plagiarism is wrong, we would be remiss in not removing you from the university, as someone should have done in this case.”

    The reason it’s a stupid rule is that it doesn’t solve the problem. I have never read anything Harold Bloom has written, but I am certain that if you compared all my essays to his work, you’d find many identical three word fragments.

    Doesn’t mean I should have cited him

  97. Anonymous says:

    I’m in ur diss, stealing ur words

  98. jackie31337 says:

    Really, how hard is it to properly research and cite a paper? Even on assignments where I was very lazy and in a huge hurry to churn out something at the last-minute, I would paraphrase what I had read and cite nearly every sentence. When I actually had time, I did the full outline-and-notecard thing. Don’t they teach this stuff in high school any more? I feel old.

  99. Anonymous says:

    When asked if he thought he’d done anything wrong, Meehan replied, “I Dowd it.”

  100. Anonymous says:

    @97 is correct about turning chapters of your doctoral dissertation into papers and publishing them. (Or the converse.) The thing is, you typically cite yourself when you do that. In other words: if you publish parts of your dissertation, you cite your dissertation as a source in those papers. And if you turn some of your (possibly still-unpublished) papers into chapters of your dissertation, you cite them in your dissertation.

    (In my case, my research “forked”: a condensed version became a published paper, while an expanded version became 2 dissertation chapters. The paper had a citation to my dissertation.)

    But, @97, that’s not the case here.

  101. dculberson says:

    One caution to those shitstorming: did Meehan work with Boening or in the same department as Boening? It is possible that the commonalities between the two documents were developed by or for the department and are considered “standard” or “common” language for documents put out by that lab. It is not uncommon at all for large passages to be re-used by academic authors when there’s no need to revise them. It comes down to a question of permissions, really, and since they were contemporaries at the same university it seems reasonable to suspect that they might have worked together.

    I.e. a paragraph describing an ANOVA might be written by one person in a lab, refined by another, edited by a third, and batted around in groups for a while until a final version is made. Then each time a paper involves an ANOVA, they just re-use their existing paragraph with refinements for any particular situation.

    Now, if Meehan just took the work of Boening without permission, or if they did not work together and Meehan was just given the work despite no involvement in the creation of it, then continue shitstorming.

  102. Anonymous says:

    Plagiarism was meant for poor people.

  103. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous @88: “I Dowd it.”

    Thank you for the laugh!!!

  104. VVelox says:

    @#17 posted by Anonymous, June 1, 2009 11:17 AM

    That is just ignorant. Three words in a three are trivial to come up with, with out even copying from some place.

    The lack of times placed on students in some situations can also be traced directly to the professors who feel they need to assign busy work to supplement their goat fragging teaching style, do to them being to lazy to teach the subject and regarding the students as being nothing but lazy or etc, there for feeling the need to harass them via worthless extra work.

  105. VVelox says:

    @#22 posted by Brainspore, June 1, 2009 11:24 AM

    Those are all good ideas, except for drug policy violators. This should be the realm of the police department, some some college. Nor should colleges be taking it on themselves to enforce the law. If some one gets arrested or etc, if they can still make the cut, they should be allowed to.

  106. Boba Fett Diop says:

    Plagiarism is plagiarism is plagiarism.

  107. mdh says:

    Meehan replied, “I Dowd it.”

    Well played sir.

  108. Brainspore says:

    In defense of said shitstorm: This isn’t even the first time that Meehan has been accused of plagiarism. In August 2007 he published an article in two newspapers that was basically just information copied from a health information web site.

  109. Takuan says:

    that works on so many levels.

  110. Church says:

    It’s only improper appropriation when economically disadvantaged people do it.

  111. Ian70 says:

    You people may enjoy my other blog, called BoingyBoing.. it’s a directory of wonderfully good things. Also I’m working on a fake-news newspaper and internet crossover, which I’m calling The Leek.

  112. alowishus says:

    This is why it’s so much easier and safer to just make all your facts up.

  113. noah says:

    Ahhh… Original docs here, without the highlighting.

  114. martinmyers says:

    Imitation may be flattery but plagiarism and intellectual property theft are not victimless crimes. Academia may accept a lot of resume puffery and false claims on Curriclum Vitae with no one really being hurt but when a faculty member steals someone elses ideas or fails to credit the originator of those ideas the result is a big rip off of the students who earnestly receive the message that the truly creative are mere prey for the sneaky academic. Not exactly a better world is it?

  115. Anonymous says:

    I would have gotten away with it too if it weren’t for you meddling kids and your dog!

  116. Anonymous says:

    I (Websters, 64) find (Oxford, 41) it (Websters, 67) ridiculous (Collins, 287) how (Websters 58), far (Collins, 51) we (Oxford, 652) must (Websters, 249) go (Websters, 38) to (Oxford, 597) avoid (Websters, 9) accusations (Oxford, 4) of (Collins, 487) plagiarism. (Websters, 328)

  117. Anonymous says:

    Its always the poored people doing the plagiarizationing.

  118. Tdawwg says:

    Rather short dissertation, plagiarism notwithstanding. (Sniffs.)

    That said, does this herald a brave new world of retroactive policing of academics’ scribblings? Think of the carnage!

  119. Anonymous says:

    Joking aside, when the establishment defends their members’ unethical and criminal behavior, it strongly discourages others from submitting their own work. I wonder how many groundbreaking papers have gone unpublished because the authors knew they didn’t have enough clout to protect their discoveries?

    A similar situation exists in fiction writing, as well. Opportunistic scum at every turn, and the more influential people really do seem to smugly get away with plagiarism constantly. You would think that people of such position might be more enlightened than that, but no. They’re just as dull and greedy as any fat pervert noshing cheetos at the porno theater.

  120. Anonymous says:

    I think it’s Hoenig’s “Handbook of Chemical Warfare and Terrorism” that is largely cobbled together from existing military technical manuals. I was going through his book, and something sounded familiar so I typed it into Google with quotes. I was amazed at how much of his book was flat-out taken from government manuals without attribution. Clever boy- no copyright on that stuff.

  121. Anonymous says:

    It’s only plagiarism if you get caught before its too messy and better to cover up.

  122. kattw says:

    I wish I could remember the details, but the exact opposite happened a while back too. Persons X and Y both worked in lab Z, and X copied significant portions of Y’s thesis into his own thesis. X’s thesis was noticed, considered plagiarism, and his PhD was revoked… well over a decade after it had been awarded.

    The unfortunate thing is that, in science at least, you end up with ‘stock slides’ and the like, that folks share in their talks and the like, and it’s hard to remember that this is very much against the rules for papers, theses, etc.

    At #21, you forgot to reference the original sources! So why bother quoting?

    And I think I understand the 3 words in a row rule, stupid though it is. So many people at all levels, but especially undergrads, will exploit any loophole in any rule, and reasonable but interperable rules (like standard plagiarism definitions) just make it worse. So if you make that strict of a plagiarism rule, at least there’re no loopholes.

  123. Sekino says:

    Don’t you know by now that people with money can do no wrong?

    Peasants.

  124. teddanson says:

    It’s not possible to plagiarise poor people.

    Also, as a Doctor of Education, Meehan must be very grateful to whomever brought this inadvertent issue to the attention of the wider community.

  125. Anonymous says:

    All poor people plagiarize.

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