Yesterday, I wrote a post about Casey Luskin’s misuse of the ResearchBlogging.org “Blogging about Peer-Reviewed Research” icon. Today, Casey removed the icon from his post, and provided an explanation for his actions. I’m glad that he decided to cease his misuse of the icon, but his explanation leaves a heck of a lot to be desired. He admits no wrongdoing, makes no apology, and presents a series of excuses for his actions that – even if accepted at face value – are weak at best.
The first excuse he presents is essentially a claim that he didn’t know what he was doing:
A co-worker had recommended that I include a graphic that said this was discussing peer-reviewed research. At the time, I was unaware of ResearchBlogging.org and the fact that they requested registration in order to use their graphic. Important note: It should be clear that when I first posted my post, I had not yet seen ResearchBlogging.org and was unaware of how it worked. (Italics in original.)
I’m finding it very hard to believe that Casey was unaware of ResearchBlogging.org when he used the icon. Here’s why:
That’s a screen capture taken from Casey’s article yesterday. Take a look at the icon. It’s got “ResearchBlogging.org” written across the bottom. The text for the link might not be as large or the same color as the main text, but it’s pretty clear. Even if I give Casey some leeway for being both oblivious and lazy, it’s still a bit hard to see how he managed to use that icon while simultaneously remaining “unaware of” researchblogging.org. But let’s assume that he was. It’s still no excuse. He knew that he hadn’t created the icon himself, and finding out where the icon came from should not have been difficult – all he needed to do was look at the icon.
On Feb. 5, I received a response from ResearchBlogging.org that, among other things, directed me to a discussion page which stated that the graphic I originally used was copyrighted by them. At the time that I posted this post, I was not aware that the graphic I had used was owned by ResearchBlogging.org.
As I pointed out before, “ResearchBlogging.org” is written right on the icon, so it’s really hard to buy Casey’s version of the Sgt. Shultz defense here, either. It’s also worth noting that Casey really should know – particularly since he’s a lawyer himself – that (a) he didn’t create the icon himself, and that therefore (b) someone else probably owned the icon. At best, Casey decided not to bother finding out where the icon came from and who had actually taken the time and effort to put it together. That’s not an acceptable excuse for buying a $200 Rolex from the guy on the street, and it’s not much better here.
If Casey really wants to come up with an excuse, he’s going to need to do better than willful ignorance.