At least this is the standard if you are Roger Pielke Jr and the accused is a member of Real Climate. When pressed as to how he knew an accusation of plagarism he was leveling was really true, in his own words:
This is how he defends his very serious accusation of plagarism against a commenter who expresses surprise at Pielke leveling such a charge with admitted lack of anything more than circumstantial evidence.
maybe they were alerted by one or more other people before or after Feb. 28, but my point is its surprising you think its OK to make grave charges against other academics without knowing such facts. Most academics I know would be very careful about make such claims.
In a nutshell the issue is over an error in the calculation of a confidence interval in a recent paper on Antarctic temperature trends. A commenter on Climate Audit described this error on that blog and emailed the authors. Steig et al submitted a correction. Roger does not have any knowledge as to whether or not this fellow was the only person to notice it, nor whether or not the authors noticed the error on their own. The comment and letter came over 5 months ago, the correction last week. That is pretty poor correlation for such a harsh accusation.
I also have some trouble accepting that this would consititute plagarism anyway, even if the burden of proof that Pielke is so unconcerned with were met. “Hey, that’s a good idea, let’s do the calculation correctly!” So even if things did play out as Pielke unjustly claims, I think we are dealing with etiquette not ethics and at worst we are talking about a personal snub, not serious academic misconduct.
Pielke is no stranger to stretching reality to suit his spin.