“It kind of undermines the credibility of your work criticizing others’ integrity when you don’t conform to the basic rules of scholarship,” Virginia Tech plagiarism expert Skip Garner says.
Allegations under review
“The matter is under investigation,” says GMU spokesman Dan Walsch by e-mail. In a phone interview, Wegman said he could not comment at the university’s request. In an earlier e-mail Wegman sent to Joseph Kunc of the University of Southern California, however, he called the plagiarism charges “wild conclusions that have nothing to do with reality.”
The plagiarism experts queried by USA TODAY disagree after viewing the Wegman report:
• “Actually fairly shocking,” says Cornell physicist Paul Ginsparg by e-mail. “My own preliminary appraisal would be ‘guilty as charged.’ ”
•”If I was a peer reviewer of this report and I was to observe the paragraphs they have taken, then I would be obligated to report them,” says Garner of Virginia Tech, who heads a copying detection effort. “There are a lot of things in the report that rise to the level of inappropriate.”
•”The plagiarism is fairly obvious when you compare things side-by-side,” says Ohio State’s Robert Coleman, who chairs OSU’s misconduct committee.
But plagarism is not the worst or most relevant problem. Apparently, far from an independent review of the “Hockey Stick”, Wegman simply reproduced the critique from McIntyre replete with errors addressed in follow on peer reviewed papers, papers Wegman did not cite.
My take on the Hockeystick wars remains unchanged: probably used suboptimal statistical methods but that was not relevant to the final results. These results have been confirmed by all manner of other studies using all manner of methods and data. Temperatures 1000 years ago are not central to the case for man made climate change today.