Yet another example of Wegman plagiarism

Andrew Gelman details yet another case of apparent plagiarism by Edward Wegman. This one is a copy and paste from Wikipedia that manages to introduce an obvious error, claiming that a d-dimensional cube has only 2d vertices instead of 2^d. Gelman gets all sarcastic:

[Note to Drs. Wegman and Said: You can replace "2^n" by "2n" only if n=1 or 2. I checked by following the principles of statistical computation and making a graph in R: curve (2^x-2x, from=-2, to=5). I know it's a pain to do superscripts in Word, but next time you should really put in the effort to do it right.]

Hat tip: John Mashey.

Update Ouch


More like this

"...claiming that a d-dimensional cube has only 2d instead of 2^d."
Read: "... 2^d vertices." An obvious error .... OK, a blog isn't a scholarly article. I hereby authorise you to make the correction without attribution or grovel. *[Oops. Fixed]*

There are many more problems in that article (detailed writeup soon at DC's place).

But while people are awaiting that, here's a related topic to discuss. Somehow, some people started with Strange Scholarship in the Wegman Report, and claim that the WR was unscathed, except for some possible minor copying of text, easily fixable by a few quotes.

This was fairly bizarre, given that 20-25% of the pages of SSWR showed plagiarism, but even there, much of the analysis was of the biases and errors introduced, often in support of Memes and Themes.

As I wrote, p.3:
"Obvious plagiarism needs so little explanation that fabrications are not generally enumerated, especially as some errors might be attributed to incompetence. Either issue is taken seriously in academe."

For the sake of simplicity in academic misconduct committees (although GMU has now just passed the 18-month mark and still counting, without an inquiry report to anyone), Ray had just focused on the plagiarism, not the falsification/fabrication.

For that, I later wrote the 12-page Strange Falsifications in the Wegman Report. When someone is not just plagiarizing but falsifying, those cases are much easier to find and display amidst the plagiarized text.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 21 Sep 2011 #permalink

Thanks for this!

A long time ago, GMU were investigating plagiarism, I wonder what happened?

Just like a nasty stain on the carpet, they covered it with a rug and hoped it would go away. Except this stain is spreading and it won't go away.

I suppose the obvious analogy is once you start lifting stones and then following what scuttles out from under them, who knows where it ends.

Anyone with a degree from GMU should be suspect at this point given GMU's obvious cover up of this academic fraud. They have lost their intregrity.

By Mark Schaffer (not verified) on 22 Sep 2011 #permalink

> Ed Wegman, the only statistician in the bunch, is the
> most interesting case to me. I see several different
> motivations for his plagiarism: ....
> Wegman may have done it out of a sense of
> obligation to his country .... The above
> imputed motivations are all just guesses. -- Gelman

Gelman seems to me to make a fair assessment there, worth reading and thinking about.

I too thought Gelman was being exceedingly generous to Wegman in the piece.

Having said that, I'm slightly discomfited at the same time by the careful avoidance of the billion-dollar-a-day elephant occupying most of the room, as if common academic decency forbids perception of it. The Barton-Inhofe crew are hardly paragons of virtuous, selfless statecraft.

BTW, I'll post it here also. This is a chronology of the various known plagiarism chains.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 22 Sep 2011 #permalink

Mark Schaffer

Anyone with a degree from GMU should be suspect at this point given GMU's obvious cover up of this academic fraud. They have lost their intregrity.

Considering the neighbours of STATS - Statistical Assessment Services (GMU), which I suppose is a part of George Mason University as seen on John Mashey's map should we be surprised.

The STATS marker is the red one above a route 29 marker at the left of the main group, using + to magnify three times.


Once again I commend you (and DC) for your tireless and forensic dissection of the Wegman saga.

In any institution in which I have worked, such a blatant, pervasive and profoundly pernicious story of academic misbehaviour would be taken far more seriously than GMU seems to be taking it. It staggers me that they are so recalcitrantly dragging their heels on this - aside from the obvious Koch influence, is there any other explanation why the administration is so slow in demonstrating a serious response?

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 23 Sep 2011 #permalink

re: 10 Thanks.

Well, we certainly don't know.

1) A committee does actually exist, but we of course do not know who is on it. It is quite possible that one or more of the committee members is foot-dragging. For example, suppose Walter Williams was on it (check old home page carefully.)

2) Wegman&Said have a lawyer, and as recounted in SIGMU, there is some evidence that GMU didn't follow their own policies.

See p.33 for the Facebook post. This is pure speculation, but maybe GMU has opened itself to legal action against it by Wegman and if so, that probably wouldn't help this mess.

3) Of course, in the middle of all this is something that is probably unrelated:
GMU President is retiring.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 23 Sep 2011 #permalink

Dear John mashey

I looked at your 12-page synoptic 'report'.

What a mess. It looks as thuogh a kid took a bunch of color crayons to the pages, bleeding highlights, colorful arrows.

More than anything, it betrays how obsessively you and deopclimate must have pored over the text of the Wegman report.

Keep up with the remedial classes shubbie, and in a year or several, if you have it in you, understanding may come within your grasp.

Interesting timing re. Merten.
I wonder how much independence GMU will show when the Koch bros. nominated replacement's name comes up?

(Vacuous point I know, but at least it helps prevent the Jonas thread burying this one awhile longer. But with that I'm off out for the night. Have a good'n y'all.)

Hopefully the ever-dense shubbie will come back with some tediously turgid riposte and up the visibility again after Jonas' trolls have done their work for the night.

Or should it be titled : "How to get banned from deltoid blog" - by Billy Bob Hall. :-)
Where's you sense of humor Tim ? :-)

By Billy Bob Hall (not verified) on 23 Sep 2011 #permalink

>More than anything, it betrays how obsessively forensically you and deopclimate [sic] must have pored over the text of the Wegman report.

Fixed it for you ol' goat.

And please, can you explain why you are yourself obsessed with Mashey's and DC's meticulous scrutiny, rather than with the huge and profoundly serious body of evidence for worrying academic misbehaviour, that their investigation has revealed?

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 23 Sep 2011 #permalink

It would seem to me that complaining about style allows shub to show willing to the likeminded, yet avoid having to deal with the shocking substance. It's a win-win all round.

Sure, his publicly apparent IQ takes a massive hit, but such considerations are of relatively little importance in those circles.

Isn't the reality that not much has happened to Wegman or to his reputation amongst those opposed to CO2 having a significant role in the world's climate? Aren't the powers-that-be more intent on leaving the drowned polar bear guy out on a distant melting iceberg to swim his way back for providing emotive pictures that Al Gore could use than sorting out Wegman for all the false testimony he provided; after all Wegman's testimony provided the 'right' kind of testimony whilst Dr Monnett's was the 'wrong' kind?

Whilst some of this may be relevant to the post-mortem that will one day look into our combined failures on climate I suggest Wegman and co are relatively minor players; surely more of interest is the chain of influence that can result in Wegman left free to carry on whilst Monnett remains effectively muzzled.

By Ken Fabos (not verified) on 24 Sep 2011 #permalink

Ken yes, but his reputation among the statistical community has taken a very serious hit. Among other reasons this is why Roger Pielke Sr. hides behind Anthony Watts

Ken is right ... but ...

Go back and look at CCC carefully, which is mostly about the social network of climate anti-science.
Just read p.1, especially "This report suggests..." and p.184, on legal issues.

How much was Wegman Report? pp.23-28, 32, 167-177, about 10% of the 185 pages.

Put another way, from Day One, the underlying interest was in the network and machinery of which the WR was a part.
If you want an analogy, consider the way the FBI works when trying to dismantle a mob, for example thuis one.
"It all started with the 2008 arrest of a relatively low-level soldier, Joseph "Joey Caves" Competiello, who was busted for his role in a mob hit.

He soon flipped and provided information that sparked a four-year domino effect of Colombo arrests -- many resulting in other wiseguys' becoming FBI rats themselves."

SSWR got written almost by accident, given the loose ends leftover from CCC ...
at that point, I thought Wegman&Said were just somewhat-naive statisticians who'd gotten a "statisticians can straighten this out" plea and had gotten fed the right set of papers. See comment at end of p.177, I was sorry for Said.

BUT, as it happens:
1) Wegman was clearly attempting to create a "statisticians-vs-climate scientists" fight. That wasn't really working, but it's now dead, or actually worse, especially when fellow statisticians like Gelman start whacking away publicly.

2) Two years ago, I was barely aware of George Mason University's existence. CC only devoted half of p.67 to GMU, and GMU grads Ken Cuccinelli & Wesley Russell were not yet on the radar screen.

As a result of GMU's mishandling of the original (relatively simple) mess and then all the later academic misconduct complaints, a bunch of people (including more than one Washington journalist) have gotten very interested in GMU.

We're now at 18 months and counting, but you can imagine how GMU science faculty might feel about the Nature editorial: Copy and paste.

Anyway, "GMU in the spotlight" turns out to be an unexpected outcome, that would not have occurred if they'd dealt with this like any normal university, but ">they didn't and still aren't.

Finally, while the anti-science blogosphere doesn't matter much, all this has had the delightful side-effect of getting a bunch of people on record defending Wegman, showing they were totally clueless on this topic.

I laughed a lot when reading the amazing theories espoused about what wasn't plagiarism, the simplest of the FFP unholy trinity to prove.
{Needless to say, before I'd written much, I'd consulted various experts, both academic and those who've consulted on copyright court cases ... which is why I knew the "striking similarities" phrase.]

We'll see if GMU manages to deal with this before President Merten retires next June. :-) But GMU, with an even closer relationship to the Kochs than I'd originally realized, turns out to be a bigger part of that social network than I'd thought.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 24 Sep 2011 #permalink

Eli @18,

Re Pielke hiding behind Watts. Care to elaborate please?

As for the apologists for Wegman et al.,they are clearly not only in denial about AGW.

By MapleLeaf (not verified) on 24 Sep 2011 #permalink

>Finally, while the anti-science blogosphere doesn't matter much, all this has had the delightful side-effect of getting a bunch of people on record defending Wegman, showing they were totally clueless on this topic.

Wegman - intellectual and moral flypaper for reflexive denialist supporters...

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 25 Sep 2011 #permalink

I certainly hope that exposing the lack of academic ethics by Wegman and others bears positive fruit and will be much more than a footnote to a general failure to face the climate problem rationally and head on. Such efforts are, of course, absolutely essential. Apologies for my pessimism.

By Ken Fabos (not verified) on 25 Sep 2011 #permalink

No apologies needed . There has always been much more going on behind the scenes than was obvious, going far beyond plagiarism. For instance, very early in the game I talked to a very Washington-savvy lawyer, who told me not to expect an 18USC1001 effort to be quick or easy, but it certainly wasn't fantasy. After all, Roger Clemens got indicted, for something of rather less import.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 25 Sep 2011 #permalink

> (Vacuous point I know, but at least it helps prevent the Jonas thread burying this one awhile longer.

Which may have been the point of Jonas' continued display of idiocy. It certainly can't be to convince anyone he knows what he's on about...

More than anything, it betrays how obsessively you and deopclimate must have pored over the text of the Wegman report.

Yes, it's laziness, sloppiness, and inattention to detail that are virtues in your world.

Yes. The cheek of that Mashey fellow!

Auditing the deniers! It's just not cricket!

By Vince Whirlwind (not verified) on 26 Sep 2011 #permalink

It seems pretty quiet in both the media and on WTF about all these scientists making stuff up, doesn't it.

No senators demanding a congressional committee to investigate accusations of Fraud, not referrals to the DoJ. No State AG's demanding reams of information from GMU. Nothing.

Just thought this needed a bump to get Jonas and pals posting vigorously on the Jonas thread to bury it again...

It's a bit ironic, isn't it, Wow? Jonas N came in because of his handwaving away the case against Wegman, and now he and his accolytes are burying a thread with yet another example of Wegman (and co)'s questionable scientific ethics.

Thanks John Mashey and DC for taking it to the line with Wegman. The reason it's important is that Wegman is the contemporary face of corporate-friendly science and its values.

Could any of us even begin to imagine where we might be 100 years from now if that type of self-serving intellectual cancer had been left to fester in the dark unopposed?

Thanks, but this is Gelman himself going at it :-)

And actually, I wouldn't call this corporate-friendly science, and in fact, I consider that phrase not very useful for reasons I will explain.

As best as I can tell, Wegman has generally gotten his money from government grants and I have not found any clear trace of corporate money flow. [Note careful wording, I am not asserting non-existence, but that I have not found visible evidence.] I actually think this is more in the ideological / ego areas in my reasons catalog. it is a peculiar case.

But here is why I I think the phrase corporate-friendly science is not a good one, actually counter-productive.
Companies are distributed as are people and range from really, really good (to work for, who produce valuable goods and services that wouldn't exist) to the atrocious.

I spent decades working for corporations, one of which was Bell Labs. Would the phrase "corporate-friendly science" apply? (Should we take back transistors, solar cells, lasers, fibre optics, communications satellites, UNIX, etc?) Likewise, SGI enabled a great range of science applications. Same question.

Now, take a look at Organization categories.

The key issue is the comment at top:
companies that "privatize the benefits and socialize the costs" (or risks, if I'd had more room).
Those companies tend not to like inconvenient science.

The tobacco companies are the top. Fossil fuel companies at least produce energy, although we're realizing there is a high global socialized cost. I grew up near Pittsburgh, PA, i.e., coal & steel. In the 1950s, businessmen took an extra white shirt to work to change at lunch. and the sun was not often seen downtown. But that was relatively local effect, and many people were proud to be part of the steel business. I.e., there is a pollution-tradeoff that was primarily a local choice.

But houses still collapse from old coal mines dug many decades ago and as far as I know, nobody put money in big trust funds to pay for that. The companies are long gone. [I used to work summers/vacations programming for the US Bureau of Mines, which a) did research to make coal mining better/safer and b) tried to enforce rules (not fun, look up Don Blankenship sometimes). Weirdly, my first published technical report (40 years ago) was about analysis of coal.

These days, the issue there is Marcellus shale and fracking, where the long-term effects are yet to be sorted out. In some places, there is already methane in the water without any drilling at all. It would certainly be nice to know what's in the chemicals. IF one can safely get the methane out AND IF not lose too much to the atmosphere AND IF it helps get rid of coal, then good.

Unfunded liabilities of any sort are problemmatical. Just as Pittsburgh long-accepted polluted skies, some town might well accept the risk of water pollution to get a better economy ... but if I lived there, I'd sure want a big escrow account built up to cover the costs that might occur.
This may well be an opportunity for insurance companies, who in fact tend to demand good science and listen to it, since they are paid to price risk.

But, anyway, the phrase corporate-friendly science is probably not so useful. Real science seeks truth.
The problem is the corporate or ideologically-funded anti-science that tries to obscure it.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 28 Sep 2011 #permalink


I used to work summers/vacations programming for the US Bureau of Mines

That would have been the facility in the South Hills, wouldn't it? Currently named NETL? In an interesting bit or irony, I seem to recall the main road that led there suffered an underground mine-related collapse back in the late 80's - early 90's.

No, it was the old USBM Pittsburgh Mining Research Center on Forbes Ave, now part of the Carnegie-Mellon Campus.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 28 Sep 2011 #permalink

For me, it was Wegman's 'colour theory' article that was the most bizarre. It's not that there was anything hugely wrong with it (apart from the cutting and pasting) - but what on earth did it have to do with stats??

Clearly Wegman knew nothing about the topic, it was just the epitome of the very worst of academic writing - we have to publish something so let's cobble togther any old guff and pretend it's worthwhile.

re: 37
Well, some statisticians (like Gelman or William Cleveland) have a lot of interest in graphical display techniques, and color can be relevant.... and Wegman did do a bunch of work on SGI gear in the 1990s ... but it certainly was a stretch, even without the plagiarism and errors.

Put another way, a high-quality review article byu an ex[pert on "what statisticians should know about color" might actually be OK.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 28 Sep 2011 #permalink

John @ #34

John, I realise now that in the case of Prof. Gelman's article my earlier comment made little sense, but I'd suggest that many see Wiley's CS RFO article as a bit further along a story arc that began with the Wegman Report. After all, when you appear to successfully get away with something once why disturb a working formula?

Perhaps 'corporate-friendly' science is a broad brush in danger of tarring everybody, but nevertheless there are few other entities with the resources and finances (and amorality) that are required to ensure that academics and politicians can be orchestrated in concert to produce desirable results for them.

As you say, Wegman is unlikely to have to have been the immediate direct recipient of corporate financing, but as we are well aware in the UK, a surprising number of public servants find post retirement made much more comfortable by acquiring posts in industry - particularly those industries they helped privatise and/or de-regulate. I'm sure Wegman's crucial assistance with Barton's committee and its preferred findings would not have gone unnoticed.

In that context the corporate corruption of science, in the case of discrediting as thoroughly as possible Mike Mann's hockey stick reconstruction using the media of apparent scholarship (M&M) and a Congressionally sponsored report, makes sense. At the oft-quoted rate of billion-dollar-a-day profits for the global fossil fuel industries, since 2006 they're ahead of the game as it might otherwise have played out had honesty been a major factor by a ballpark figure of c. $2T.

Given the time passing in the investigation of Wegman, I'd suggest it's indicative of a serious amount of tearing out of hair over how to best to present and manage the inevitable fallout, rather than simply judging the facts of the case. With a minor academic being the obvious weakest link in a very powerful chain, I'd hope he has taken comprehensive steps to ensure his good health continues.

They do?


re: #40
See pp.93-95 of CCC and examples of thinktank funding, as on p.55, 65 or 69.

In this turf, some money is directly corporate (EM), some is from family foundations (of whom some, of course, have clear interests like the Kochs), and a big chunk of money is unknown. That report doesn't do the campaign analysis of candidates, but of course, just to pick 2 of my random bookbooks: Inhoife and Barton have interesting corporate contributors.

So, one has to be careful. I doubt there are many people who have studied the money flows in this exact turf more than I have, but I haven't seen any evidence of fossil corporate flows to Wegman.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 29 Sep 2011 #permalink

Remember Wegman's expertise nowadays is in "data mining" -- I wonder if data mining software regularly strips out cites and sources to provide chunks of condensed information.

If he used his own software tools and got this bad result
there might be a problem worth checking into generally.

His expertise a decade or two ago was in "Star Wars" anti-missile defense systems, but that idea got shot down.

Though some argue that it only causes teeny ones

Where "some" is just about anyone who knows anything. From your first article: "It is well-established that fluid injection can induce small earthquakes. Typically, these are too small to be felt." So I don't know why you presented this as if the articles disagreed with each other and as if "only causes teeny ones" is a minority opinion.

By Marcel Kincaid (not verified) on 29 Sep 2011 #permalink

@39 As they said in the abstract:

In this article, we discuss color theory and design with emphasis on use in statistical, scientific, and data visualization. Color theory is inextricably linked to the physiology of the human visual system, and color design is similarly inextricably linked to human perception. We discuss color perception in the human visual system. We then quantify color perception in terms of the Munsell System and the International Commission on Illumination (CIE) color space. We continue to discuss color design with a perspective on individuals with defective color perception and finally conclude with a discussion of color design for the use of color in presentations. WIREs Comp Stat 2011 3 104â118 DOI: 10.1002/wics.146

By Marcel Kincaid (not verified) on 29 Sep 2011 #permalink

Earthquakes are to some extent relative. We live 5 minutes jog from the San Andreas fault and building codes are tough, so earthquakes ignored as teeny here might not be ignored in places unused to them.

re: 45: color: yes, and one might revisit DC. A well-done article on this would have been fine.

The "stretch" to me wasn't the general topic, it was the strange mixture of discussion levels & details, hashed together, certainly in a style similar to the Optimization piece. It spent much text on topics irrelevant to:

"In this article, we discuss color theory and design with emphasis on use in statistical, scientific, and data visualization" '

I don't think that article *does* that, and wouldn't help people very much, either in print graphics design or on displays or for Web (for a 2011 article!) I'm no graphics designer myself, but I used to work at Silicon Graphics, where such issues were considered now and then.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 29 Sep 2011 #permalink

Perhaps GMU are waiting for Wegman to retire, and then they'll conclude their investigation. [Joking]

By Donald Oats (not verified) on 30 Sep 2011 #permalink

#44 Marcel, I thought the third link more clearly debunked fears about fracking causing earthquakes while the others seemed to leave the question open. They are not necessarily opposed, but have a different emphasis. And the media would probably have more fun with a connection than without one.

I liked the careful language by the seismologist at the first link who said a connection to fracking would be interesting but did not reveal his opinion on wheather there is such a connection.

By Holly Stick (not verified) on 30 Sep 2011 #permalink

Wegman & Star Wars

The potential Star Wars connection Anna alludes to is Wegman:GMI(Jastrow, Seitz, Nierenberg), but I looked *very* hard for that when writing SSWR.

But I never found evidence of a 1980s Wegman:GMI connection and there was circumstantial evidence of non-connection in mid-2005. In SSWR p.31 I wrote:

"Although Wegman had some old history with Star Wars (hence possible GMI connection), one might have expected a faster recruitment if he was still well-known to GMI or CEI."

My best guess is that in the 1980s, Wegman was interested in High Performance Computing and there was Star Wars money.
People I respect highly have praised his efforts at ONR in the 1970s/1980s.

This does illustrate a general problem: numerous connections might be possible:

a) Some turn out to be real.

b) Some turn out to be coincidences.

c) And some are still unclear until more evidence is found.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 30 Sep 2011 #permalink

["Dr. Wegman was the original program director of the basic research program in Ultra High Speed Computing at the Strategic Defense Initiative\'s Innovative Science and Technology Office (Star Wars Program). As the SDI program officer, Dr. Wegman was responsible for programs in software development tools, highly parallel architectures and optical computing ..."](…)
(Arnetminer: search and mining of academic social networks)

Science (1985):
["Star Wars" Program "Only partly in jest" is the way R. Jeffrey Smith describesthe statement by Edward Wegman of the Office of Naval Research about the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) or "Star Wars" program that "we don't want to have a few lines of bad code mistakenly set off a nuclear weapon ..."](

I am, in fact, a GMU student. Purely because the place is commutable. I have no real regard for the place whatsoever and will be glad to wash my hands of it in all but the fact that it is the place from which I'll be getting my undergraduate degree in biology.

This is the place, mind, where the economics department has its own little shrine to Hayek.


The Koch brothers have nominated a replacement for President Merten? Tell me, are they going to divert funding from Mason's science programs, which are the best ones at the university? Is our esteemed attorney general alumnus who hates women and can't bear the sight of a breast going to meddle in the issue?

Thankfully I'll be out of there in two years.

By Katharine (not verified) on 30 Sep 2011 #permalink

re: 52 Katharine
Good luck, the students are the ones likely to get hurt in this mess, especially if GMU continues as is, it will have a clear reputation for not dealing with academic misconduct.

For those who have not dug around as much as I have:
CCC pp.94-95 (underlined organizations)

The Kochs (C. Koch, C. Lambe, D. Koch) plus R.M.Scaife and some others are generous to GMU and some of its centers, like Institute for Humane Studies and Mercatus Center.
Some of these seem to exist either to eliminate the Federal government or at least radically downsize it.

It is unclear where the money tagged GMU goes, but I would speculate that it is far more likely that it goes to {Econ, PoliSci, Public Policy or Law} than to science.

As far as I can tell, GMU science is funded as elsewhere, including Federal grants, which of course will go away if the Kochs succeed in downsizing the Federal government enough, although maybe an exception will be made for GMU.

Katharine's reference to attorney general
is to Ken Cuccinelli, ably assisted by another GMU JD, Wesley Russell (who actually signs the complaints against U VA and Mann, although inquiring minds would really like to know who feeds him the research).

Her comment about females is about Cuccinelli and the VA state seal.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 30 Sep 2011 #permalink

Cuccinelli is, as you all know, the idiot who attacks UVA climate scientists. He actually worked for a time next to the guy who provides medical care for my family.

Now GMU is not without dollars for science. However, I understand more of it goes into biomedical science than climate funding. I benefit from the biomed dollars, I admit.

The Broadside, GMU's newspaper, fails to mention Wegman. At all. I am tempted to flood them with letters to the editor.

Re the Institute for 'Humane' Studies and the Mercatus Center, I think George Mason is apparently Libertarian Land.

By Katharine (not verified) on 01 Oct 2011 #permalink

I think, in my (precious little) spare time, I may poke around campus a bit to find out what's going on.

Surreptitiously, as I don't want to incur consequences.

Anyone have ideas for what I might do?

By Katharine (not verified) on 01 Oct 2011 #permalink

In retrospect it is probably a poor idea for a current student to poke around campus, but I'll keep my eyes and ears open.

By Katharine (not verified) on 01 Oct 2011 #permalink

1) Recall Nature editorial, which I mentioned earlier. It not only urges GMU to move faster, but mentions accreditation group. You might talk with sympathetic faculty and ask them if this is anything you should worry about.

2) Broadside: they have been sent letters, but given the circumstances, I think it would take very gutsy editors to write articles or publish anything about this. But in any case, if I were you, I don't think I'd want my name on one... given the strong points of view sometimes espoused in letters that have been published.

3) There was an interesting comment at Andrew Gelman's.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 01 Oct 2011 #permalink

so earthquakes ignored as teeny here might not be ignored in places unused to them

They would if they are "too small to be felt".

By Marcel Kincaid (not verified) on 03 Oct 2011 #permalink

FYI, according to GMU spokesman Dan Walsch (via email today), the "proceeding" _is_ in the "investigation" stage.
(i.e. no longer in the preliminary "inquiry" stage)

By Anna Haynes (not verified) on 04 Oct 2011 #permalink

Actually, he said that a year ago:
see SIGMU, see p.10, under 10/08/10, and p.42.

There is actually no doubt about the existence of an investigation (and at some time in the future, more details will likely appear as to GMU's process for such) but at least, as of a few weeks ago, Ray Bradley had yet to get an inquiry report.

Of course GMU policy, says:

"(f) A recommendation as to whether the complainant should be notified of the results of the inquiry and, if so, which parts of the report, if any, should be included in the notification and whether the notification should require that the information be maintained confidentially; ..."

So they can claim they didn't have to tell Ray anything...

I hadn't noticed their timeline before, but it can be compared with SIGMU p.6.

As of today, we are now 568 days into this. If I ever update SIGMU, I'll have to redraw the scales :-)

By John Mashey (not verified) on 04 Oct 2011 #permalink

More ouch.…

Suboptimal Scholarship

Today I present an analysis of a 2009 article by Yasmin Said and Edward Wegman of George Mason University. âRoadmap for Optimizationâ was published in the inaugural edition of WIREs Comp Stats, one of a new family of Wiley publications conceived as a âserial encyclopediaâ. ...

As the title implies, the article was meant to provide a broad overview of the mathematical optimization and set the stage for subsequent articles detailing various optimization techniques. However my analysis, entitled Suboptimal Scholarship: Antecedents of Said and Wegman 2009, demonstrates the highly problematic scholarship of the âRoadmapâ article.

* No fewer than 15 likely online antecedent sources, all unattributed, have been identified, including 13 articles from Wikipedia and two others from Prof. Tom Ferguson and Wolfram MathWorld.

* Numerous errors have been identified, apparently arising from mistranscription, faulty rewording, or omission of key information.

* The scanty list of references appears to have been âcarried alongâ from the unattributed antecedents; thus, these references may well constitute false citations.

Thank you Deep C.

John M. -
> "Actually, he said that [proceeding" is in the "investigation" stage] a year ago"

Yes, but then he un-said it last May, according to an update to Dan Vergano's Oct 2010 story (link).
("[Update: GMU spokesman Dan Walsch clarified in the May 26, 2011, Nature journal that the year-old investigation is still in its preliminary "inquiry" stage, rather than a full investigation. "In terms of my comments this past fall, my understanding of the internal procedure was not as clear then as it is now," Walsch says, by email. ")

It's funny how those fabulous auditors of the science (tm)(pat pending) seem not to have spotted all this copying from Wikipedia, isn't it?