Yet more Wegman plagiarism

Said and Wegman 2009 does contain original and accurate material. Alas, the original material is not accurate and the accurate material is plagiarised, mostly from Wikipedia. Deep Climate has the details:

This paper is the fifth major work that I have analyzed from Wegman and Said. From the 2006 Wegman report to Congress, up to this year's "Colour Theory and Design", so much of Wegman and Said's recent work demonstrates extreme reliance on unattributed antecedents, as well as numerous errors and incompetent analysis.

Wegman did not reply to USA Today's Dan Vergano request for a comment.

Andrew Gelman piles on:

It's almost as if English is not Wegman's first language, or as if he doesn't know what he's talking about and trying very very carefully not to make any mistakes. Or as if he didn't write it at all . . . but that can't be! His name is on the article (he's the second author, behind the less-celebrated Yasmin Said), so I can only assume he has fully read the article and takes responsibility for its content.

John Mashey:

a) My modest formal O.R. background was long ago, and the article was obviously a weird mishmash on first read, even it me.

b) I showed it to someone whose PhD was in optimization decades ago, whose first reaction was "some poor rehash of Hillier&Lieberman?"

c) I sent it to a real O.R. expert at a leading university, who found so many problems in the first few pages that he stopped there.

More like this

Not only was the Wegman report plagiarised, three of Wegman's PhD students committed plagiarism in their theses. Deep Climate has the report.
John Mashey analyses emails from Wegman and Azen and yes, Wegman's defence against plagiarism charges is to say that he and his students plagiarized from Denise Reeves. Multiple times. Andrew Gelman says it best: The major conclusions [of the plagiarised paper] are that there are different styles…
Dan Vergano reports that Social networks of author-coauthor relationships by Said, Wegman, Sharabati and Rigsby has been retracted by Computational Statistics and Data Analysis. Deep Climate has more details, but I want to highlight one particular thing: "Neither Dr. Wegman nor Dr. Said has ever…
Retraction Watch have an article up about the Wegman plagiarism stuff (also covered by Eli). GMU aren't making the full report public, though, doubtless to protect the guilty (which I think largely means the shoddiness of the report). There is an oddity in what they have released: As sanction,…

oriiginal? replay?

You drunk, Tim? ;-)

"extreme reliance on unattributed antecedents, as well as numerous errors and incompetent analysis."

They sure went to great length to avoid using the B word!

LOL

Sigh.

Seems like those bastions of scientific rigour and probity, "The Auditors" have no problem when it comes to Wegman's laxity and venality.

Isn't it odd how threads about denialist scientists being caught out faking science gets very little attention from denialists.

It looks like they can't even be bothered to defend themselves...

Dan Vergano wrote

Dan Walsch, did answer by email about the university's policy on students plagiarizing from Wikipedia in their schoolwork

Uh, no, he didn't:

Mason does not have a university wide policy regarding the use of Wikipedia by students. While it is a general-use resource, generally, it is something we leave to the individual professors to teach students the difference between it and a more traditional, scientific reference source.

That has nothing to do with plagiarism.

> a university wide policy regarding the use of Wikipedia

They probably don't have a university wide policy regarding using little people's work without payment or attribution to benefit the rich -- unless they're on the record as being in favor of it.

Oh, wait ...

"George Mason University is a Virginia-based public university near Washington, D.C. A "magnet for right-wing money" [1] and heavily Koch-funded[1], it is notable for hosting over 40 libertarian research centers and affiliates including the Institute for Humane Studies and the Mercatus Center."
-- Sourcewatch

________________________________________
"Hey, there's no law against it -- yet!"

Walsch was asked about something and he gave an answer, just not to the question asked :-)

This skill is well known in some quarters.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 07 Oct 2011 #permalink

Grilling a spokesman is misplaced - all you'll get is spokesmanlike answers. Spokespeople are like manzanita bark, easily shed w/o damage to the underlying structure.

Better to ask the folk(s) in charge directly.
(though I myself have not done so)

@7 @8

I understand that. I was more concerned with Dan Verdano's erroneous claim. He should have pointed out that the response had nothing to do with the question asked, rather than saying that it was about it.

People may not understand the editorial processes at USA Today or Science, or savvy journalists like Dan VERGANO or Eli Kintisch, respectively.

Here are some of Dan's articles. I leave it as an exercise for the readers to explain the usage of various quotes.

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2010/10/wegman…

http://www.usatoday.com/weather/climate/globalwarming/2010-11-21-climat…

http://www.usatoday.com/weather/climate/globalwarming/2010-11-22-plagia…

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2010/11/wegman…

http://www.usatoday.com/weather/climate/globalwarming/2011-05-15-climat…

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2011/05/retrac…

That has the wondrous:
""Neither Dr. Wegman nor Dr. Said has ever engaged in plagiarism," says their attorney, Milton Johns, by e-mail. In a March 16 e-mail to the journal, Wegman blamed a student who "had basically copied and pasted" from others' work into the 2006 congressional report, and said the text was lifted without acknowledgment and used in the journal study. "We would never knowingly publish plagiarized material" wrote Wegman, a former CSDA journal editor."

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2011/10/more-w…

Then there's Eli in Science:
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/332/6035/1250.summary
Paywalled, so a few examples are:

"Will Happer, a physicist at Princeton University who questions the consensus view on climate, thinks Mashey is a destructive force who uses âtotalitarian tacticsââpublishing damaging documents online, without peer reviewâto carry out personal vendettas. Whereas Mann lauds Mashey for âexploring the underbelly of climate denial,â Happer says Masheyâs tactics are âcontrary to open inquiry.â

"Wegman and his lawyer declined several requests for comment from Science, but the latter told USA Today that neither Wegman nor the first author of the CSDA paper, an assistant professor at George Mason, âhas ever engaged in plagiarism.â

Some people were upset at the quotes in some of these articles. I was delighted. I leave it as an exercise why.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 07 Oct 2011 #permalink

People may not understand

Go sit on it.

I leave it as an exercise for the readers to explain the usage of various quotes.

I'm not talking about a quote, I'm talking about Verdano's own assertion, in his own voice. Just because he's savvy doesn't mean that he never screws up.

And to be concrete, what Verdano should have written, to be "savvy", is

However spokesman Dan Walsch, did answer respond by email to an inquiry about the university's policy on students plagiarizing from Wikipedia in their schoolwork:

With the changes it's factual; without them it's not. Now go blow about what "[p]eople may not understand".

ianam, the English language is a bit imprecise in that way... reasonable people will read Vergano's version as meaning yours. What really happened is very very obvious from the quote itself, as reasonable people will also see.

Letting a quote speak for itself in deadpan fashion is a journalistic technique too... and then, John's #10 remarks become pertinent ;-)

By Martin Vermeer (not verified) on 08 Oct 2011 #permalink

May I ask, why the extended foray into the iniquities of Wegman and Said? Isn't the point fulsomely made already? Does Wegman's reputation not yet lie in ruins, or otherwise what's the point of scouring more material for more fraud? Just that it begins to look more like a vendetta than rational enquiry.

In short, what is the objective now, John Mashey?

See William Tecumseh Sherman...

By Rattus Norvegicus (not verified) on 09 Oct 2011 #permalink

Barry.

Michael Mann suffered numerous reviews of alleged fraudulence in his work - reviews heavily based on Wegman's fairystories in addition to many other, unevidenced denialist claims - and Mann was completely exonerated every time.

Wegman's group was (and still is) hailed by denialists as a major discrediting of Mann. Given the scrutiny forced upon Mann, there is no reason not to apply the same scrutiny to Wegman et al, especially considering that their 'refutations' of Mann, as well as most of their other work, is being obviously demonstrated by Mashey and DC as nothing more than a flim-flam confection of the amalgamated work of others.

That GMU is moving to address the scandal at a glacial pace, when the unnecessary investigations of Mann were completed in reasonable time, only adds further to the justification for forensic deconstruction of Wegman et al

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 09 Oct 2011 #permalink

Bernard J,

Mashey's forensic analysis has moved beyond the Wegman (et al) reports and papers dealing with Michael Mann to other work from Wegman (et al) that has nothing to do with climate change or Michael Mann.

The focus has shifted from exonerating Michael Mann by exposing the academic bankruptcy of specific criticism of his work, to discrediting Wegman in general in order to prompt quicker action by GMU against him.

It seems to me that an academic flensing of specific material has evolved into a partisan agenda born of impatience.

@barry : if Mr Wegman had done his work properly, he wouldn't have offered such a perfect target to Mr Mashey.
Either he plagiarized, or he didn't. Willing to hide that under the carpet "because it has nothing to do with climate change" is quite strange, to say the least.

Another point : apparently Mr Mashey is doing the reviewer's job. Maybe you should consider why Mr Wegman's articles get through so easily ...

Barry: You are correct that this is about more than Michael Mann. You are not correct to claim that this is "a partisan agenda born of impatience."

GMU received a formal complaint about plagiarism by Wegman's group in March 2010. We know this because the complainant went public several months later. There has been plenty of time (about 19 months) for GMU to complete a full formal investigation of the complaint (as several committees on both sides of the pond have done re: Mann and Hadley/CRU). Instead, AFAIK, GMU has not even completed a preliminary investigation. A reasonable observer might interpret this as stonewalling. I won't speak for Mashey about what motivates him, but his continued investigation of plagiarism in Wegman's group is a rational response to that stonewalling. That Wegman and his colleagues have been shown to exhibit a pattern of plagiarism is something that should, if GMU were at all concerned about its academic reputation, push the university into actually completing its investigation.

There is also a parallel with the Virginia AG's still-active investigation of Mann for fraud, allegations which were based largely on the work of Wegman et al. GMU, like UVA, is a public university nominally supported by Virginia taxpayers.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 10 Oct 2011 #permalink

Barry.

I'm sure that if Mann had cheated on his tax return, there'd be chapters on it bouncing around the Denialati traps, being paraded as Exhibit 2 in a line of 'proof' attempting to discredit him.

The simple fact is that any and all of Wegman's academic misbehaviour is salient to the rebuttal of his claimed bona fides to discredit Mann. If Wegman's anti-Mann house is built of spit and toilet paper, that needs to be pointed out, and if the general academic foundations are just as tenuous - well, that's fair game too.

Barry, you're not sweating simply because Wegman is looking like a complete, um, fraud, are you?

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 10 Oct 2011 #permalink

re: 17
As Eli knows well, *real* closure is well beyond GMU, more like SACSCOC, ARL, NSWR, ORI, and finally DoJ.

[DoJ: There is even more evidence for the 18USC1001, 18USC371, 18USC4 issue than there was in 2010 when I wrote CCC. See p.1, 184.
Of course, others have been added since, such as potential obstruction of justice, certainly by Wegman+Said (disappearing files, editing out of mention Said's 2007 talk from seminar record), disappearance of files from Sharabati's website, etc.]

re: 19
Actually, this long ago got beyond any issue around Mann, who didn't need any help on this anyway.

Unlike Climategate, which was much ado about nothing, do people recall how the original -gate worked?

See Watergate

The parallels are:
1) A minor incident, i.e., a burglary.
2) Several years of very hard work chasing threads, and finding one unexpected connection after another, and many more people involved than the burglars. Two years ago, GMU wasn't even on my radar screen.
3)As is often the case, coverup causes more trouble than the original problem.

Of course, in terms of coverup, this has to rate as one of the dumbest attempts at coverup, ever, given the prima facie evidence of obvious plagiarism:

'"Neither Dr. Wegman nor Dr. Said has ever engaged in plagiarism," says their attorney, Milton Johns, by e-mail. In a March 16 e-mail to the journal, Wegman blamed a student who "had basically copied and pasted" from others' work into the 2006 congressional report, and said the text was lifted without acknowledgment and used in the journal study. "We would never knowingly publish plagiarized material" wrote Wegman, a former CSDA journal editor.'

By John Mashey (not verified) on 10 Oct 2011 #permalink

Further to barry's posts 16,20

"it begins to look more like a vendetta than rational enquiry"

A couple of things,

1. What is the point in this relentless pursuit of an academic that, if truth be told, nobody really gives a damn about? It's comming across as the personal obsession of an individual teetering on the edge of lunacy.

2. One cannot in one breath, deplore this sort of character/professional assination when targeted at Michael Mann, then in the next, triumphantly pursue another academic in the same manner. It's hypocrisy to say the least!

> What is the point in this relentless pursuit of an academic

You're talking about the witchunts of Michael Mann, are you?

> One cannot in one breath, deplore this sort of character/professional assination when targeted at Michael Mann, then in the next, triumphantly pursue another academic in the same manner

Well, you can.

If, for example, Michael Mann has been investigated and found innocent, and Wegman hasn't been investigated at all, then there's a big huge difference between the two.

But you've never deplored the witch-hunt against Mann. Why are you so concerned about it only when Wegman has been found out?

re: 24 more
As for some of the yet-to-be-resolved issues, see this at DC.
Wegman&Said have been spending Federal tax money in multiple ways.

People might also look up Roger Clemens and they might talk to Washington-savvy lawyers, as I do, about 18USC1001.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 10 Oct 2011 #permalink

GSW said: "What is the point in this relentless pursuit of an academic that, if truth be told, nobody really gives a damn about"?

Ah yes, the old 'Huh? What's a Wegman Report'? ploy.

See history being airbrushed before your very eyes!

Stand by for another outbreak of 'teh Team' pyrotechnic splenetics from McI. and his pooch Montford!

@#14

Regardless, I made a valid point in #5, and got a pathetically patronizing response that misread me.

One cannot in one breath, deplore this sort of character/professional assination when targeted at Michael Mann, then in the next, triumphantly pursue another academic in the same manner.

Yeah, like one cannot deplore Hitler's invasion of Poland and at the same time wage war against Germany. (If only Godwin's Law worked the way the mythology around it says.)

It's hypocrisy to say the least!

An apt description of your and the entire "skeptical" community's output.

Here's another:

One cannot in one breath, deplore Joseph McCarthy's character assassination of Americans with a different political opinion, and then in the next, triumphantly pursue terrorists who bomb buildings ...

... because treating guilt and innocence differently is hypocrisy!

@ianam

What you are saying is, if you believe an academic has behaved inappropriately in the preparation of his published work, then you are perfectly justified in hounding, harassing or otherwise destroying the professional reputation of that individual.

Cuccinelli and ATI, I am sure, feel equally justified in their pursuit of Michael Mann. You either recognize that this type of back street brawling is inappropriate or you do not, but you can't have it both ways.

Like I say, to fail to acknowledge this is Hypocrisy!

GSW said: "Like I say, to fail to acknowledge this is Hypocrisy"!

Uh huh. Care to provide links to all your protestations in favour of Mike Mann similar to your Wegman defence here?

Thought not. There's that 'h' word again.

@chek

Can you provide any references I have made in support of "Wegman"? The only reference to him specifically that I can find is

"if truth be told, nobody really gives a damn about [him]?"

My criticism here has been the 'fair game' treatment of academics venturing forth into the 'political' arena, nothing more.

Try re-reading your comment@ #25 in context GSW, not the pared down revisiting of it you quote in #34.

Which Canadian and English (though living in Scotland) cranks might your sentence: "It's comming (sic) across as the personal obsession of an individual teetering on the edge of lunacy". apply to? Then show where you've defended using the same criteria you felt was appropriate to voice your support for poor old persecuted, hard-done-by Wegman.

@chek

"It's comming (sic) across as the personal obsession of an individual teetering on the edge of lunacy apply to?"

It applies to John Mashey, thank you for asking for the clarification.

"Then show where you've defended using the same criteria you felt was appropriate to voice your support for poor old persecuted, hard-done-by Wegman."

I've no idea what that means chek, but then what you say seldom does.

;)

Re. my comment @ #35.
'Cranks' is entirely the wrong word.

'Operatives' is far more accurate.

No GSW, John Mashey does not match the criteria.

Whereas in one of the instances I alluded to above, an English accountant living in Scotland reduced to quoting a [dog astrology 'journal'](http://www.scientificexploration.org/journal/) in pursuit of his misdirected mania most certainly does. That really shows - as you so succinctly put it - "an individual teetering on the edge of lunacy". Precisely.

Perhaps now you've arrived at that realisation, you'll now go do the right thing, hypocrisy being the anathema to you that you claim. Or at least once you've stopped [fondling your trolls](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/09/jonas_thread.php#comment-5480436).

@chek

Sorry chek, still haven't got a clue about what you are on about.

Chewbacca defense?

;)

Well, as one of Montford's boys, nobody expects you to be too bright GSW.

So your 'defence' of Wegman and Montford amounts to a bit of insubstantial whining and 'look over there - cartoons'!

Duly noted, GSW.

> I think this summarizes your argument quite well chek. It only makes sense if you are 'special' like you.

> lol!

touché. you big smelly poopoohead.

Not sure of what point you're making GSW.

It's pretty standard to identify and pursue fraudulent behaviour in science and scientific publishing (have a look at the web site "RetractionWatch" for example; consider also the Office of Research Integrity in the US...and so on...).

Wegman and Said have engaged in objectively fradulent behaviour (one of their papers has already been retracted). Wegman has participated in fraudulent misrepresentation of science in a major government hearing.

These frauds should certainly be highlighted until they are properly investigated and the wrongs "righted". Note that there is no doubt about the nature of the frauds; given that there seems to be little enthusiasm on the part of those that have the responsibility to address these frauds (other than the Editor and Publisher of one journal so far)
it's certainly appropriate to keep applying the pressure of objective disclosure.

I'm sure you don't need to be reminded of the contrast with the bullying of Dr. Mann! In that case a group of misguided individuals (Dr. Wegman is one of these sadly) have found enormous enthusiasm to engage in pretty shabby attempts to discredit a scientist and his science. Numerous seperate enquiries have found no cause to question the integrity of Dr. Mann's work, which has been largely vindicated by a decades-worth of subsequent research.

I guess you'd agree that the moral and ethical issue are pretty clear. It's pretty important to get stuff as right as possible in science, and scientists and those that interact with scientists should act in good faith. That's normally the case. In the case of Drs. Wegman (and Said), and those involved in the so-called Wegman enquiry, something has gone very wrong. Don't see any reason not to make these issues crystal-clear....As a scientist I applaud the clarity of John Mashey's presentation of the evidence that informs us on these issues. Of course I can understand why some people may not like it...but facts is facts! ;-)

re: 45 Chris
Thanks for the kind words.

As for some people not liking it ...

a) it was most fascinating to watch
the fanciful claims of non-plagiarism,
or Judith Curry's multiple claims of "reprehensible" behavior by Deep Climate
or that it didn't count
or the nonsensical claims that Bradley copied Fritts
or Wegman's attempt to somehow blame it all on grad student Denise Reeves.
or Wegman and Milton Johns' claims of no plagiarism, ever.

b) Said&Wegman(2009) and Wegman&Said(2011) have no grad students to blame.

c) But by now, many people seem to be into "look! a squirrel!" mode whenever each new thing comes out.

One nit:
"little enthusiasm on the part of those that have the responsibility to address these frauds (other than the Editor and Publisher of one journal so far)"

Elsevier (the publisher of CS&DA) acted well.
As for the Editor, the issue of possible, serious breach of peer review is as yet unresolved. See Strange tales and Emails to assess the enthusiasm level.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 10 Oct 2011 #permalink

What you are saying is ...

No, what I am saying, GSW, is that you are a dishonest sack of shit.

"who cares ?" (GSW) Let me see :
- Rep. Joe Barton, bringing up the report written by Wegman, which appears to be seriously flawed (and not only for plagiarism)
- the Congress, in front of which mr Wegman took oath and still produced less than stellar science
- the plagiarized scientists, who are not correctly rewarded for their work (and citation is the essence of recognition in this job)
- possible partners of GMU, who discover that this institution allows his scientists to freely plunder other scientists without any sanction, and thus are less than enthusiastic to share work with this university
- people reading Wegman's work for their research, who discover that this work is not correct and yet passed through "peer" review. They lost time, and they are now aware that some people apparently have facilities to publish muddy articles without much effort.

It seems it makes a quite large population, to my standards.

And pulease, GSW, trying to look smart by using meme is too mainstream. Go lurk moar.

"Then show where you've defended using the same criteria you felt was appropriate to voice your support for poor old persecuted, hard-done-by Wegman."

I've no idea what that means chek

... and stupid ...

but then what you say seldom does.

... and incoherent.

You either recognize that this type of back street brawling is inappropriate or you do not, but you can't have it both ways.

And I don't, asshole ... I do not recognize what you mischaracterize as "back street brawling" to be inappropriate. Rather, I recognize the totally dishonest attacks on Mann to be inappropriate and the totally honest criticisms of Wegman and Said to be appropriate. And every honest person does the same.

While ianam's politics might resemble mine I prefer clarity to spite viz. 'And I don't, asshole ...'

By Andrew Strang (not verified) on 11 Oct 2011 #permalink

I think it is well and good that Wegman et al's appallingly shoddy work (The Wegman Report, Said et al) that sought to discredit Michael Mann's papers on millennial reconstructions has been exposed. It is a shame that GMU has been slow to deal with clear examples of academic misconduct by Wegman (et al).

Had GMU responded quickly, Deep Climate and Mashey would not have turned their attention to Wegman's output beyond that connected to Michael Mann.

Is is specious to pitch this ongoing take-down of Wegman as the championing of academic virtue. Or can someone advise me if Mashey and DC are going to look at anyone else's work, or extend their expedition beyond climate science critics?

This is not about championing the cause of academic integrity, or redeeming GMU by holding it to account, or pursuing justice on any level.

This has become about taking down Wegman and co because 'denialists' still refer to his work, and because GMU has not done the right thing in a timely manner (compared to MM!). It is now a partisan drive in the climate debate to demolish a hero of the skeptics, instead of coolly rebutting that material that specifically relates to the topic of interest - in short, playing the man instead of the ball.

Most woeful of all is to read comments justifying the expanded scope of this 'investigation' on the scurrilousness of Mann's detractors, as if their vileness should be a barometer for other behaviour. Mann was cruelled, so now its Wegman's turn. Really?

I think there is hardly a 'skeptic' out there who doesn't sully the term by identifying with it, that most of what passes for criticism of the mainstream understanding of climate change is poorly-disguised, bone-headed politicking, and that very few of these critics remotely understand the scientific method or even how to think rationally. But there are times when people who argue for, or defend, the mainstream view go beyond the pale. Bernard J believes that I am squirming because of the heat on Wegman. This kind of tribalism is odious. We should be very careful about playing a game of sides. That is what Wegman-gate has evolved into.

I don't fully agree with you barry, 'though we could perhaps agree to differ.

I think there are two issues:

ONE: Fraudulent behaviour in science, however small a part of the total scientific endeavour, is widely prosecuted by scientists. This is apparent from a number of cases of identification and pursuing of fraud in published work. It's very important to do this since fradulent behaviour has very significant real world consequences. In many cases (have a look at the website "Retraction watch" for example), dealing responsibly with fraud has only followed very persistent efforts in the face of some general recalcitrance on the part of scientific journals and organizations. I see nothing wrong with continuing to highlight bad faith on the part of a particular small group of scientists. Without highlighting this stuff it would effectively be allowed to "disappear" and the negative consequences likely to multiply. A large part of this is about "academic integrity" and the consequences of abusing this.

TWO: There's no question that this particular case is highly politicized. In fact from the point of view of science, Wegman and Said's problematic stuff is way out there on the fringes where science drifts into "unnecessary non-contributory CV puffing papers". However I don't agree that the highlighting of Wegman's and Said's wrongdoings amounts to "playing the man" and not "the ball". If these issues had been properly resolved then piling-on would indeed by inappropriate. However they haven't been, and John Mashey et al are playing the "ball" (the "ball" being the unresolved wrong-doings).

It would be entirely appropriate if (a) GMU would deal with the clearcut plagiarism issues properly and (b) there was some public statement that the Wegman enquiry and its findings were severely scientifically flawed. Those are facts and I don't see why they shouldn't be made clearly articulated and publicised. Otherwise one is left with an apparent reality that it's perfectly O.K. to engage in extreme bad faith involving attempted persecution of scientists and misrepresentation to government, so long as (a) these actions fit in with a particular sociopolitical agenda and (b) any criticisms can be ignored to the point that they (the criticisms of fraud and bullying) go away.

So in my opinion it's proper that these criticisms don't "go away", until they're properly addressed.

I do agree with some of your comments about other posters responses - it really helps to take a level-headed view of these issues and not get drawn into counter-productive factionalising.

> Is is specious to pitch this ongoing take-down of Wegman as the championing of academic virtue

Why? Because you say so? This

> Or can someone advise me if Mashey and DC are going to look at anyone else's work, or extend their expedition beyond climate science critics?

Is certainly not it. The "Himalayagate" was found by the scientists themselves. The errors in MBH98 were inconsequential but were corrected in later works anyway.

But Wegman isn't correcting his mistakes. He's multiplying them. And none of your "Auditor" mates are doing anything on the subject.

So therefore people like John have to continue to do what Wegman, McIntyre and Montford REFUSE to do, until they start going and doing it themselves.

> ...instead of coolly rebutting that material that specifically relates to the topic of interest...

It's a little odd for someone to claim Mashey's investigations are **instead** of the veritable **shitload** of cool rebuttals that have been provided over the last decade or two.

And odder still to (perhaps) imply that those deep and extensive rebuttals will have any effect on "skeptics" - who, for example, still cite *both* Wegman and his Report as authoritative.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 11 Oct 2011 #permalink

Barry, DC and John found that the Wegman report was riddles with plagiarism, questionable statistic and weird social science. As honest brokers they readily and quickly accepted Rice's investigation and clearing of Scott, but this pattern intensified their interest in Wegman, Said and their students other work, which they discovered was an anthill of busy copy and paste, as well as weird social science.

Of course, what they should have done is investigate Mike Mann. Please place your red herrings in the umbrella stand on your way out.

re: 55 Eli

"As honest brokers" eek! I must decline that particular label, given the connotations in recent years.

But again:
1) I've written a few things, listed here or more complete here.
Wegman is just one part of the machinery.

2) As noted before SSWR by page count is ~25% on plagiarism, much more is about the errors, biases, distortions, bad science, bad statistics, repetitions of wrong memes that emerge when one looks very carefully at the Wegman Report. Some of that only became obvious when subtracting out the cyan+yellow plagiarism, which showed the changes. SFWR took that further into Falsification/Fabrication. (But I sure wish MS Word had a better choice of colors!)

3) There are still many loose ends related to all this: see SSWR pp.33-35. Of these:

PAGE 34:

1,2: Rapp is no longer employed by USC, despite Kunc keeping him on website.
Springer still hasn't acted on the book, to my knowledge.

14: [SHA2008] has been retracted.

16: Purdue: Sharabati

20: Outside SNA experts to review [SHA2008]: been done: Robins, Carley and a third expert panned it. See STaE, p.7, item 2.

PAGE 35:

18: Said Professor @ Oklahoma State: that got fixed September 2011, Wiley having been told about it by April.
Of course, when SSWR was written, none of us at looked very hard at WIREs:CS (there was only so much time).

Of course, at the time, it was still thought the GMU might act responsibly, although doubts were certainly swirling about. For those in software, consider pp.34-35 as a bug list or TODO list to be worked through over time.

NEW TOPIC, RELATED:
Finally, especially for those with computer networking expertise, take a look at Rezazad(2011), currently free.
Don't worry particularly about plagiarism, I'm more interested in:

a) Technical opinions on the techniques.

b) How this works as a *review* article.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 11 Oct 2011 #permalink

(long post may have gone to spam), but:
please, not an "honest broker," a phrase that has gotten top be akin to "sound science." :-)

By John Mashey (not verified) on 11 Oct 2011 #permalink

I prefer clarity

My comments are quite clear.

to spite

That far better describes your own useless comment that notably ignored/snipped all of the substance of my own.

This has become about taking down Wegman and co because 'denialists' still refer to his work

It is perfectly reasonable for defenders of science to demonstrate the lack of credibility of those whose work the enemies of science hold up as their "proof" that scientists are a biased clique of hoaxers. Your comment about playing the man vs. the ball not only indicates that you don't even know what game is being played, but it is utterly hypocritical, as you are not making any attempt to rebut the work of DC and Mashey but are rather only attacking their motivation.

[Was that clear enough, Strang?]

It's a little odd

That's a very polite and generous description of such intellectual dishonesty.

Barry's position appears to be that, when it was discovered that Wegman and Said had engaged in a whole pattern of plagiarism, everyone should have remained silent about it because it's not directly about climate science; that to not stick strictly to the latter displays "tribalism". What a tortured, ludicrous argument.

it really helps to take a level-headed view of these issues and not get drawn into counter-productive factionalising

You mean like what barry just did?

Me: "It is specious to pitch this ongoing take-down of Wegman as the championing of academic virtue"

Wow: "Why? Because you say so?"

No, some have justified DC and Mashey's sleuthing beyond the material connected to Mann et al as a general good in the name of academic integrity, and distinct from the original intent. While the sentiment is fine, it is a post-hoc rationalisation and quite disingenuous. Wegman et al are not the recipients of DC and Mashey's attention because of some drive to clean up academia. They are targets because of their criticism of Mann.

When the focus shifted to material unrelated to Mann et al, the game changed. What was a scholarly rebuttal (deconstruction, rather) of the criticism of millennial temperature reconstructions and social network analysis of Mann and colleagues, has become a campaign to generally discredit Wegman et al, because the original, straightforward attempt had been frustrated by GMU 'stonewalling'.

I've just then described the situation in the way commenters here have justified it. Why do people not see this evolution as being more political than scholarly? In fact, I think most people here do - certainly the implication is very clear in many posts above - but can't quite bring themselves to say so outright. ianam comes closest;

"Your comment about playing the man vs. the ball not only indicates that you don't even know what game is being played..."

(ianam, I am sure that Mashey's and DC's work is solid. I used to read it fairly attentively up until they shifted focus)

I should not have said, "disingenuous" above. That was wrong. Something more like "misguided". I don't doubt that intentions are good here, including DC and Mashey's. I just think the campaign has taken a wrong turn, even though there's plenty of ripe pickings on this avenue.

barry,

not sure what your attempted link within the word "justified" refers to since it's a non-functioning link. However it might be a reference to "ONE" in my post above (it seems like it could be!). The issue is about "academic integrity"; at least it's about "integrity". To highlight this is not to attempt post-hoc rationalisation.

In my opinion, one of the reasons that pseudoskepticism and denialism have gained such traction is that reasonable people have rather assumed that other people will act reasonably. In the face of rather incontrovertible evidence that Wegman (and Said) have engaged in serial plagiarism and misrepresented the science in presentations to a government committee (Wegman), reasonable people might assume that these matters would be quickly addressed and resolved. They haven't. In fact some individuals clearly consider that "academic integrity" (or at least "integrity"!) is a boring trifle when oh-so-important political agendas are to be pursued, and thus fraudulent and immoral behaviour involving bullying scientists, plagiarising, false representation and so on, are considered entirely acceptable.

In this case the academic and the political are linked together to the extent of being inseperable. A requisite for the attempted institutional trashing of Mann was the recruitment of someone deficient in "academic integrity" (or "integrity" if you prefer); someone with the character that is comfortable acting as a false "expert". We can recognise such a character in the "academic" dealings of Wegman. In highlighting the deficient "academic integrity" of Wegman, the deficiency of integrity that drives much of the agenda-led anti-science movement is highlighted.

So I don't think one can justify creating "bounds" within which particular critiques must be confined. This is about the attempted bullying of Dr. Mann by misrepresentation. But it's also about the generalised misrepresentation of science on climate in pursuit of an agenda (not to mention other species of science misrepresentation). The underlying theme is a deficiency of "integrity". Since these are issues of science the particular species of "integrity" is "academic integrity". Look more closely and you're likely to find that the very few scientists that engage in misrepresentation in pursuit of their tedious political agendas are likely also to be demonstrating deficiencies in "academic integrity" on a smaller scale (e.g. crappy plagiarised papers in low ranking journals). There are several other examples we could name.

How does this read with a few little edits, I wonder?

#52:

Is is specious to pitch this ongoing take-down of [Jones/Mann/etc] as the championing of academic virtue. Or can someone advise me if [WUWT/Climate Audit/etc] are going to look at anyone else's work, or extend their expedition beyond climate [scientists]?

This is not about championing the cause of academic integrity, or redeeming [CRU/Virginia/etc] by holding it to account, or pursuing justice on any level.

This has become about taking down [Jones/Mann/etc] because [scientists] still refer to his work, and because [CRU/etc] has not done the right thing in a timely manner (compared to [GMU]!). It is now a partisan drive in the climate debate to demolish a hero of the [realists], instead of coolly rebutting that material that specifically relates to the topic of interest - in short, playing the man instead of the ball.

Most woeful of all is to read comments justifying the expanded scope of this 'investigation' on the scurrilousness of [Wegman]'s detractors, as if their vileness should be a barometer for other behaviour. [Wegman] was cruelled, so now its [Mann]'s turn. Really?

[snip]

This kind of tribalism is odious. We should be very careful about playing a game of sides. That is what [Climate]-gate has evolved into.

(end quotes)

(shrugs)

By Zibethicus (not verified) on 11 Oct 2011 #permalink

re 58,
Clearly 'clarity' was wrong - substitute 'quality' or 'civility'

By Andrew Strang (not verified) on 11 Oct 2011 #permalink

Why do people not see this evolution as being more political than scholarly?

Who said they don't? You're blathering against a strawman. Integrity is in fact a "political" issue, and this is a political blog, and the work being done by DC and Mashey is political ... as well it should be. That doesn't make it "tribalism".

Clearly 'clarity' was wrong - substitute 'quality' or 'civility'

Clarity and quality are matters of substance and mine are fine. You wrote

I prefer clarity to spite

As I noted, my comment was clear while yours was spiteful. As long as we are talking about our personal preferences, mine is accuracy over intellectual dishonesty.

In my opinion, one of the reasons that pseudoskepticism and denialism have gained such traction is that reasonable people have rather assumed that other people will act reasonably.

QFT. As I noted, people like barry seem not to even know what game is being played. Does he mistake Deltoid for a refereed science journal? What then, does he think of the post about Andrew Bolt being found guilty of offense to light skinned aborigines?

As I said in another thread,

... this is what you "rational" folks with autistic tendencies need to understand. Without lying they would have no case at all, GW denial would vanish, even the most gullible citizens would be well informed and would accept the findings of science ... but you folks soldier on here, trying to get these trolls to admit the truth ... but they have no respect for it and would be demolished if they were to do so, so it's completely against their perceived/short-term interests.
The "rational" community needs to get past the idea that "the truth will out" -- it won't, not without a whole lot of help in the social arena.

Academic integrity and climate change are, quite obviously, different subjects, so no amount of exposition of the facts of climate change will, by itself, have any impact on academic integrity. Academic integrity is about human behavior and its effect on the scientific enterprise. If we want the findings of science to determine real world policy, we have to be "political".

I should not have said, "disingenuous" above. That was wrong.

Indeed you should not have and indeed it was. OTOH,

Something more like "misguided".

That is your judgment, but there is every reason to think it applies more to yourself.

I just think the campaign has taken a wrong turn

Your opinion lacks a supporting argument; all you have offered is a string of escalating judgmental characterizations, like "tribalism", not any evidence of harm.

You asked in #16

May I ask, why the extended foray into the iniquities of Wegman and Said?

And you have received answers. Much of what you wrote there in #16 and subsequently has been, as you charged of Bernard J, "beyond the pale". And your statement about him was

Bernard J believes that I am squirming because of the heat on Wegman

But he didn't say that; in #23 he asked you ... because y'know, it wasn't possible to tell that you weren't a member of the denialati trying to defend Wegman, when you certainly sounded like it (in fact your #16 sounds just like the stuff we get from GSW). And in #23 , Bernard J answered your question of #16, in a way that has been repeated since by others. But you have an idee fixe, it seems.

in fact your #16 sounds just like the stuff we get from GSW

And sure enough, GSW took barry's lead in #25.

Like the denialati (it's an analogy, not an equation), barry's charges and complaints have been repeatedly been answered, but he acts as if they had not been.

Hi ianam, the gist of my comment was directed at vulgar language not the integrity of your thinking or your heart. No spite intended to you.

By Andrew Strang (not verified) on 11 Oct 2011 #permalink

While the sentiment is fine, it is a post-hoc rationalisation and quite disingenuous.

You now say that "disingenuous" should be replaced with "misguided", but the latter doesn't make sense either in that context.

Wegman et al are not the recipients of DC and Mashey's attention because of some drive to clean up academia. They are targets because of their criticism of Mann.

They became targets because of that, but they remain targets for all the reasons that Mashey has noted in #24, #27, #46, and #57. What possible reason is there for him to stop looking into this? The reasons that you have offered ... that it's no longer climate science, that the point has been fulsomely made already, that Wegman's reputation lies in ruins, that it looks more like a vendetta than rational enquiry ... all strike me as "post-hoc rationalisation", at best; none is a valid reason to oppose finding things out.

@Strang

That's a lovely reconstruction but it doesn't stand up to an honest analysis of your original statement.

As for vulgar language, fuck it.

Barry @63:

No, some have justified DC and Mashey's sleuthing beyond the material connected to Mann et al as a general good in the name of academic integrity, and distinct from the original intent. While the sentiment is fine, it is a post-hoc rationalisation and quite disingenuous. Wegman et al are not the recipients of DC and Mashey's attention because of some drive to clean up academia. They are targets because of their criticism of Mann.

It seems to me that this is all just a normal part of the process of peer review of sub-standard or fraudulent work in science. When someone is found to have acted dishonestly, it is normal to scrutinize all their other work and to throw out anything that is doubtful (e.g. journal retractions). The culprit typically fades from view, presumably becoming unemployable. So far, Wegman and crew have got off lightly.

By Richard Simons (not verified) on 11 Oct 2011 #permalink

chris,

I obviously broke the link. It was to your comment at 45.

Good, we're all (mostly) agreed that the extended critique of Wegman et al is political in nature (while scholarly in form).

Critics mix politics with science, and they have rightly and consistently been condemned for this. The defense of the mainstream understanding of climate change has almost unwaveringly been based on and defended as intellectual rigour. By taking up political tactics, the mainstreamers lose the moral high ground. They are now playing with the pigs in the trough. I think it's a losing strategy, not just for conceding the nature of the game to critics, not just for ratifying the mixing of politics (in the sense of public debate, not gov policy) with science, and not just for providing an example to future critics as to how they may proceed in the general debate, but because it will be ineffective - if I understand what the final objective is.

But before I try to make my case further, in case I misunderstand the point, can anyone state what they believe the ideal end-game is to this extended critiquing of Wegman et al? In the best of all possible worlds, what happens when GMU finally does the right thing? What's the outcome that is hoped for - the 'win', as it were?

Hi Richard,

"It seems to me that this is all just a normal part of the process of peer review of sub-standard or fraudulent work in science. When someone is found to have acted dishonestly, it is normal to scrutinize all their other work and to throw out anything that is doubtful..."

Really? Who 'normally' does this auditing? I don't know myself, being unfamiliar with normal procedure in this regard. Purely out of curiosity, can anyone confirm or otherwise?

However, the wider critique of Wegman's work does not stem purely from academic concern as you describe it. I think that your rendering gilds the narrative somewhat - Mashey might agree, if his comment at 58 is an indication.

barry:

But before I try to make my case further, in case I misunderstand the point, can anyone state what they believe the ideal end-game is to this extended critiquing of Wegman et al? In the best of all possible worlds, what happens when GMU finally does the right thing? What's the outcome that is hoped for - the 'win', as it were?

This IMO is an interesting question which opens up a few dimensions to the political debate that orbits the science.

Ideally, swift, incisive action by GMU would have negated the need for any Mashey/ DC demolition work, but in the absence of that the next best outcome is that GMU and other unis [waves to Murdoch Uni, WA] take it on notice that attempting to sweep malodorous offcuts like Wegman and Said's work under the university's corporate suite carpet won't work any more.

You point out the political aspect of all this, yet my reading of the output from John Mashey and DC is that they go to some effort to acknowledge the political aspects and ramifications of Wegman and Said's work - were it not that their work had been used to (if not designed for) political ends then W&S et al would have been a minor footnote written by members of an obscure faculty. To object to John Mashey and DC following their quarry as they have on the grounds they are mixing politics with science is to ignore the fact that - intentionally or not - this is what has already happened. And if GMU cannot or will not act on charges of plagiarism and dodgy sholarship when their own rules specifically proscribe it (for students that is - how much more so for its lecturers), then it's left to those who can and will.

Or would you rather none of this had been pursued and revealed, simply because of some perceived universal law that states science and politics cannot be mixed?

barry (again):

Critics mix politics with science, and they have rightly and consistently been condemned for this.

No, sorry, you can't IMO generalise so.

There are many cases where someone with a vested (whether proclaimed or not) interest mixes science and politics (or, more likely, misrepresents science in an attempt to make a political point), and in that case they're fair game.

To then extrapolate that specific point to a general principle is where I think you run the risk of being hoist by your own petard.

Barry said: "In the best of all possible worlds, what happens when GMU finally does the right thing? What's the outcome that is hoped for - the 'win', as it were"?

It seems to me that the Wegman case is an apt adjunct to the BAU corporate corruption of government. Just the sort of thing the current '99% protests' in the USA are interested in.

@SteveC

A reasonable response. I don't think it addresses barry's main point however.

"What's the outcome that is hoped for - the 'win', as it were?"

I think your post acknowledges at least some politics are involved in this pursuit of Wegman, but to what end?

I don't think it will assist Mann in his current difficulties. Even if all of Wegman's papers were retracted because of 'wikipedia' or other reference issues, other existing statistical criticisms still remain.

So barry's clarity here, what do you expect to achieve with this? It may be all you actually succeed in doing is legitimize the 'no holds barred' targeting of academics.

@SteveC

Sorry Steve my #80 post was directed at your #77 response. Your #78 post,

"(or, more likely, misrepresents science in an attempt to make a political point), and in that case they're fair game."

Does seem to endorse the 'no holds barred' viewpoint. I'm sure Mann, for one, would not agree with you entirely..

@ GSW (both posts) - it seems to me Mann and others (witness the recent attacks on CSIRO scientists, amongst others, receiving threats against their persons) are already subject to "no holds barred" treatment. Whether Mann would - in your hypothetical - agree with me or not is neither here nor there as most "debate" around climate science is politically driven. Ergo why should Mashey, DC, Tim Lambert or anyone else be held back from engaging in the debate purely on barry's supposition that politics and science should not mix? It's not as if you yourself don't do exactly that.

that's strange, i seem to remember Mann being investigated -- repeatedly! -- over much less serious and clear-cut charges of academic misconduct than this.

>Bernard J believes that I am squirming because of the heat on Wegman. This kind of tribalism is odious.

Barry, I am curious to know why you perceive my defence of Mashey as "tribalism". It's a puzzling claim given that my interest in the matter is far from political, and very much academically focussed.

Frankly, I don't read Mashey and DC because they contradict the denialists of climate warming; I read them because I am interested in academic misbehaviour. I myself have blown the whistle on a fabricator of data (against some notable institutional management resistance to address it, I might add...), and I've pinged a number of undergraduates for plagiarism, so Wegman's et al disgraceful behaviour is personal for me.

And because I understand exactly how slippery those guilty of serious academic impropiety can be, I know full-well that Mashey's and DC's foresic investigations are not witch-hunts. If GMU and responsible funding and publishing bodies won't grasp the nettles, then Mashey and DC are absolutely doing the very thing that needs to be done.

[You say](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/10/yet_more_wegman_plagiarism.php#…):

>Good, we're all (mostly) agreed that the extended critique of Wegman et al is political in nature (while scholarly in form).

I'm not sure how you arrive at the conclusion that most commenters here agree that Mashey and DC are being political in their documentation of Wegman's et al academic malfeasance. I'm not sure, actually, how you have decided that the politcial outweighs the academic in this matter - you've done nothing more than claims so, rather than to provide evidenced analysis...

Given that the fatuous, ear-licking nudger GSW has bumbled in to barrack for you, you are now in the position of appearing to be a concern troll. Perhaps you would consider providing a supported argument, with reference to precedent of what constitutes "adequate investigation, and no more", so that your case is actually supported.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 11 Oct 2011 #permalink

When I think about this (instead of jumping in) the notion that it's unacceptable to mix politics and science seems more and more something of a red herring. The focus of Said and Wegman and company (at least in the context that DC and John Mashey describe) is on a variety of analysis and networking techniques which, while they may fall under a general classification of being science-related, isn't actual climate science.

The second aspect is that even if their work was focussed on climate science, the issue being uncovered is one of slipshod research methods, inadequate attribution and obvious plagiarism, all of which are matters of no mean significance and standards for all of which should be applied across the board, irrespective of who the authors are.

In that sense then my view is that the political implications are merely a side-show and a distraction. The juicy bits at issue are whether any party who possesses any kind of authority to pronounce on a subject has acted properly and appropriately.

Yes O.K. brry, we'll have to agree to differ. I certainly don't think the efforts of John Mashey et al amount to "playing with the pigs in the trough". Persuing that analogy I would say that Mashey et al are the farmers attempting to get the pigs to behave! The key point is that Mashey et al's presentations are logical, properly researched and truthful. The "pigs" (as you describe them!) are making presentations that are dishonest, untruthful and lacking in integrity. They're simply not equatable.

But you asked about best outcomes. Two things would be ideal in my opinion. GMU prosecutes the plagiarism in the standard manner according to rather standard rules. There should be a clear recognition of unacceptable behaviour with an appropriate penalty. If the fradulent behaviour involved grant bodies, the penalty might be a barring from receiving federal funds for 3 or 5 or longer depending on severity. In this particular case a penality might be barring from supervising students for 3 or 5 years, since that seems to be the point at which lack of integrity has real world academic impacts (i.e. encouraging dodgy behaviour in one's students). Then you draw a line under it and everyone moves on.

The second ideal outcome would be a clear statement that the efforts and evidence of the Wegman committee were fundamentally flawed. Then you draw a line under it and everyone moves on. The first outcome (GMU plagiarism enquiry) should happen (it would be surprising if it didn't and a clear sign of a lack of integrity on the part of GMU). The second (some sort of statement about the flawed Wegman enquiry) almost certainly won't happen. However that's no reason not to keep highlighting the problem...

GSW, re:

"I don't think it will assist Mann in his current difficulties."

Which particular "difficulties" are those GSW? Dr. Mann seems to be engaged in extraordinarily successful and productive scientific work. In just the last 3 years he's published around 30 papers many of which have already had extraordinary impact. In just this 3 year period 5 of these papers have been cited 129, 90, 75, 69 and 21 times already - that's pretty outstanding and indicative of high quality and impact.

One might compare with Dr. Wegman. In the same period he's published 10 papers. The top 5 of these have been cited zero, zero, zero, zero and zero times.

What do you think GSW? Which of these do you consider has "current difficulties", scientifically speaking?

But of course we all have difficulties! Doing science is hard work; it's difficult to maintain funding levels and keeping one's students content and productive; having to spend long out of work time writing grants, refereeing papers and grants; doing admin, preparing lectures, organizing courses and so on and on...It's worth it 'though and very satisfying especially if one has a decent sense of integrity and a desire to do make a contribution.

We're not all blessed with your easy life GSW that allows you so much time to spread insinuations on blogs! :-)

The Attorney General of Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli, has pursued Dr Mann relentlessly. He has filed CIDs which, if granted in the original instance, would have allowed him unfettered access to virtually all emails, accounts, rough notes, voicemails, etc for any grant or contract at state universit(y|ies) in the state of Virginia, that Mann has been mentioned on at any point, or where Mann was the grant applicant. That is one Hell of a fishing expedition: in Australia we call attempts like this as trying to build a "dirt file" on someone. If a politician in Australia tried this on a climate scientist..."beneath contempt" is the expression I'd use for such a tactic.

Compare that thuggish bully-boy b*llsh*t with the looking into Wegman's research articles by Mashey; all of the evidence Mashey has amassed has been from publicly available and (supposedly) peer-reviewed research articles. No CIDs or FOIAs necessary. If GMU finds against Wegman, then Wegman will have been Hoist with his own petar.

By Donald Oats (not verified) on 12 Oct 2011 #permalink

@chris

We all know what 'difficulties' are being referred to chris, see Donalds #88.

"in Australia we call attempts like this as trying to build a "dirt file" on someone"

Mashey's 'review' of past Wegman papers, although admittedly less intrusive (legally), could nevertheless be interpreted as being exactly this.

GSW, you clearly linked Mann's "difficulties" to his science when you said:

"I don't think it will assist Mann in his current difficulties. Even if all of Wegman's papers were retracted because of 'wikipedia' or other reference issues, other existing statistical criticisms still remain."

Which is what I addressed in my post. Now you're changing your tune to the difficulties Dr. Mann is facing as a result of bullying and dishonesty [which I get the impression that you condone, 'though it's difficult to be certain since you seem reluctant to call a shovel a shovel! ;-) ]. Yes it's unfortunate for Dr. Mann, but in the world that most of want to live in, the individuals with integrity win out, and Dr. Mann seems to managing rather well despite the despicable attacks.

As for "dirt files" you miss the point yet again (wilfully I suspect). A "dirt file" as Donald illustrates is a "file" of innuendo, insinuation, false accusations and so on. John Mashey et al's analyses are clear, straighforward and truthful presentations of facts.

Do you see the difference GSW? Wegman, Cucchinelli et al's attempts at bullying are "dirt". Mashey et al's presentations might be said to be highlighting "dirt". It takes a rather herioc effort at reality avoidance not to see that these are entirely different!

The point that GSW is evading is that the academic misconduct by the Wegman clique was an academic means to a political end for a specific constituency profiting by ownership. Any attempt to tar Mann (or any reputable climate scientist) with the same brush or speciously claim equivalence can only point to benefitting the common good which by definition is non-partisan and all-inclusive.

That subsequent inquiry has shown Wegman's recent shoddy work to be an ongoing academic problem with serious repercussions for GMU's academic reputation, for most the important aspect is his facilitating fr@wd on Congress for the continuing benefit of fossil fuel polluter industries.

That's what the denier machine will now be attempting to bury and obfuscate.

@chris

To answer your points specifically;

You can't credibly unlink Mann's current difficulties and his science as you suggest. I don't wish to repeat the Cuccenelli allegations and the circumstances of the ATI FOIA here, but they are linked to his science/conduct.

When is a 'dirt file' not a 'dirt file'?

Well, a 'dirt file' is a 'dirt file', no matter how 'righteous' you believe yourself to be in it's creation.

> You can't credibly unlink Mann's current difficulties and his science as you suggest.

Indeed not. There is a huge political witchhunt against Mann because his science is sound, so they pound on the scientist.

> but they are linked to his science/conduct.

Only in the same way as the breakfast he ate this morning is "linked to" his science/conduct. If he didn't eat any breakfast, he'd starve and wouldn't be able to do any science.

> Well, a 'dirt file' is a 'dirt file', no matter how 'righteous' you believe yourself to be in it's creation.

Yes, tortoise alert. A dirt file is a dirt file. And a non-dirt file is a non-dirt file.

No matter how much you wish the science to be wrong.

*Mann's current difficulties*

What 'difficulties'? Oh, you mean the witch-hunt....

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 12 Oct 2011 #permalink

Any idea whether you can pinpoint the originator of this sweeping-under-the-rug in the administration? Presumably it originated with SOMEBODY!

I don't think it was, or at least I hope it wasn't, President Merten. Some... underling perhaps.

Doing a little investigation - of my own university, damn it, why is this happening HERE? - I find University Policy 4007, which states that the responsible parties are the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, the Deans and Institute Directors, the Provost, and the President.

We know who the president is.

The Statistics department falls under the College of Science here. The list of administrative personnel can be found here: http://cos.gmu.edu/about/administration

In particular, the dean is Vikas Chandhoke, the associate dean of research and computing is Gregory Foster, and the associate dean of administration is Martha Westcoat-Andes.

The Vice President for Research and Economic Development is Roger Stough.

The Provost is Peter Stearns.

You can find a list of staff under them fairly easily.

By Katharine (not verified) on 12 Oct 2011 #permalink

Bernard J,

"Barry, I am curious to know why you perceive my defence of Mashey as "tribalism". It's a puzzling claim given that my interest in the matter is far from political, and very much academically focussed."

It's about tone as much as content. It's not worth deconstructing the whole, but this remark you made captures what I mean quite well.

"Barry, you're not sweating simply because Wegman is looking like a complete, um, fraud, are you?"

This kind of snark is usually directed towards me by contrarians at WUWT and the like. But occasionally also by people who identify with the mainstream view (Christ, how I hate talking about 'sides' - it's asinine). My tone is always the same, and I am usually polite and receptive. This kind of remark is always a knee-jerk reaction, and it is a result of a partisan view. I am seen as a hostile simply because I disagree. I'm not the only one to get hit with friendly fire. Because I associate the mainstream view and the people who argue for it with sound reasoning, good science, intellectual rigour and integrity etc, it is disappointing to observe this milieu taking on some of the poor form of the idiots that frustrate them. It always seems to me like a win for the skeptics. They make otherwise reasonable people play at their mucky level.

And that is basically the issue I have with the extended critique of Wegman et al. It's pretty sad (to me) to see many people advising that the nature of the discourse has been set by the opposition, and that it is 'naive' not to jump on board with that.

But I may be way too idealistic, and what I see as cynicism here is actually just pragmatism. But I don't believe the argument can be 'won' effectively with political tactics. More on that later. I want to consider chris's end-game scenario (tomorrow, it's getting late).

"I'm not sure how you arrive at the conclusion that most commenters here agree that Mashey and DC are being political in their documentation of Wegman's et al academic malfeasance"

Are you reading the other comments?

chris: "In this case the academic and the political are linked together to the extent of being inseperable."

ianam: "Integrity is in fact a "political" issue, and this is a political blog, and the work being done by DC and Mashey is political ... as well it should be."

SteveC: "most "debate" around climate science is politically driven. Ergo why should Mashey, DC, Tim Lambert or anyone else be held back from engaging in the debate purely on barry's supposition that politics and science should not mix?"

But I get the feeling that people are trying to say it's ok for the scholarly analysis to have a political thrust, while at the same time saying it's not really political.

SteveC:

"In that sense then my view is that the political implications are merely a side-show and a distraction. The juicy bits at issue are whether any party who possesses any kind of authority to pronounce on a subject has acted properly and appropriately."

The 'juicy bits' ARE political!

I think it matters how the discourse is conducted. If strategies must be implemented, don't let your opponent set the terms. I'll try to expand on this tomorrow.

Mann's current difficulties - zilch.

Other than having enough time to continue his copius production of high quality research.

Wegman, OTOH, - "difficulties" is serious understatement.

All respondents must keep in mind that our visitors from 'Bishop Dill' spent the entire 'Mashey' thread being critical of those who expose plagiarism and defending/excusing the perpetrators of plagiarism.

'Nuff said.

Barry @75

Good, we're all (mostly) agreed that the extended critique of Wegman et al is political in nature (while scholarly in form).

I think you and GSW (who doesn't count) are the only ones here who are trying to turn this into political action, although perhaps you could also include Wegman, who made it a political issue in the first place by presenting a flawed report to the House Committee.

@76

Who 'normally' does this auditing?

Anyone who is interested. Any decent scientist, when reading a paper, will automatically conduct their own audit, checking the information given against their own experience and expectations and for internal consistency. That is how I noticed, for example, that a paper had switched the effects of phosphorus and potassium.

In the past, people would publish take-down papers, letters, notes, etc in scientific journals or give papers at conferences (which can get very vociferous). These days, the internet is often used instead.

As for the 'best' outcome, I basically agree with Chris.

By Richard Simons (not verified) on 12 Oct 2011 #permalink

A former colleague who moved to Canada from Wales said he and three others, one from the West Indies, one from India and the third from China, were in a small-town cafe in Georgia. A customer joined his friends at the next table and said "Who are they?" indicating my colleagues. "I don't know", said another, "but they must be Canadian."

By Richard Simons (not verified) on 12 Oct 2011 #permalink

Sorry - that comment was intended for a completely different site. I've no idea how it got here. I'd visited about 6 other sites in the interim.

By Richard Simons (not verified) on 12 Oct 2011 #permalink

re: 95 Katharine

I'm sorry, but...

See SIGMU.

Read all p.17 (which has the same names, plus a few more, as Wegman has had several departmental affiliations and therefore several Deans). With possible exception of one Dean/DH pair, everybody there has to be involved, including the GMU Asst Attorney General Mancure.

p.24: The original complaint went to President Merten, so either he just passed it along and then ignored it, or he knows all about it.

As for possible reasons for this:

a) read p.16.

b) Finally, SPECULATION, NO DATA.

There is one really weird possibility. p.33 has Wegman's Facebook lament in August 2010. IF they blocked him from mentoring grad students without following due process, he might well have grounds for a lawsuit against GMU. Maybe the academics who read this can comment.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 12 Oct 2011 #permalink

Critics mix politics with science, and they have rightly and consistently been condemned for this.

Wrong and fundamentally stupid and intellectually dishonest.

But before I try to make my case further

Talk about "fulsome".

By https://me.yah… (not verified) on 12 Oct 2011 #permalink

Do you see the difference GSW? Wegman, Cucchinelli et al's attempts at bullying are "dirt". Mashey et al's presentations might be said to be highlighting "dirt". It takes a rather herioc effort at reality avoidance not to see that these are entirely different!

As I have noted, lying is the only strategy that denialati like GSW have, so fabricating, and ignoring inconvenient truths, is really quite easy for them; it is only for those committed to truth that it is difficult.

By https://me.yah… (not verified) on 12 Oct 2011 #permalink

"politics: the complex or aggregate of relationships of people in society, esp those relationships involving authority or power"

By https://me.yah… (not verified) on 12 Oct 2011 #permalink

I agree "As I have noted, lying is the only strategy that denialati like GSW have, so fabricating, and ignoring inconvenient truths, is really quite easy for them; it is only for those committed to truth that it is difficult."

re: 98
[Firefox+Greasemonkey+KILLFILE work here, as I've often, so in some threads I only see some of the comments.]

This is not about politics, it is about defending science and scientists from political attacks, of which the Barton/Whitfield/Wegman attack was just one part of a long campaign that I've studied. See items 1) 2) and especially 3) here. The WR issues were a small fraction (the "newshook") in item 3), which tracked 20+ years of political attacks on climate science.
(At some point, I'll return to this, but meanwhile, look up Roger Clemens, 18USC1011 and related felonies. There are far worse potential penalties for some people than article retraction and funding disabarment.)

Of course, the defense of academe's "brand" against dishonesty and politics is more than enough reason for people to get involved, including quite a few with zero connection with climate science. We've gotten a *lot* of help from such people behind the scenes.

Good academics *hate* FFP. When I was teaching Operating Systems (PSU CMPSC 411) 40 years ago, I told students Day One that this class would be a lot of work, but if they did it, they'd learn a lot. (The class was normally rated #1 in the "too much work" category ... but in post-graduation surveys, it normally rated #1 for most useful course, maintaining my faith that honest students were OK.)
I also told them that every term, a few students tried to cheat and copy term projects, and if they did, I'd give them an F, which I did. Sometimes they'd try to argue, at which point I'd produce the detailed documentation, and that was that.

Honest students used to tell me afterwards how glad they were that I did this, because they'd worked really hard for their grades, they knew who wasn't working very hard (because, this was card-deck era, and students knew who was in the computer center day and night, and who wasn't.)

That was 40 years ago. Computer folks might be familiar with SPEC, of which I was one of the cofounders. Different arena, same principle ... an almost everyone reading this online is using a computer designed iin aprt with SPEC benchmarks geared to lessen cheating.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 12 Oct 2011 #permalink

Richard,

"I think you and GSW (who doesn't count) are the only ones here who are trying to turn this into political action"

I think there is a consensus on that notion here;

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/10/yet_more_wegman_plagiarism.php#…

"although perhaps you could also include Wegman, who made it a political issue in the first place by presenting a flawed report to the House Committee."

Certainly. I thought it went without saying. Steve McIntyre, Joe Barton and Ed Whitfiled (to name a few) made it a political issue, and Wegman et al abetted that with shoddy work.

Different arena, same principle

But don't expect Mr. idee fixe to apologize for his scurrilous charges against you (e.g., "it begins to look more like a vendetta than rational enquiry") for upholding this principle.

Going back to this:

It seems to me that an academic flensing of specific material has evolved into a partisan agenda born of impatience.

This is really such a stupid comment and consists purely of projection. barry has made it clear that he cares about only one thing -- e.g., "specific material" and "I am sure that Mashey's and DC's work is solid. I used to read it fairly attentively up until they shifted focus". That is "a partisan agenda" ... when Mashey pursues academic malfeasance beyond climate science, barry loses interest other than to come up with the most incredibly idiotic objections (no wonder GSW shares them).

I think it matters how the discourse is conducted.

Yeah, how's your method (accusing John Mashey of vendettas, partisanship, and tribalism here) working out for you, bar?

shoddy work

Is that how you characterize FFP, barry? Merely of low quality?

Sorry All O/T, but ianam's last post reminded me.

"It seems to me that an academic flensing of specific material has evolved into a partisan agenda born of impatience."

I wasn't too clear about barry's use of the word 'flensing' so I googled it - The urban dictionary gave two possible definitions;

Flensing: Throwing your shoulders back in an effort to hide your man-boobs during sex.

Flensing: The act of Jiggling a woman's breasts without her consent. Especially if her shirt has been ripped off or soaked in water.

Obviously, trying to relate this to subject at hand was a problem, academic or not, there is no place for this sort of stuff on the internet.

The urban dictionary

GSW's primary source of information, apparently.

>I wasn't too clear about barry's use of the word 'flensing' so I googled it - The urban dictionary gave two possible definitions...

It seems that GSW's capacity for vocabulary research is of the same pitifully inadequate level as is his capacity for understanding scientific research.

Barry, at what point is it exactly that you claim that Mashey and DC became "political" rather than "academic" in their investigations? By way of contrast, when in the process were the denialists "academic", and when were they "political"?

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 13 Oct 2011 #permalink

@ianam,Bernard

Sorry chaps, just made me laugh that's all. Not as amusing as watching you guys argue your case/justify your hypocrisy admittedly, but some entertainment nevertheless.

;)

GSW, for more information on flensing, read "Moby Dick". You might learn something -- besides it's a rollicking good read!

By Rattus Norvegicus (not verified) on 13 Oct 2011 #permalink

GSW:
hypocrisy

Well done, did you look that one up in a dictionary too? Can you remember what the word meant?

Tim's original post was about academic misconduct of the most bizarre kind, which astonishes my academic friends.
None of that post or this has anything to do with Mann, Barton, etc ... Debunking the WR was defending science from political attack, this one is just defending academic publishing's brand from {ego? greed? craziness? beats me.)

How odd that some people want to talk about anything except this topic. ("Look! a squirrel!" or Al Gore (I'm surprised he hasn't been dragged in :-), even more extraneously than usual.)

Two Editors-in-Chief (Wegman & Said) wrote two articles for their own journal, which they proclaim is peer-reviewed. Serious folks might read author's guide, p.12:
"Our editorial process starts with the review of your manuscript by qualified experts in the field and by the WIREs: Computational Statistics editors. We will pass reviewersâ comments on to you and request that you make any necessary changes. In addition, we will discuss with you any editorial changes that may be necessary.
In some cases the reviewers will have no comments, and the manuscript will be processed for composition. In other cases, reviewersâ and our own editorial comments will give rise to further correspondence. The Editors reserve the right to cut, to request more information from the author, to revise, and in some cases, to add publicly available material. If the Editorsâ changes are extensive, you will have an opportunity to review the changes before the manuscript is sent for production."

See also Wiley touting this journal.

W&S may have a different idea of peer-review than most. See SSWR, pp.49-60.

Both articles were massively-plagiarized pieces hacked together from other sources.

Said maintained a false rank (professor) and affiliation (Oklahoma State) for nearly 2 years.

The 3rd Co-editor, David Scott, has published 6 articles of his own in this journal, and in fact, about 25% of the total articles are by the Editors, their students or other coauthors/close colleagues. Many of these may be just fine, others might make one wonder. About 25% of the articles are by the editors, their students and their coauthors. Many look like reasonable articles, but some make one wonder a bit.
Has *anyone* ever heard of another case like this? I'd love to hear of examples.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 13 Oct 2011 #permalink

@John Mashey

"barry" thinks that it's "disingenuous" or "misguided" to think that you actually care about academic misconduct per se.

Rather than respond to arguments (e.g., that to distinguish between Mann and Wegman is not hypocrisy because the charges against the former are false whereas the charges against the latter are true), he merely expresses his amusement at their being made, and then repeats his charge. Imagine how science would have progressed had that been its standard of discourse. Even Jonas N does better. GSW contributes nothing of value, rather being a purely disruptive influence ... a troll who considers this his playground. I urge Tim to treat him appropriately.

GSW's whale of a fuck-up regarding the meaning of "flensing" pretty much sums up his ability to contribute positively to any conversation between grown-ups ...

This is far O/T but may be of interest to JM and Tim.

Dennis Ritchie, one of the inventors of "C" and the Unix operating system, died recently. In the wake (excuse the pun) of the great adapter Steve Jobs death, the death of a true innovator, whose inventions powered the development of the internet, has gone virtually unnoticed.

By Rattus Norvegicus (not verified) on 13 Oct 2011 #permalink

BTW, Retraction Watch offers good examples of the range of retractions:

Good: Two from PNAS.
"Given all of that, Lipardi â who worked for Paterson at the NIH until joining Merck recently â should get credit for two things:
One, this is a very detailed retraction notice. Thereâs really no doubt that this was an honest error.
Two, they seem to have done everything they could to try to prove their results wrong the first time around â a hallmark of good science â and yet still had to retract the paper. That canât have been easy to swallow."

Bad: Thatâs a Mori! Seven more retractions brings latest count to 30

People make honest mistakes, but finding them and retracting maintains their reputations for honesty, but obvious serious misconduct = trouble in academe, which cares about its reputation overall.

ianam: KILLFILE works.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 13 Oct 2011 #permalink

has gone virtually unnoticed

It would seem so. I spent several decades as a Unix systems developer and C programmer (I even worked for someone whom John Mashey had earlier worked for) and this is the first I've heard of it. Good grief.

re: 118
OT, but yes, Dennis was an old friend, and I'd heard this yesterday from Doug McIlroy.
See this for how Dennis, Steve Bourne and I evolved my PWB stuff into UNIX V7's environment variables. Dennis in particular suggested the idea of just making them a 2nd argument list, which kept most of it out of the kernel and kept simple semantics.

Fortunately, Dennis got Computer History Fellow Award a while back, among others.

While sad, I'd like to remember that Dennis had fun, as with Rob Pike in this prank on Arno.

Dennis has already been covered by NPR and is getting lots of other press, as he should.

But, while Dennis and Steve were about as far apart as you could get in personality and nature of accomplishments, honoring DMR takes nothing from Steve. Both were great, just in very different directions. Of course, it is interesting that the iPhone runs a UNIX-derivative with apps written in a C+Smalltalk derivative.

But, this should probably go to another thread.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 13 Oct 2011 #permalink

I actually ported PWB to VAX/VMS while working for Heinz Lycklama and Ted Dolotta (but not at Bell Labs).

Oh, and sort of in the vicinity of the topic, Heinz Lycklama, "PhD in Nuclear Physics" (it seems that he obtained one in 1969, before embarking on his computing career), offers his "analysis" of global warming as an "independent scientist" at http://www.osta.com/gw/ . Not surprisingly, his "analysis produced some surprising results".

Heinz also has the distinction of having his own page at the [Creation Wiki](http://creationwiki.org/Heinz_Lycklama).

John Mashey @115 asks: About 25% of the articles are by the editors, their students and their coauthors. Many look like reasonable articles, but some make one wonder a bit. Has anyone ever heard of another case like this? I'd love to hear of examples.

There was one case where the editor of an Elsevier mathematics journal was either fired or forced to resign after reports emerged that he had been publishing at a disproportionate rate in his own journal (I don't recall the exact fraction) and that several of those papers were dubious. In that case, as with the W&S retraction, Elsevier seems to have moved with reasonable speed to clean up the situation once they were made aware of the problem: the editor in question left the journal about three months after reports about this editor's publication record started circulating on the internet. Also, to my knowledge nobody has claimed that the editor in question did not actually write those papers.

I agree that having such a large fraction of papers authored by the editors or their close associates in a journal that's more than a year or two old is a red flag. (I would expect a brand-new journal to draw heavily from the editors and their close associates, since the editors would want people to submit to their journal, and they would tell their friends first.)

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 14 Oct 2011 #permalink

GSW @ #109 there is no place for this sort of stuff on the internet.

... and that from the Jonases' chief fluffer.

#115
> The Editors reserve the right to cut, to request more information from the author, to revise, and in some cases, to add publicly available material.

"___add publicly available material___" at the editor's discretion?!?!? Note that the author has no say in this, unless the change is substantial. This is Wiley boilerplate found in the instructions for other journals, as well, but this is the first time I come across something like this. How common is this?

It seems to me that blogging on any new Wegman and/or Said unattributed cut & paste jobs from Wikipedia and from other sources, whilst not of itself counterproductive and of no mean value, seems to have little impact on the glacial stasis of GMU's procedural activities in this matter (which is not to say that other examples, should they exist, shouldn't be brought to the attention of GMU's investigative committee and the plagiarised, and then blogged about perhaps after a suitable interval).

I don't think Wegman and/or Said could be hurt more now by any new revelations (their reputations surely lie in ruins -- or ultimately will anyway), but the perceived lack of activity on GMU's part is a different matter. It is this perceived lack of progress and why this is that should be the issue.

So, it seems to me that GMU should be the focus. Why shouldn't retiring GMU President Alan Merten not be asked to comment? Who is to be his replacement? Why should they not be put in the spotlight on this? Why not the VPs, the Provost, and the Deans too?

Has mention been made of this affair in the student rag, Broadside?

What about the senators of GMU's Student Government?

Are they all complicit in the silence and perceived lack of progress towards a resolution?

re: #130
Yes.

Journalists are getting more interested in GMU.

Nature of course "encouraged" them to move faster.

Various editors of Broadside have been informed over the last year or so, but I can't honestly say that it would be positive for a student editor to run a story (just as I've advised Katharine here to be careful.)

I hear this through a back-channel:
"what I have learned from the reasonable people at GMU that makes meâ¦almost despair. There are a great number of them, but for the most part incredulity/outrage has given way to resignation."

I've also heard other interesting stories of GMU that I can't repeat, which I'd summarize by saying there a lot of skeletons in the Wegman/Said/GMU closet who are banging on the door wanting out.

Right now of course, one issue is in Wiley's

By John Mashey (not verified) on 16 Oct 2011 #permalink

I'm slightly heartened by the 'journalists' comment JM, but only just. Unless there is an overarching back story, such as one involving wider corruption or political shenanigans, then I can't at this time see this leading to a "positive outcome". Dan Vergano's piece of 5/10/2011 in USA Today doesn't appear to have borne fruit on the stonewalling by GMU, so will anything? But perhaps I'm being overly pessimistic and there's a back story that's falling into place.

And whereas I can understand Broadside not wishing to upset the local applecart, I think it's long past the time that Nature should have revisited their previous editorial in view of the WIREs "problem". But perhaps there's been contact with Wiley and there are reasons for keeping quiet for the moment.

Both the above instances are extremely frustrating. Are there things afoot that the general public can't know about yet, for example? Or is it that the stonewall defence is nigh on impregnable?

Anyway, it seems to me that any GMU student found guilty of transgressing their 'Honor Code' (particularly in this context with regard to its plagiarism aspect) might have grounds for kicking up an unholy stink. Have any students at GMU been failed for plagiarism?

I suppose it would be unfair to say 'GMU, the place where students may be failed on account of plagiarism but staff can seemingly get away with it by stretching the investigation until their retirement date', would it? So I won't say it.

The nature of all this is that whether or not some problem is published, to report it privately to some entity and give them a reasonable chance to handle it via their own processes, which sometimes legitimately take a while.

Some entities have responded promptly, others haven't, but it takes a while to know the latter, and sooner or later, people do get tired waiting and are willing to start talking about it.

Actually, the journalist comment is not so much heartening, as indicative of a large gulf between the faculty and admin. Again, the whole top people of GMU admin has to know about this. But there is a lot going on that is not public, yet.

By Joihn Mashey (not verified) on 17 Oct 2011 #permalink

is it possible that the slow progress is in fact due to said skellingtons in the closet requiring a lot of attention (and much placation with delicious brains)?

either way, it's good to know that this embarrassing tale is finally starting to attract the attention it truly deserves. well done for not letting this story die!

I don't particularly like unattributed sources, but perhaps it's time for a few them in press stories. Maybe 'a source close to the enquiry' said ..., 'a source in GMU admin' said..., 'a source in GMU's Dept of Statistics' said, or even 'a source close to Professor Wegman' said...

And as ligne said, keep up the good work DC and JM.