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Academic Dishonesty and Research Misconduct Helmut Knaust Department of Mathematical Sciences The University of Texas at El Paso 2/11/2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Academic Dishonesty and Research Misconduct Helmut Knaust Department of Mathematical Sciences The University of Texas at El Paso 2/11/2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Academic Dishonesty and Research Misconduct Helmut Knaust Department of Mathematical Sciences The University of Texas at El Paso 2/11/2011 Revised 9/12/2014

2 “At DePaul University, the tip-off to one student’s copying was the purple shade of several paragraphs he had lifted from the Web. When confronted by a writing tutor his professor had sent him to, he was not defensive — he just wanted to know how to change purple text to black.” “Plagiarism Lines Blur for Students in Digital Age” by Trip Gabriel, NYT 8/1/10 A Brave New World?

3 “Helene Hegemann, a German teenager [wrote] a best-selling novel about Berlin club life [that] turned out to include passages lifted from others. Instead of offering an abject apology, Ms. Hegemann insisted, “There’s no such thing as originality anyway, just authenticity.” A few critics rose to her defense, and the book remained a finalist for a fiction prize (but did not win).“ “Plagiarism Lines Blur for Students in Digital Age” by Trip Gabriel, NYT 8/1/10

4 Types of Research Misconduct Plagiarism/Intellectual theft Fabrication of research results Sabotage Professorial misconduct (grading etc.)

5 Example 1 After settling on final grades, a professor re- grades final exams so that there is a bigger gap between passing students and failing students.

6 Example 2 Gregor Mendel's experimental results have later been the object of considerable dispute. R.A. Fisher analyzed the results of the F2 (second filial) ratio and found them to be implausibly close to the exact ratio of 3 to 1. (Wikipedia)

7 When to be listed as a co-author? “Authorship should be limited to those who have contributed substantially to the work.” “Authors are strongly encouraged to indicate their specific contributions." (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA) “Authors share responsibility and accountability for the results.“ (American Chemical Society)

8 When to be listed as a co-author? Problem areas: “Honorary” Authorship “Ghost” authorship

9 Litigation against the pharmaceutical company, Merck over health concerns related to use of their drug Rofecoxib (brand name Vioxx), revealed explicit examples of ghost authorship. Merck routinely paid medical writing companies to prepare journal manuscripts, and subsequently recruited external, academically affiliated researchers to pose as the authors. (Ross, Joseph S.; Hill, Kevin P.; Egilman, David S.; Krumholz, Harlan M. (2008). "Guest Authorship and Ghostwriting in Publications Related to Rofecoxib: A Case Study of Industry Documents from Rofecoxib Litigation". JAMA: the Journal of the American Medical Association 299 (15): ) Example 3

10 Safeguards Refereeing process – How many referees? – Finding suitable referees – “Reviewed” versus “Refereed” – “Blind” refereeing versus “open” refereeing – Is Wikipedia style the alternative?

11 Safeguards Reproducibility of research results – Vague descriptions – What’s in it for the “reproducer”?

12 Example 4: Jan Hendrik Schön Research: Condensed matter physics and nanotechnology Ph.D. in Germany 1997, hired by Bell labs. 2001: He announced in Nature that he had produced a transistor on the molecular scale. 2002: Lydia Sohn (Princeton University) noticed that two experiments carried out at very different temperatures had identical noise. When the editors of Nature pointed this out to Schön, he claimed to have accidentally submitted the same graph twice. (Wikipedia)

13 Example 5: Image Fusion Old methodNew method Paper:

14 Example 5: Image Fusion Old methodNew method My results:

15 Safeguards Honor Codes – Decrease student dishonesty (usually paired with harsh penalties) – Professional honor codes? Oath of Hippocrates: “I will follow that system of regimen which, according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous.”

16 UTEP honor code? In 2011:

17 UTEP honor code? In 2014:

18 A Gallery of Shame Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg (*1971) 2002: Member of the German Parliament 2007: Awarded doctoral degree in Law 2009: German Defense Minister February 2011: Doctoral degree revoked by University of Bayreuth March 2011: Resigned as defense minister and gave up his parliamentary seat

19 A Gallery of Shame Thesis: “Summa cum Laude”

20 A Gallery of Shame Pal Schmitt : President of Hungary 2012: Stripped of his doctoral degree by Semmelweiss University Resigned a few days later 11/19/2011

21 A Gallery of Shame The paper contained 16 pages of identical translation from the 1991 work of a German author, Klaus Heinemann. About a further 180 pages contained extracts identical to a 1987 work by Nikolay Gueorguiev, from Bulgaria… Mr. Schmitt, 69, has denied any wrongdoing and he continued to claim his innocence on Monday. In his resignation speech, he lamented not being able to defend his position, saying he had been “called a cheat” by members of Parliament even before an investigation into the case started. (Palko Karasz, NYT 4/2/2012)

22 A Gallery of Shame Annette Schavan : German Minister of Education and Research (!!) February 2013: Doctoral degree revoked by the University of Düsseldorf because of “systematic and premeditated” deception Resigned four days later Currently German ambassador to the Vatican

23 A Gallery of Shame Ph.D. thesis (1980): “Person and Conscience”

24 A Gallery of Shame John Walsh October 2013: Announced candidacy for U.S. Senate seat in Montana February 2014: U.S. Senator for Montana (appointed) August 2014: Article in NYT alleges plagiarism in a final paper required for his master’s degree from the U.S. Army War College August 2014: Dropping out of the Senate race…

25 A Gallery of Shame politics/john-walsh-final-paper-plagiarism.html

26 “Honesty is the best policy, I will stick to that.” Miguel de Cervantes


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