Report: GMU scholar plagiarized in climate report
Update, 11/30: A response from Professor Wegman has been appended toward the bottom of this post.
A story in USA Today says a pivotal 2006 congressional report that challenged evidence of global warming was "partly based on material copied from textbooks, Wikipedia and the writings of one of the scientists criticized in the report," citing plagiarism experts.
Three experts contacted by USA Today reviewed the 91-page document and "found repeated instances of passages lifted word for word" and "thinly disguised paraphrases."
The 2006 report was led by Edward Wegman, a statistician at George Mason University. It criticized the scholarship of climate scientists who had concluded that the last century was the warmest in a millennium.
This image is offered as neither affirmation nor refutation of global warming.
Earlier this year, Raymond Bradley, a climate scientist at the University of Massachusetts, alleged that the report had plagiarized a textbook he wrote and asked Mason to investigate, according to the USA Today report.
A retired computer scientist named John Mashey reviewed the Wegman report and found 35 pages filled with "mostly plagiarized text, but often injected with errors, bias and changes of meaning," the article says.
USA Today quotes Virginia Tech plagiarism expert Skip Garner: "It kind of undermines the credibility of your work criticizing others' integrity when you don't conform to the basic rules of scholarship."
Mason spokesman Dan Walsch told the newspaper that the matter was under investigation. Wegman told USA Today that he could not comment. The report quotes an e-mail from Wegman to a colleague calling the allegations "wild conclusions that have nothing to do with reality."
Update: GMU has posted a response to the USA Today story.
In the statement, Wegman writes that that "these attacks are unprecedented in my 42 years as an academic and scholar."
More: "I will say that there is a lot of speculation and conspiracy theory in John Mashey's analysis which is simply not true," Wegman said. "We are not the bad guys...We have never intended that our Congressional testimony was intended to take intellectual credit" for other scholars' work."
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Daniel de Vise
| November 23, 2010; 2:42 PM ET
Categories: Public policy, Research | Tags: GMU plagiarism, Global warming, Mason researcher accused of plagiarism, Wegman report, global warming plagiarism
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