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Posted at 2:42 PM ET, 11/23/2010

Report: GMU scholar plagiarized in climate report

By Daniel de Vise

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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By 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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GMU was a fair-to-middling univerity that has been bought and turned into a right-wing, opposition-research organization. No scholarship allowed.

Posted by: mcstowy | November 23, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

mcstowy, You are 100% right. Once the conservative money started showing up, there was no turning back. Even the Arts at Mason is overrun with conservative ideologues.

Posted by: fmamstyle | November 23, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Where's Kookynutty? Shouldn't he investigate this?

Posted by: jeadpt | November 23, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Beyond the plagiarism, a substantial part of Wegman's report was an incompetently done social network analysis which showed, horrors, that Michael Mann's co-authors were co-authors of Michael Mann. Cuccinelli will certainly use that. Further, the statistical analysis in the Wegman Report has major problems.

Posted by: EliRabett2003 | November 23, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

For college issues, people might try the report:
See pp.47-48, which has an amazing web of multiple serial plagiarism, involving:

1) The Wegman Report
2) A 2007/2008 paper (Said, et al (2008)
3) A 2008 PhD (Sharabati)
4) A 2009 PhD (Rezazad)
5) A 2005 PhD (Said)
6) A 2008 book and 2010 paper by unrelated people. The rest are all Wegman and students.

In the Wegman Report, 40 of 80 references are never cited, generally a no-no. The same problem shows up in one of the dissertations, but then that was co-supervised by Said, who was a young post-doc and such do not normally supervise PhDs.

And we haven't even gotten to the errors, meaning changes and clear biases, some of which might well rise to being called falsification or fabrication.
Google: ffp falsification fabrication plagiarism

Of course, we are now 8+ months since GMU would have gotten Bradley's plagiarism complaint. Alas, at least as of last week, they had not yet informed Bradley of completion of the inquiry phase, which just needs to look at a few pages of side-by-side comparisons and say "yes, need investigation."

Posted by: JohnMashey | November 23, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Plagiarism appears more common than anyone thought. History is one subject that seems to attract plagiarists. I guess there is big money in changing US history to conform to the needs of the global economy.

I hope all college students know that college is now a make or break proposition. If the student shares any ideas of his sense of right or wrong or questions the morality of anything that is the end of his career.

Professors are really scouts for wall streeet and anyone that will pay them to rat out the students with a conscience.

All the while the student pays the huge tuition.

Posted by: JohnAdams1 | November 23, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Why is this coverage buried in an obscure blog?

Posted by: CapitalClmate | November 24, 2010 1:53 AM | Report abuse

alright, this non scholar will take a crack at why this is not making big news. :-)
from the article it appears that no one is really disputing the info in his article. the problem is with the plagiarism.
this would be different from much of the pro-global warming info. many of the "facts" and methods for gathering, evaluating, and presenting, info are in dispute.
i tend to look at things like lying or stealing as character flaws. they are not exclusive to either the right of the left....although....if you were to count the cases of plagiarism that we have known about in the last couple of decades, which political leaning would win the prize? :-)

Posted by: rider2371 | November 26, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I love the caption on that photo.

Posted by: cidstandifer | November 28, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

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