Weekend reads: Gibberish papers persist; the academic who faked Cherokee heritage; ‘organised fraud hits scientific journals’

Before we present this week’s Weekend Reads, a question: Do you enjoy our weekly roundup? If so, we could really use your help. Would you consider a tax-deductible donation to support Weekend Reads, and our daily work? Thanks in advance.

The week at Retraction Watch featured:

Our list of retracted or withdrawn COVID-19 papers is up to 126.

Here’s what was happening elsewhere (some of these items may be paywalled, metered access, or require free registration to read):

Like Retraction Watch? You can make a one-time tax-deductible contribution or a monthly tax-deductible donation to support our work, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, add us to your RSS reader, or subscribe to our daily digest. If you find a retraction that’s not in our database, you can let us know here. For comments or feedback, email us at team@retractionwatch.com.

3 thoughts on “Weekend reads: Gibberish papers persist; the academic who faked Cherokee heritage; ‘organised fraud hits scientific journals’”

  1. The last news item regarding “plagiarism policies in universities in the UK have been extensively copied” may have been satire, but in two separate, unpublished conference reports of studies carried out by a couple of my students, we reported text overlap in plagiarism policies from US academic institutions:

    Kimball, T. M., & Roig, M. (March, 2010). Identical and near-identical text in academic institutions’ plagiarism policies. Psi Chi Poster presented at the 81st Annual Meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association, Brooklyn, NY.

    Troutman, M. & Roig, M. (2013, March). Extensive similarities in academic institutions plagiarism policies. Poster paper presented at the 84th Annual Meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association, New York City.

    In the second paper, we wrote “We believe that these instances of text similarity suggest a deliberate act of (mis)appropriation of text from other policies without any form of attribution”.

    1. Miguel, sorry if I am misunderstanding something, or if I am just asking a stupid question.

      How do you see a “correct” attribution in a policy document? Is it always possible, let alone necessary?

      Well, some documents allow a preamble, where preceding documents may be acknowledged, but I don’t think that is always the case.

      Otherwise I am struggling to understand how the papers that you cite are not satire as well.

  2. Elaphoglossum, anyone should be free to interpret anything as satire. But, you do raise an important question that I do not believe has been adequately addressed by relevant stakeholders and that is the extent –if any- to which traditional academic practices of citation and attribution should be applied, even if only informally, to nonacademic works, such as internal documents, policy statements, and other works produced by an academic institution. My own opinion is that whether such works require some form of attribution should depend on a number of factors, including the purpose of the work and, especially, the expectations of the intended audience. Here is an example: In the US, most institutional research misconduct policies are derived from the one created by the federal government’s Office of Science and Technology and my sense, based solely on casual reading of some, is that most such institutional policies acknowledge this fact either directly or indirectly, and rightly so and for a variety of reasons beyond ‘attributional’ etiquette. Well, given that the policies in question were about misappropriating the work of others and that the intended audience such policies is even larger than that of research misconduct policies, it seems to me that some form of attribution should have been included in those instances in which we found similar language. Admittedly, definitions and, especially, procedures for handling instances of cheating are, by tradition (?) very similar across certain tier universities (e.g., traditional honor code, no honor code), but It seems to me that any obvious borrowing from other policies, especially specific language, should be acknowledged somehow, though not necessarily with a formal citation. After all, doing so, would be consistent with the academic values that such policies are intended to convey.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.