Dipping Into The Sour Mash, Part 2

More on the Mashey-Wegman issue. Part 1 is here

Guest post by Thomas Fuller

John Mashey has written one of those conspiracy theory plots full of colored dots and ink, accusing Edward Wegman of plagiarizing the work of Raymond Bradley and others in his key report to Congress showing the deep flaws in the paper Bradley wrote with Michael Mann and Malcolm Hughes regarding the Hockey Stick Chart.

Bishop Hill has so far said what needed to be said most succinctly:

there are two possibilities in play:

Wegman et al are guilty of plagiarism; short-centred principal components analysis is biased and can produce hockey sticks from red noise

Wegman et al are not guilty of plagiarism; short-centred principal components analysis is biased and can produce hockey sticks from red noise.

There is a bit of meat with John’s Mashed potatoes, sadly, and I’ll get to it in a minute. But let’s get rid of the twisted conspiracy theory garbage first.

In yesterday’s article I noted that it was extremely strange that Mashey would make as his first point the fact that the Congressional sub committee that commissioned Wegman turned over the results of the work they had done prior to Wegman starting his analysis. This is absolutely normal and uncontroversial, but Mashey writes as if it’s evidence of conspiracy, something he seems to find everywhere he looks.

It is also bizarre that Mashey thinks it wrong that works mentioned in the bibliography to Wegman’s report are not cited. This is clearly evidence that Mashey doesn’t understand very much at all about how anything really works. As anybody familiar with publishing knows, the reason a bibliography exists is to show the reader what the author read, precisely because the works may not be cited in the text. But again, this becomes black helicopter conspiracy for Mashey.

But there is a little meat with Mahsey’s potatoes. Please continue.

About half the plagiarization accusations in Mashey’s paper don’t even concern the Wegman report, targeting the recent McShane Wyner paper and dissertations and other collegiate work done by some of Wegman’s associates. Given that the title of Mashey’s report is Strange Scholarship in the Wegman Report, I don’t really see what criticism of other work is doing there. I guess it’s all there to prove a grand conspiracy.

But there is a little meat with Mahsey’s potatoes. Please continue.

In case you think I’m making this conspiracy stuff up, just read pages like 103 of Mashey’s report. It isn’t about Wegman at all. It’s about McShane Wyner,

In a report accusing Edward Wegman of plagiarism, Mashey writes this about an unrelated paper published 4 years later:

“MW, p.2, Paragraph 3
―On the other hand, the effort of world governments to pass legislation to cut carbon to pre-industrial levels cannot proceed without the consent of the governed and historical reconstructions from paleoclimatological models have indeed proven persuasive and effective at winning the hearts and minds of the populace. Consider Figure 1 which was featured prominently in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report (IPCC, 2001) in the summary for policy makers1. The sharp upward slope of the graph in the late 20th century is visually striking, easy to comprehend, and likely to alarm. The IPCC report goes even further:
‖<B> ―world governments … consent of the governed‖
When one Googles the 6 words above,50 many hits espouse strong conservative/Libertarian political views. Those are fine in the political arena, but not in statistics papers people expect to be credible. From past experience, 51 strong political/ideological beliefs can cause a few physics PhDs to ignore basic laws of physics.”

But there is meat to go with Mashey’s potatoes.

Wegman’s report examined the relationships between the very small community of scientists working in and around the field of paleoclimatology. This is because after Mann’s Hockey Stick chart began receiving criticism, a flurry of papers were suddenly published supporting his results–and they all received prominent attention and temporarily saved Mann’s reputation. But, as Steve McIntyre pointed out, these scientists were all closely connected to Michael Mann, being co-authors, co-bloggers, mentors and advisers of his. Worse, they used the same suspect data and the same discredited analysis techniques.

Wegman formalized an examination of Mann’s compatriots using a relatively new discipline called Social Network Analysis. And in his report to Congress, when Wegman explains what Social Network Analysis is, he copies someone else’s introduction of the science and doesn’t attribute it at all. (It looks like Wikipedia is copied, which means that someone else probably got copied to get it into Wikipedia. There is even the slight chance that Wikipedia copied Wegman, considering dates and such, but that would be just too delicious, so it probably didn’t happen that way.)

So it looks like Wegman and his team did something wrong. They used someone else’s description of social networking analysis and didn’t credit them.

But as near as I can tell, that’s it. And to put their error into perspective, let’s look at how other independent professionals describe social networking analysis without attributing each other:

Social network analysis is concerned with understanding the linkages among social entities and the implications of these linkages. The social entities are referred to as actors that are represented by the vertices of the graph.
Wegman Report

It is concerned with understanding the linkages among social entities and the implications of these linkages. The social entities are referred to as actors that are represented by the vertices of the graph. Most social network applications consider a collection of vertices that are all of the same
WK Sharabati

A social network analysis must also consider data on ties among units” … The entities in digraphs are called nodes and the relations are ….. The density measure describes general level of linkage among the actors in the community
Kilkenny and Nalbarte

A relation is represented as a linkage or a flow between these … relationships among social entities. In Social Network Analysis we can ….. network is referred to this focal person, and every relation is reported by the ego. …. “nodes” of the graph, and the “ties” between actors in the network become “lines”
F Martino

Social network analysis views social relationships in terms of network theory consisting of nodes and ties. Nodes are the individual actors within the networks, and ties are the relationships between the actors.
Wikipedia

Social network analysis [SNA] is the mapping and measuring of relationships and flows between people, groups, organizations, computers, URLs, and other connected information/knowledge entities. The nodes in the network are the people and groups while the links show relationships or flows between the nodes.
Valdis Krebs

Thomas Fuller http://www.redbubble.com/people/hfuller

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149 Responses to Dipping Into The Sour Mash, Part 2

  1. James McClellan says:

    I’m an academic and given the evidence you’ve adduced that’s not plagiarism.

  2. Hoi Polloi says:

    Mann’s trolls are really, really getting desperate…

  3. David A. Evans says:

    At worst an unattributed description of a pre-existing concept.

    DaveE.

  4. Nick Stokes says:

    James McClellan says: October 10, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    “I’m an academic and given the evidence you’ve adduced that’s not plagiarism.”

    How so? Here’s just one of the para’s taken from Wikipedia “Social Networks”, version 1/2/2006.:
    <i"The shape of the social network helps determine a network‘s usefulness to its individuals. Smaller, tighter networks can be less useful to their members than networks with lots of loose connections (weak ties) to individuals outside the main network. More "open" networks, with many weak ties and social connections, are more likely to introduce new ideas and opportunities to their members than closed networks with many redundant ties. In other words, a group of friends who only do things with each other already share the same knowledge and opportunities. A group of individuals with connections to other social worlds is likely to have access to a wider range of information. It is better for individual success to have connections to a variety of networks rather than many connections within a single network. Similarly, individuals can exercise influence or act as brokers within their social networks by bridging two networks that are not directly linked (called filling social holes)."

    It’s there on p 18 of the Wegman report, with just one word (“Yet”) added. There are other smaller chunks from Wiki, and numerous texts from other sources in the Social Networks section.

    There’s no reference to Wiki, nor any other document that might be a prior source. It’s not summarising climate papers – it’s a new topic and argument that the Wegman report is introducing.

    You”re an academic – do you tell your students this is OK?

  5. Athlete says:

    It sounds like Machete’s conspiracy scenario is so long and convoluted that I didn’t bother downloading it. Can somebody tell me on what page McIntyre, McKitrick, Wegman and the president of Exxon can be seen talking into their hands?

  6. Doug in Seattle says:

    I don’t get it Tom. I even tried placing my tongue firmly in my cheek and still was unable to find any plagiarism in the text you provide.

    Perhaps Mashey & Bradley are mixing up their politics and science (again?).

    And since when is libertarian a bad word? In the 1970′s it was synonymous with liberal – flaky perhaps, but not bad like conservative.

  7. John Shade says:

    Lucy Skywalker suggested ‘Teacupgate’, and that’s looking about right so far. Perhaps we need to wait a little longer to see if anything of any substance can be found. So far, it would seem the conditions are not ripe for a tropical storm, nor for an ordinary Atlantic depression, nor even a modest cumulonimbus. On the other hand, I guess a few more people will read the Wegman report, and that may raise a cloud or two of doubt in minds erstwhile conforming to the dogma of alarm?

  8. Tim Hulsey, MD says:

    The Wegman Report is not an academic paper prepared for publication in a peer-reviewed (if that actually means anything anymore) journal. It is an “independent review” (note the quotation marks, lest you think me a plagiarist) for “the Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce as well as the Chairman of
    the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.” It wasn’t meant to review Wegman. It was meant to review “Mann et al. (1998, 1999) [MBH98, MBH99]
    by McIntyre and McKitrick (2003, 2005a, 2005b) [MM03, MM05a, MM05b] as well as
    the related implications in the assessment.” I doubt that it is germaine nor does Congress care about Mashey’s machinations which make no difference in the damning (and rightly so) nature of the report.

  9. Fred says:

    The Warmistas worked so hard to bury the Wegman Report.

    We should thank them now for reviving interest in this outstanding piece of work.

    Maybe Mann is ready to come clean about his statistical voodoo and this is just a way to set the media table for his mea culpas.

    Maybe.

  10. AdderW says:

    Soon enough all those warmints, warmits, warmist, warmists, yes that’s it…the warmists, they will soon disappear, out of sight, never to be seen again.

  11. AdderW says:

    Another take on the above…

    Soon enough all those vermin, varmints, warmints, warmist, warmists, yes that’s it…the warmists, they will soon disappear, out of sight, never to be seen again.

    (English is not my first language, lame I know, but there you are)

  12. Elise says:

    @Nick

    short-centred principal components analysis is biased and can produce hockey sticks from red noise

  13. Northern Exposure says:

    So in a nutshell…

    No matter which way you look at it, what relevance does plagiarism have to do with erroneous/faulty science ?

    Not a dang thang.

    We have just another soapbox screamer rambling on and on about absolutely nothing to do with the actual science behind the hockey schtick.

    Colour me unimpressed.

  14. Crackpot says:

    Tom,

    You are priceless. I am laughing, LOL. Whatever.

  15. ZT says:

    Plagiarism experts – how does the following look?

    http://www.geo.umass.edu/climate/papers2/mann2008.pdf
    (‘by’ Michael E. Mann, Zhihua Zhang, Malcolm K. Hughes, Raymond S. Bradley, Sonya K. Miller, Scott Rutherford, and Fenbiao Ni)

    Mann et al: “Knowledge of climate during past centuries can both improve
    our understanding of natural climate variability and help
    address the question of whether modern climate change is unprecedented
    in a long-term context (1, 2). The lack of widespread
    instrumental climate records before the mid 19th century, however,
    necessitates the use of natural climate archives or ‘‘proxy’’ data such
    as tree-rings, corals, and ice cores and historical documentary
    records to reconstruct climate in past centuries. Many previous
    proxy data studies have emphasized hemispheric or global mean
    temperature (3–14), although some studies have also attempted to
    reconstruct the underlying spatial patterns of past surface temperature
    changes at global (15, 16) and regional (6, 17, 18) scales.”

    and

    http://books.google.com/books?id=AK6gWFaURMsC&lpg=PR1&pg=PA3#v=onepage&q&f=false
    (‘by’ Jürg Luterbacher, Elena Xoplaki, Marcel Küttel, Eduardo Zorita, Jesus Fidel González-Rouco, Phil D. Jones, Marco Stössel, This Rutishauser, Heinz Wanner, Joanna Wibig, and Rajmund Przybylak)
    (also available here: http://faculty.washington.edu/mkuettel/docs/Luterbacheretal_Springer_2010.pdf)

    Luterbacher et al: “The knowledge of climate and its variability during the past centuries can improve our understanding of natural climate variability and also help to address the question of whether modern climate change is unprecedented in a long-term context (Folland et al. 2001; Jansen et al. 2007; Hegerl et al. 2007; Mann et al. 2008 and references therein). The lack of widespread instrumental climate records introduces the need for the use of natural climate archives from ‘proxy’ data such as tree-rings, corals, speleothems and ice cores, as well as documentary evidence to reconstruct climate in past centuries (see Jones et al. 2009 for a review). The focus of many previous proxy data studies has been hemispheric or global mean temperature (see Jansen et al. 2007; Mann et al. 2008 and references therein), although some studies have also attempted to reconstruct the underlying large-scale spatial patterns of past surface temperature and precipitation changes at continental scales.”

    Personally – I’m not too bothered if this is how the climatology community wants to spend its time. But, cut-and-paste publications are the stuff of cargo-cults, not science.

    As the warmists have pointed out (ad nauseum) the Wegman report was not intended or represented to be ‘original research’ or ‘peer reviewed’ – it was a report for congress.

  16. antoon DV says:

    Let’s have a look at the George Mason University Honor System and Code (Wegman’s university) http://mason.gmu.edu/~montecin/plagiarism.htm#plagiarism :
    “Plagiarism means using the exact words, opinions, or factual information from another person without giving that person credit. Writers give credit through accepted documentation styles, such as parenthetical citation, footnotes, or endnotes; a simple listing of books and articles is not sufficient.

    I find it truly bizarre Wegman didn’t follow those rules, as they apply in every university in the world.

    REPLY: It has yet to be determined if the issue is with Wegman himself of an assistant – Anthony

  17. Lazar says:

    Tom,

    my response here

  18. The CAGW hyenas have fooled themselves into thinking that problems with Wegman’s assessment report will lead to the resurrection of the Hockey Stick.

    This is entirely consistent with the CAGW-faithful’s endemic pattern of cherry-picking data to support their position. But Wegman’s report is far, far from being the cornerstone of CAGW scepticism.

    ClimaxPregnant and “Conspiracy John’s” attack on Wegman’s analysis and criticism of Mann’s short-centred PCA is notable by its absence.

  19. Curiousgeorge says:

    @ John Shade says:
    October 10, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    …………………………. On the other hand, I guess a few more people will read the Wegman report, and that may raise a cloud or two of doubt in minds erstwhile conforming to the dogma of alarm?

    When has any “True Believer” in “The End is Nigh” sandwich board proclamations ever abandoned that belief without professional treatment and/or major drug therapy?

  20. RoyFOMR says:

    People believe what they were going to believe.
    The Wegman report had been a thorn in the side of the “consensusiestas” for years. Since ClimateGate they’ve discovered an old truth, dissimilulate and hammer.
    It’s been taken to heart and polished to perfection. Find a weakness. If you can’t find one, invent one. Ignore all logic that points out any weakness, take a deep collective breath and , as one, claim a Triumph.
    Follow up with exultations of “robustly debunked”, “anti-science delusionalism discredited, once again” and multiple re-links to RC and you’ve regained the initiative once again.
    Be careful what you wish for my MSM friends, dear AGW supporters and Western Governments. Your wealth will pass down to your children but only, for as long, as it pleases their new masters.
    Our children matter to us. Never forget that.

  21. Mike says:

    From DC:

    Citing John Mashey’s Strange Scholarship magnum opus in the opening paragraph, Dan Vergano at USA Today writes:

    Officials at George Mason University confirmed Thursday that they are investigating plagiarism and misconduct charges made against a noted climate science critic.

    The article goes on to link to my previous discussion and analysis of the Wegman Report’s background section on paleoclimatology, which indicated that passages had been apparently lifted nearly verbatim from Bradley’s Paleoclimatology: Reconstructing Climates of the Quaternary, and then edited in a manner that introduced distortions and errors.

    http://deepclimate.org/2010/10/08/wegman-under-investigation-by-george-mason-university/#more-2679

    So, it is not just about Social Network Theory and the “distortions” (if they are there) may reflect upon Wegman’s lack of knowledge of the field he was asked to testify about. While Wegman is a well regarded statistician he had no prior experience in climatology nor was he a recognized expert in S.N. Theory. He should not have been asked to testify about either area before Congress.

  22. Jim says:

    Descriptions of material that is widely accepted often do not need to be
    explicitly cited

    The most famous equation in physics

    F = ma = E = mc^2

    are used routinely without any citation to any source.

  23. Bill H says:

    ZT says:
    October 10, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    As the warmists have pointed out (ad nauseum) the Wegman report was not intended or represented to be ‘original research’ or ‘peer reviewed’ – it was a report for congress.

    …………………………………………………………………

    Was Mann and his work noted? YES

    so how is this plagiarism?

    Or is he just mad that his rantings, flawed as they are, were quoted>?

  24. PJB says:

    Shades of Thomas à Becket…

    Likely that Mashey heard Bradley say that Wegman was plaguing him and thought that he said plagiarizing him….. ipso facto….

    The gang that couldn’t do anything at all straight.

  25. Hu McCulloch says:

    I don’t know or much care who Mashey is, but the following from Part I could be interesting:

    The material Mashey alleges Wegman stole comes from Raymond Bradley, who has since apparently filed an official complaint with George Mason University.

  26. mrsean2k says:

    Leaving aside the fact that this is insubstantial WRT the reasoning and conclusions of the report, how serious is not correctly citing the group efforts at Wikipedia and how is it remedied?

    Or put another way, what should Wegman (or one of Wegman’s, ahem, proxies) have done in the first place to avoid this desperate coal-raking some years down the line?

    Wikipedias guidance on the subject is that for short excerpts (3 – 4 sentences is the example), no attribution is required; for longer excerpts, the source should be attributed under the license specified:

    [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:FAQ/Readers#What_is_the_license_agreement_on_the_contents_of_Wikipedia.3F[/url]

    So many of the excerpts may require no attribution of ant kind.

    This is the situation now; what the prevailing conditions were at the time the report was compiled, I don’t know, but I’d be very surprised if it had been *more* rigorous; the norms and mores surrounding use of Wikipedia would certainly have evolved in he intervening years.

    No story to tell from Wikipedia’s angle.

    From the pespective of any readers, they are misled to the extent that they would not have known the text came from Wikipedia. No-one is saying that text is incorrect or inappropriate either.

    In short then, the conclusion we should draw is that SHORT-CENTRED PRINCIPAL COMPONENTS ANALYSIS IS BIASED AND CAN PRODUCE HOCKEY STICKS FROM RED NOISE.

    I forget where I found that quote. Sorry.

  27. Steven mosher says:

    Nick,

    Actually, I would have told my students this:

    1. Your prefatory material needs the same attention to detail and documentation as your original work.
    2. I certainly didnt think you were passing off a synopsis of the state of the art as “original” STILL, to avoid the charge of copyright infringement you should

    A. rewrite the section using quotation more liberally.
    B. rewrite the section and do a more complete paraphrasing of the common
    background material. be sure to cite the source you are using as your source for this overview of the state of the science.

    3. When you work with other authors, you need to ensure that they follow the rules. who wrote the sections in question, they need some direction.

    I would not see it as plagarism for they are not clearly trying to pass off the prefatory material as a piece of original work. The assignment was to review Mann.

    I’d not report such a case to the dean. I would dock the student 1 full grade and expect a rewrite. And, I’d probably force them to give me all drafts on future work.
    having done my fair share of these ( back when you had to spot plagarism by changes in style) That was typically what I would do in these cases.

  28. Michael Larkin says:

    Tom,

    Thanks for the article, but you might like to review it – it’s a bit garbled and repetetive in places. Maybe some kind of formatting glitch?

  29. mrsean2k says:

    Leaving aside the fact that this is insubstantial WRT the reasoning and conclusions of the report, how serious is not correctly citing the group efforts at Wikipedia and how is it remedied?

    Or put another way, what should Wegman (or one of Wegman’s, ahem, proxies) have done in the first place to avoid this desperate coal-raking some years down the line?

    Wikipedias guidance on the subject is that for short excerpts (3 – 4 sentences is the example), no attribution is required; for longer excerpts, the source should be attributed under the license specified, CC-BY-SA (I had a link but it was rejected)

    So, many of the excerpts may require no attribution of any kind.

    And this is the situation now; what the prevailing conditions were at the time the report was compiled, I don’t know, but I’d be very surprised if it had been *more* rigorous; the norms and mores surrounding use of Wikipedia would certainly have evolved in he intervening years.

    No story to tell from Wikipedia’s angle.

    From the pespective of any readers, they are misled to the extent that they would not have known the text came from Wikipedia. No-one is saying that text is incorrect or inappropriate either.

    In short then, the conclusion we should draw is that SHORT-CENTRED PRINCIPAL COMPONENTS ANALYSIS IS BIASED AND CAN PRODUCE HOCKEY STICKS FROM RED NOISE.

    I forget where I found that quote. Sorry.

  30. Steven mosher says:

    Mike:

    The Bradley material WAS attributed. The failing there was not plagarism but rather copyright violation. And the failure to use quotation where it would be required.

    But be careful those words of bradley have appeared elsewhere without attribution.

  31. davidmhoffer says:

    On the one hand I am pleased to learn that this most recent criticism of Wegman’s report is as hollow as that which came before it, I can’t help but be bothered by this question:

    Does the debunking of Mann’s hockey stick (and in a similar vein, the questions surrounding CRU and GISS temperature records) help or hinder the skeptic argument?

    Strangely, I think it hinders it. The real argument is in regard to the warming effects of CO2 on the planet. We’ve allowed ourselves to be diverted into a debate regarding tree rings, temperature records, polar bear extinction, and so on. The “evidence” can’t be debunked as fast as it can be manufactured.

    I don’t particularly care if the planet has warmed recently or not. It did it before, it will do it again, and the same goes for cooling. The question is, how much of the variability is a result of human CO2 emissions? That should be the front and center argument in any discussion of AGW, yet we let the warmists hijack the agenda with all sorts of stories that make little sense when one confronts the facts.

    1. The temperature record cannot be correlated with CO2 increases.
    2. If 100% of the reported warming of the last 100 years is attributed to CO2 increases and nothing else, then sensitivity is on the order of 1 degree per doubling or less, and the magnifying effect of water vapour, if any, is included in that.
    3. CO2 is logarithmic, hence the reference to doubling, even in the IPCC reports. The amount of CO2 required to elevate temperatures to a dangerous level is, therefore, quite beyond the capacity of human beings to produce, even if that were our only goal for fossil fuel consumption.

    That the warmists are reduced to crying foul over what at best is a minor case of plagiarism that changes the results of the document not one bit is a sign of just how desperate the warmists are in diverting attention from the real issue. Even their own data doesn’t support CAGW.

  32. Steve Koch says:

    Mashey’s allegations are primarily intended to discredit Wegman right before he testifies before Congress in January in the ClimateGate hearings. The vast majority of American citizens won’t understand the details, they will just read the headline about Wegman being investigated for plagiarism. That is the way the left plays politics in the USA.

    Of course Wegman quoted much text from Mashey, Wegman was analyzing Mashey’s work. Wegman’s team should have not been so sloppy about attribution but a lot of pro bono work is done not quite as rigorously as it should be. Let’s be clear, Wegman was not publishing original research in his area of research, he was merely auditing substandard work and pointing out the flaws in the audited work. Anyway, Wegman will be cleared of the charges and much more motivated to do a good job come January.

    From a skeptic’s perspective, anything that draws attention to the work of Mann is good.

  33. Nick Stokes says:

    Steven mosher says: October 10, 2010 at 4:30 pm
    “But be careful those words of bradley have appeared elsewhere without attribution.”

    Do you know that? Steve McI has said that they appeared, but didn’t say anything about attribution. And the book source is inaccessible to me.

  34. bigcitylib says:

    Anthony wrote:

    “REPLY: It has yet to be determined if the issue is with Wegman himself of an assistant – Anthony”

    Wegman led the team and signed off on the report. The issue is with him.

    REPLY: Well, that’s not something you get to determine. George Mason University does. – Anthony

  35. a jones says:

    I don’t know the details of US, as opposed to UK, law although they are generally very similar in these matters.

    From what has been said here I gather this report was commissioned by Congress under whatever provisions of the committee: who then published it. As such it is a privileged document issued under the imprimatur of Congress and consequently no question of plagiarism or copyright can arise.

    Kindest Regards

  36. 1DandyTroll says:

    ‘a relatively new discipline called Social Network Analysis.’

    SNA is a collection of very old practices that “recently” was collected into a unified collection of “refined” approaches and given a nerdy-information-age-name. It’s like the label social engineering which just means how to fool information out of someone.

    What’s really funny with the statement is the concept of “relatively new” in a information-age context, since in the information-age context SNA is frakking old news. The weird thing is that the intelligence community who loves their labels can’t move on to the new stuff even though they’re mostly made up of jit-geeks-n-nerds. Of cours it’s only weird in the sense that society today give the bureaucrats the leeway it does even though everyone who remembers their history of ancient greek and roman society know full well that a shit load of the problems with advanced societies is too much information ordered in too old rules. Standard bureaucracy is always to blame as long as it’s designed by the old standards of being firm, fixed and stiff, but continuously applied to new standards, new information (and lest not forget that what once was deemed important has a tendency to end up on the nearest old and abused scrap heap rather quickly), new ideas, ideologies, morals, rules and regulations, hah even new formats for both the old and new information makes bureaucracy outdated faster ‘an light.

    Personally I think bureaucracy killed SNA as a viable option. Bureaucracy works when stuff don’t change too often because then bureaucracy has time to change with the time it lives in. The standardized definition of the bureaucracy version of SNA is how people behaved in their communication back in the day when interaction was more static like up to 1995. Today people interact amongst each other in like a fluid dynamic way in a chaos complexity environment. People interact, communicate, more and more whit each other, with whom ever even, based on how they feel at a specific point in time rather then by standardized (physical world) social formula.

    SNA I believe was dead even before it became live so to speak what with bureaucracy only is an effective filter for limiting information that can be standardized (was very effective during the height of the industrial mass production age) or put another way one-size fit all.

    SNA works when you keep it 19th century simple because then you only use standardized information and are only concerned with that information. Now days though people initiate a communication with each other because one reduced or uped the likeability level of someone else on some site and had to tell it to that someone who got uped or reduced or the person who got uped or reduced just has to know way he was uped or reduced, nine days later they’re bestest of frakking friends and have made it known to all their virtual friends and hopefully everyone else as well and preferably then some, and three days later they have no more contact. Maybe if every analyst also was a full blown behavior psychologist/scientist and into graphology, criminology, statistics, and what not, it could work but otherwise everything is just white noise because nobody really took the time to quantify red noise, instead the red noise the intelligence gatherer want is what’s predefined by what bureaucracy decided was important (i.e. what bureaucracy could standardize so to speak.)

    Why do you see so many red flags when it has been determined that you can only account for red flags in an environment of white noise consisting only of supposedly white flags?

  37. Lazar says:

    Steven Mosher,

    “I would not see it as plagarism for they are not clearly trying to pass off the prefatory material as a piece of original work.”

    plagiarism isn’t restricted to appropriation of ideas… when someone is copying an expression of ideas they are appropriating someone else’s ‘work’… expression comes under the definition of work… when you don’t use quotation marks you are laying claim to that expression… all definitions of plagiarism i’ve read cover this, e.g. from GMU’s Historical News Network

    “HNN Index: What Is Plagiarism?
    By HNN Staff

    Following are three definitions of plagiarism.

    [...]

    This is from the American Historical Association’s Statement on Standards of Professional Conduct. It is reprinted courtesy of the AHA.

    Plagiarism, then, takes many forms. The clearest abuse is the use of another’s language without quotation marks and citation. More subtle abuses include the appropriation of concepts, data, or notes

    [...]

    This is from Joseph Gibaldi and Walter S. Achtert, MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (3rd ed. New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 1988), pp. 21-25.

    The MLA Handbook defines plagiarism as the use of another person’s ideas or expressions in your writing without giving proper credit to the source. The word comes from the Latin word plagiarius (“kidnapper”), and Alexander Lindey defines it as “the false assumption of authorship: the wrongful act of taking the product of another person’s mind, and presenting it as one’s own” (Plagiarism and Originality [New York: Harper, 1952] 2).

    “In short, to plagiarize is to give the impression that you have written or thought something that you have in fact borrowed from someone else.” This can include paraphrasing, copying someone else’s writing word for word, or using ideas that aren’t your own without proper citation.

    [...]

    This is from the Manual of the American Psychological Association (Washington DC: American Psychological Association. 1995), 292-95.

    Plagiarism (Principle 6.22)

    Quotation marks should be used to indicate the exact words of another. Summarizing a passage or rearranging the order of a sentence and changing some of the words is paraphrasing. Each time a source is paraphrased, a credit for the source needs to be included in the text.

    The key element of this principle is that an author does not present the work of another as if it were his or her own work. This can extend to ideas as well as written words.”

  38. Jan Pompe says:

    Nick Stokes says:
    October 10, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    It’s not summarising climate papers – it’s a new topic and argument that the Wegman report is introducing.

    I agree it is a new topic but it is still part of a report on how the MBH paper and climate science in general has developed, so it is a still on the topic. He uses Social Network Analysis as a tool in much the same way I’d use the Unified Modeling Language when designing a database. He gives an explanation of the the terms, he is not in an way presenting Social Network Analysis as a concept he invented.

    I don’t think we can be considering this as plagiarism as defined in the Oxford:

    the wrongful appropriation or purloining and publication as one’s own, of the ideas, or the expression of the ideas… of another

    Though I would agree he should have included where he obtained his knowledge of the tool in the bibliography but I don’t think such an oversight meets the above defintion either.

  39. TerryS says:

    Charges of copyright infringement can only be brought by the copyright holder (or somebody acting on behalf of the copyright holder with their permission). Is the same true of plagiarism?

    If its only the original author who can bring charges of plagiarism then Bradley can only raise a complaint about his material. Any other allegations of plagiarism would have to be made by the authors of the other material (for example wikipedia).

    If anybody can bring charges, without the original authors consent, then this could open a whole new can of worms. Since this lets-distract-from-the-findings-of-the-report-gate started I’ve seen people posting many examples of the team freely copying parts of each others work without citation or attribution (see ZT’s comment above for example). This would mean that anybody could raise a charge of plagiarism for each and every example and there isn’t anything the original authors could do about it.

  40. Lazar says:

    Wiki;

    “Definition of plagiarism
    Plagiarism isn’t identical to copyright infringement. Material from the public domain still needs to be attributed properly.

    Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary defines the act of plagiarizing a source as follows:[2]

    transitive verb:
    1) to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own
    2) use (another’s production) without crediting the source.”

  41. Jimmy Haigh says:

    Here’s a wquestion to all the warmists poring over the Wegman report. Now that you have read it, what do you say to its conclusions?

  42. bob says:

    The accusation of Wegman committing plagiarism is one of those “So What?” issues.

    Just because Wegman may have copied some Wikipedia or other source does not mean it was plagiarism. It was not presented as his own original academic work.

    At most it was improperly referenced material. This does not rise to the level of the dishonesty of the IPCC in making up non-existent sources, or including shallow, non-pier reviewed sources.

    Wegman’s work is honest, and makes a vital point. Mann’s work is BS, and Wegman showed too much respect for Mann’s work by not calling it fraudulent.

    The level of panic in such shallow assertions as Mashey’s doesn’t fool anyone. AGW advocates don’t worry about facts. They just attack the messenger. What kind of mentality is that?

  43. Roy Clark says:

    The basic point that seems to be lost here is that the hockey stick is dead. There is no causal relationship between the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration and the increase in meteorological surface air temperature (MSAT). There was just a coinicidence between an increase in ocean surface temparatures that influenced the MSAT and the CO2 concentration that has now ended.
    The issue now is that the ghost of the dead hockey stick still lives on in the bowels of the climate astrology models disguised as radiative forcing constants. That is where the real global warming fraud now resides.

  44. pwl says:

    I am using words in this sentence that come from the English language; each word has a rich history and often various meanings exploited in many works before I emitted these copies of the words here. Each sentence of every book I’ve ever read or that you’ve ever read also contains words of similar pedigree. Yet we don’t bother to provide citations for each work we’ve read where we learned of these words since we started learning words now do we? There are many situations where we don’t cite things at all and many cases where we do. More often than not it’s the meanings of the words that matter, not the source. While I cite where I quote from many people don’t as a practical matter and as a matter of style.

    As for reports meant for Congress would not the meaning be more important than exactly how it was cited? Or does the report all of a sudden become null and void?

    Is it claimed that the allegedly cited material which lacks citation is fabricated science or incorrect science somehow?

    Would not a revised version with an erratum be permissible to be published? Book authors and publishers of many technical books in my twenty plus bookshelf library provide errata and revised versions with corrections. Heck authors such as Donald Knuth offered a $2.56 reward for each error found. Assuming that the lack of an expected citation by some would be deserving of a reward the person who, ahem found such, would need to ask the authors if they are giving said rewards out.

    Certainly if failing to provide a reference for quoted material is of grave concern what about the meaning of the report itself? Surely it’s meaning is still valid regardless of the source of the materials? Or because it lacks a citation the flaws it points out in Mann’s bad science suddenly become alright and acceptable? I think not.

    So it’s nothing more than a forgotten reference. Move along, nothing to see except the relevant contents that slam Mann to the mat for his fabricated science.

    With nothing better to do the real deep climate deniers should really learn to focus on the actual science rather than diverting attention with a few valid yet not properly cited references which can be corrected with the issuance of a new version of the report fully annotated. Mann’s science on the other hand is seriously flawed due to it’s methodology and little Mann can do will ever fix it up to be valid science since it’s been falsified left, right and center by Nature herself too boot (see Girma Orrsenago’s papers).

    No works were copied in here. Any words or sequences of words that appear here that also appear elsewhere are the result of multiple groups of 100 monkey’s typing their tiny fingers off. Every word used was learned by me from some source of material long forgotten thus I can’t cite where I learned it from. Some words like the word word were likely learned in grade school but I don’t remember which one. So shoot me. Also I’ve not provided the definitions of any of the words used in this comment so you’ll have to figure out which meanings for each word I meant. Oh, and while I mentioned the works of a couple of scientists I’ve not listed any references to their materials, for that you’ll have to look up their works. This is the internet after and you have a bing googler you can yahoo! Besides alarmists rarely define their terms and haven’t provided as far as I’ve seen in years of looking even a basic definition in writing of their alleged alarmist CAGW hypotheses; there seems to be more than one and they keep changing which can’t be a good sign as Feynman pointed out. It’s more like the alarmists are in a climate of changing hypotheses as each one is debunked. Damn another science reference not referred to with a citation. So shoot me.

  45. David A. Evans says:

    Wegman: Using Social Networking Analysis as a tool…..
    Polly: WTF??
    Wegman: quotes above PD from Wiki
    Polly: OK carry on.

    Dave.

  46. DL says:

    I have been a victim of plagiarism.

    I described my work to a professor at a major university. He seemed to show little interest and so I put the meeting out of my mind. About a year later, I attended a local conference at which the professor gave a talk describing his new work. I was very surprised to hear my ideas bing described with no modification. He had a year to work on the ideas but had not made any progress. A short time after the talk, the professor and I crossed paths in the exhibition area outside of one of the lecture halls. We made eye contact and it was clear that we both knew what was going on. I had made progress on the ideas in the year but he was still spouting the same ideas that I had told him a year before under a signed non-disclosure.

    I was even more surprised a year later when I opened a Scientific American in a bookstore near my home. There was a major article describing the professor’s work. My ideas were still there and in much the same state as they had been when I told him about them years before.

    I also know of some one who went to a C level engineering manager to obtain advice on how to make an idea known within a research organization. He was surprised when he then saw a report from the manager describing these ideas and attributing them to himself. He complained to the divisional VP who took care of the matter.

    I was a victim of plagiarism and I know the effect of the idea theft. I did the hard work and a lazy professor stole the result of that work. I know what plagiarism is. I do not see any plagiarism in the descriptions of Wegman’s report. he did not try to obtain credit for the work of others. he did not attempt to steal any ideas.

  47. Robert E. Phelan says:

    TerryS says:
    October 10, 2010 at 5:07 pm
    No, Terry, charging plagiarism is not restricted to original authors. When a student, for example, plagiarizes a term paper, the instructor has the option of filing charges even though it is not his work being misappropriated. It is in fact a positive obligation on every academic to expose intellectual dishonesty whenever it occurs.

  48. Eric Anderson says:

    AntoonDV said:
    “Plagiarism means using the exact words, opinions, or factual information from another person without giving that person credit.”

    Fair enough. Let’s also keep in mind that there is a concept of generally-understood information in a field. A physicist who writes a book and has an introductory chapter on basic physics concepts would likely in that chapter include much information, even descriptions, that are very similar to what a thousand other people have said before. But if it is generally-understood information in the field, it is not necessary to scour the world to determine if someone else wrote about it first and then cite them.

    Where it crosses the line is with the word “exact” in the university’s definition you cite (and “exact” doesn’t have to be quite “exact’ in the logical sense; taking a long passage with only minimal changes would be “exact” enough). In cases where exact language, or specific opinions or factual information that is not generally known in the field come into play, a citation, reference or acknowledgement is appropriate.

    It sounds like there are some passages in Wegman’s report that cross that line, just as there is a similar situation with Team members that ZT cites at 3:49 above. If so, Wegman should acknowledge the failure to cite/refer/acknowledge and strive to do better.

    Now, then, the question is whether Wegman’s analysis of the hockey stick is affected as a result? Well, we might have slightly less trust in Wegman’s ability to be scrupulously accurate in everything he wrote, so in that sense it is relevant. But only just barely. On the substance of the statistical critique of the hockey stick, the analysis remains and the main thrust of the Wegman report stands.

    I have to agree with some commenters that the Team can’t be happy with all this renewed attention being paid to the Wegman report. It will come back to bite them.

  49. Eric Anderson says:

    TerryS, AFAIK, plagiarism is not an actionable offense under the law. Rather, it is an academic standard. So the institution that oversees the standard for that particular individual is responsible for reviewing the issue and giving out any exoneration/punishment it determines. It is not the case that the individual whose work was cited is the only party who can claim plagiarism. A third party could complain, the institution itself could initiate a review, etc.

  50. hunter says:

    In my experience of observing some pretty vigorous social movements, the ones who cry ‘conspiracy’ the most are the ones engaging in it.
    AGW promoters, from Hansen to Gore to Mann, to Pachurai, to Obama to Holdren all depend on conspiracy to keep their faithful in line.
    AGW is a fascinating social dysfunction.

  51. Nick Stokes says:

    Elise says: October 10, 2010 at 3:47 pm
    “@Nick
    short-centred principal components analysis is biased and can produce hockey sticks from red noise”

    Elise, tell me more. Who do you think has actually used “short-centred principal components? And when?

    Actually, the wide circulation of Montford’s eccentric phrase “short-centred” is a giveaway. A lot of “let’s talk about the science” is just parroting.

    But OK – Mann used decentred normalisation in 1998, probably by mistake. It isn’t a good idea, and the many reconstructions since that have shown a hockey-stick shape did not use it. Several of these were published prior to Wegman’s report. So Wegman’s structures against it are just empty.

    But to complete that, Wahl and Ammann in 2006 showed that even if you analysed the Mann’s original data with centred normalisation, and with more PC’s (MBH lack of which was also criticised) it made very little difference.

    So what else did Wegman say? Social Networks Analysis? Or was that someone else?

  52. Jimmy Haigh says:

    DL says:
    October 10, 2010 at 6:11 pm
    I have been a victim of plagiarism.

    Me too.

  53. Smokey says:

    bigcitylib says:

    “Wegman led the team and signed off on the report. The issue is with him.”

    Not in all circumstances. If I may speculate? Thank you:

    For instance, if a postdoc had been given an assignment to write a preliminary report based on the Wegman et al. findings, and cut ‘n’ pasted parts to make his job easier, he probably wouldn’t go to the boss and admit it.

    If someone cut corners but did not make Prof Wegman aware of it, you might re-think your absolute statement above. There are always exceptions, no? Certainly Prof Wegman would not accept any work product that he knew had been copied; why not just use it and give an attribution? If it turns out as you believe, that Wegman fiendishly schemed to purloin the intellectual property of others and deliberately refused to give them attribution, then he deserves whatever he gets.

    But that is far from proven, in fact the different rules and opinions being quoted here show that there isn’t even agreement that anything improper has been done. In that case the accusation is a baseless diversion.

    The real problem is Michael Mann’s deliberate selection of bad proxies like the upside-down Tiljander series, and using much smaller, carefully selected tree ring samples out of the large number readily available. This chart shows the hockey stick result of cherry-picking a few trees, compared to using the whole data base. And Mann knew beforehand about the sediment problem in Tijlander, but he went ahead and published using bad data anyway, because it gave him the hockey stick he was looking for.

    Prof Wegman is one individual. If he’s as bad as you claim, it will come out and he’ll be toast. But if he’s brought front and center and found to be innocent, the spotlight will naturally turn to the misappropriation of taxpayer funds that originally involved Prof Wegman in this. If Mann skewed his results to obtain more funding by knowingly using faulty data to falsely show six centuries of flat temperatures, then that needs investigating. And it must be in an adversarial setting, with witnesses called by both sides. Otherwise it will be either a whitewash or a kangaroo court.

    Mann’s chart made the current natural cyclical upswing of a few tenths of a degree appear to be extremely alarming. He greatly benefitted as a result. When the hand-waving about Wegman is settled, we can get back to the main focus: Wegman’s statistical methods and conclusions have never been falsified.

  54. CRS, Dr.P.H. says:

    I thought Sen. Inhofe’s Minority Report on CRU Emails was an excellent example of how to cite references to Congress. If you’ve never downloaded & read this one, it is well worth your time!

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/02/23/climategate-minority-report/

    I agree with Eric@ 6:19 pm that “…plagiarism is not an actionable offense under the law. Rather, it is an academic standard.” However, plagiarism is increasingly being used in the political arena to discredit opponents. It implies, but does not prove, dishonest intent.

    Please see http://blog.ithenticate.com/2010/09/plagiarism-could-impact-midterm-elections/

  55. Policyguy says:

    A review of Bradley’s letter would be helpful, but my first impression was that his claim extended only to his own words. Bradley is the key here, not Mashy, even if he is trying to bootstrap and pile on to Bradley’s letter to obfuscate its resolution.

    Also, why is this university involved? It had no part in this report. Their employment relationship did not extend to this report. Is the GWU willingly stepping in to save the TEAM?

  56. intrepid_wanders says:

    Let me see if I can get this right…

    “never in the field of academic endeavour has so much citation been owed to so little actual content”

    -Anonymous (AKA Doug) via the Fanged Furry Death Site.

    …close?

  57. Smokey says:

    Nick Stokes says:

    “But OK – Mann used decentred normalisation in 1998, probably by mistake. It isn’t a good idea, and… etc.”

    Ah. The incompetence defense…

  58. Steven Mosher says:

    Lazar says:
    October 10, 2010 at 5:05 pm (Edit)
    Steven Mosher,

    “I would not see it as plagarism for they are not clearly trying to pass off the prefatory material as a piece of original work.”

    plagiarism isn’t restricted to appropriation of ideas… when someone is copying an expression of ideas they are appropriating someone else’s ‘work’… expression comes under the definition of work… when you don’t use quotation marks you are laying claim to that expression… all definitions of plagiarism i’ve read cover this, e.g. from GMU’s Historical News Network…

    #############
    when I say ” I would not consider it to be plagiarism” you do not win points by directing me to definitions. I’m fully aware of the definitions. I am saying this.
    As a person who had to decide on whether to bring my students up on charges, as a person in my department who people came to to figure out whether or not students plagiarized, I am telling you this: I would not consider it plagiarism. In full possession of the definitions you give I would still not consider it to be plagiarism.
    By that I mean I would not refer such a case for charges.

  59. u.k.(us) says:

    The citizens of The United States of America are being intentionally misled, by some of its elected/appointed officials. Treason, due to the scope of possible damages, may best describe some policies, rather than pure incompetence.
    Plagiarism be damned, this is now a fight for freedom.

  60. boballab says:

    For those like Nick Stokes that likes to keep pointing to a an old revision of the Wikipedia article on Social Networks (but not the one where was added to Wikipedia), you might want to go over to the Air Vent and look in the comments:

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2010/10/09/as-copygate-turns/

    Myself and others have found the so called wiki paragraph in other publications, books and journals prior to Wikipedia having it, Wikipedia just changed the words a little. Here is an example from a Masters Thesis done in March of 2005 and put on the Web in April 2005 (page 26):

    Figure 2-2. Social Networks
    The shape of the social network has been found to be a key factor in a network’s
    usefulness to the individuals it includes. Smaller tighter networks, for example, can
    actually be less useful to their members than networks with lots of loose connections
    (weak ties) to other individuals outside the main network. More “open” networks,
    with many weak ties and social connections, are more likely to introduce new ideas
    and opportunities to their members than closed networks with many redundant ties.

    http://www.ics.forth.gr/isl/publications/paperlink/papag.pdf

    Another example from Sept 2 of 2005 (4 days prior to Wikipedia adding it on the 6th):

    The shape of the social network helps determine its usefulness to its members. Smaller, tighter networks can be less useful than networks with lots of loose connections to individuals outside the main network. More “open” networks, with many weak ties and social connections, are more likely to introduce new ideas and opportunities than closed networks with many redundant ties.

    http://www.knowledgestreet.com/Knowledge_Street_Report_-_BLL_ikonnect.pdf

    What is interesting is that both papers basically say the same thing but they have no references in common in their bibliography and they do not have a cite on those paragraphs either to the place they got them from.

  61. Doug Badgero says:

    Dumbest debate ever:

    1. Nothing alleged changes any conclusions reached.

    2. As stated by others (a jones, 4:48pm), this was a congressional report and no plagiarism or copyright infringement can apply.

  62. Julian Flood says:

    Well, I think this is a very good idea. When all the AGW proponents begin to flee the CO2 paradigm, and need a new home, they will have to reference me and the Kriegesmarine Hypothesis every time they refer to ocean surface pollution changing albedo, aerosol production, cloud physics and wind/surface engagement.

    Off topic a little: I wish Lindzen would not embrace the ‘denier’ word. ‘Dissident’, Professor, you are a climate dissident. The first word has unpleasant connotations, the second is all positive, romantic, and has the advantage of being really irritating to those who would rather you toed the party line.

    JF

  63. jeef says:

    Does any charge of plagiarism affect the substance of Wegman’s report, or is it merely a case of throwing mud at a wall? Looks to me that the result is not in doubt, so our alarmist friends are just hoping some of the mud sticks.

  64. David A. Evans says:

    You know, this comes to mind…

    DaveE.

  65. Robert E. Phelan says:

    boballab says:
    October 10, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    Let’s put this in perspective. Social Networking Analysis is NOT new. Ferdinand Toennies wrote about networks in the 1880s. Wegman’s text could easily date from the 1960′s or even earlier, making it “common knowledge”

  66. boballab says:

    Robert E. Phelan says:
    October 10, 2010 at 7:53 pm
    boballab says:
    October 10, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    Let’s put this in perspective. Social Networking Analysis is NOT new. Ferdinand Toennies wrote about networks in the 1880s. Wegman’s text could easily date from the 1960′s or even earlier, making it “common knowledge”

    When trying to find exactly how far back in time that particular paragraph reached (found one example from Nov 2004) I kept seeing references to works dating back to the 1930′s. The ancient roots of SNA plus finding examples of that particular paragraph all over the place, with no citations, led me to believe it is basically something that comes from a text book from back in the past.

  67. DL says:

    Nick Stoke says

    =========================
    But to complete that, Wahl and Ammann in 2006 showed that even if you analysed the Mann’s original data with centred normalisation, and with more PC’s (MBH lack of which was also criticised) it made very little difference
    ==========================

    The short centred PCA mined for the hockey stick shape and found it in PC1. it is the bristlecones. Standard PCAs do not mine for hockey sticks and therefore the bristlecone factor was demoted to PC4. Now Mann was presented with a problem, He needed the bristlecone PC but it had been demoted. So what was his solution — he used more PCs.So Mann had his solution, he could keep the bristlecones by using more PCs and so a rule was found to keep more PCs. Why 5 PCs and not 1; well why not; – well why not 50; why not 100 why not keep them all? As long as the bruslecones are there and you can claim that they represent temperature; all is right with the world.

    So the shape of NA temperature history is revealed by examining tree rings in a particular stand of bristlecone pines in the southwestern US. That the bristlecones on the next mountain over do not exhibit the bristlecone shape is a topic that is not mentioned in polite company or around nervous climatologists.

    A major difference between climatatolgy and scientific disciplines is that in science progress is made by falsifying ideas. In climatology nobody can admit that a result or theory has been falsified. it is always that the falsification makes “very little difference”

  68. Kevin says:

    “Overall the network includes 112 proxies, and each series has been formatted into annual mean anomalies relative to the reference period used for this data, 1902-1980.”

    When compared to MBH98, page 779, it does indeed look similar:

    “The long instrumental records have been formed into annual mean anomalies relative to the 1902–80 reference period, …”

    Doh. I honestly had no idea that was plagiarism. I thought it had to be verbatim to be plagiarism. Man, I used the plagiarize the hell out of my history reports in school.

  69. Nick Stokes says:

    boballab says: October 10, 2010 at 7:16 pm
    “For those like Nick Stokes …you might want to go over to the Air Vent and look in the comments:”

    Bob, I saw that, and was quite interested in what you had found. But I couldn’t see how the origins of the Wiki article are relevant. Could a student caught pasting a Wiki article into an assignment escape by arguing that the Wiki article wasn’t original?

    The real issue is that the Wegman report was supposed to represent the considered opinion of an eminent statistician, and so to carry weight. If it turns out to include stuff pasted from Wiki, people feel cheated. And it really doesn’t help to say that the pasting was done by junior interns.

  70. Rattus Norvegicus says:

    The fact remains that the text on SNA was copied wholesale from the Wikipedia article as it existed in January of 2006 w/o attribution. This is clearly plagiarism of the first order and is an attempt to cover up a lack of expertise in this area, just as the lifting of text from Bradley was an attempt to cover up a lack of expertise in the area of paleoclimate reconstruction.

    Wegman might have been a fine participant on the NRC panel, but heading up a report on an area of science about which he knew nothing was not an appropriate assignment. He just compounded the problems by venturing into another area, SNA, about which he knew nothing. These facts bring into question all of his conclusions except the criticism of Mann’s use of improperly centered PCA, and even that is questionable since he ignored a comment from one of his “reviewers” which suggested that he redo the Mann analysis using properly centered PCA (something which Wahl and Ammann did do and showed that it had no effect on the conclusions of the papers in question). All of this is covered in the Mashey report.

    The litigation mentioned in the USA Today article appears to be connected with Elsevier as mentioned in Donald Rapp’s somewhat intemperate comment in the threat attached to that article. So yes, copyright violations appear to be involved with regards to the wholesale copying from Bradley’s text.

  71. boballab says:

    Nick Stokes says:
    October 10, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    Nick you missed the point. You keep stating that Wegman took it from Wiki, however since we have shown that Wiki isn’t the original source and that Wiki did not Cite where they took it from, you can not prove the Wegman report lifted it from there, they could have taken it from one of the other places I found it such as this:

    The shape of a social network helps determine a network’s usefulness to its individuals. Smaller, tighter networks can be less useful to their members than networks with lots of loose connections to individuals outside the main network.

    More open networks, with many weak ties and social connections, are more likely to introduce new ideas and opportunities to their members than closed networks with many redundant ties.

    http://clicks.weebly.com/social-networking.html

    That comes from a link dated Nov 2004. So until we can trace it back to the original source we have no clue where the Wegman report got it from. Also take notice that each one of these links that I found that date prior to the Wiki Article including it on Sept 6, 2005 do not cite where they got it from, so that paragraph could be as common in people studying Social Networks as E=MC squared in Physics. Now do I need to cite where I got the equation E=MC squared to show where it came from? Oh look it’s on Wikipedia I must have plagiarized it from them:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass%E2%80%93energy_equivalence

    Getting the point now?

  72. juanslayton says:

    DL says:
    I have been a victim of plagiarism.

    Jimmy Haigh says:
    Me too.

    I say:
    Me too.

    It was back around ’55, in my eighth grade math class. C. Skinner would regularly plagiarize my test answers, that is, until the day I experimented with a little double booking–one test paper conspicuously displayed with close-but-no-cigar answers, and a second surreptitious page with the right answers, destined to be turned in. Sometime plagiarism carries its own reward. : >)
    But tell me, how much of MBH 98 would any competent statistician want to plagiarize?

  73. boballab says:

    Rattus Norvegicus says:
    October 10, 2010 at 9:22 pm
    The fact remains that the text on SNA was copied wholesale from the Wikipedia article as it existed in January of 2006 w/o attribution. This is clearly plagiarism of the first order and is an attempt to cover up a lack of expertise in this area, just as the lifting of text from Bradley was an attempt to cover up a lack of expertise in the area of paleoclimate reconstruction.

    just like I pointed out to Nick, you can not prove that Wegman took it from Wikipedia since Wikipedia is not the original source and they did not cite it either. Since you can’t seem to grasp this basic point, it means Wikipedia copied it from somewhere else.

    Now are going to tell me you have read the mind of everyone involved in the Wegman report and know for a fact that they took it from Wikipedia? or could it possibly be they took it from the same place Wikipedia did? Do you know where Wikipedia got it? coulfd it have been from a paper or book that a member of the Wegman committee wrote?

    Until we know where that passage originated from and who wrote it, you can not state as fact that Wegman (the person) plagiarized it from Wikipedia. That is why you need to wait for the investigation to go forward and to interview the committee members as well as look at any notes and records the committee used to see where it came from.

  74. Phil. says:

    And to put their error into perspective, let’s look at how other independent professionals describe social networking analysis without attributing each other:

    Social network analysis is concerned with understanding the linkages among social entities and the implications of these linkages. The social entities are referred to as actors that are represented by the vertices of the graph.
    Wegman Report

    It is concerned with understanding the linkages among social entities and the implications of these linkages. The social entities are referred to as actors that are represented by the vertices of the graph. Most social network applications consider a collection of vertices that are all of the same
    WK Sharabati

    Hardly independent!

  75. Nick Stokes says:

    boballab says: October 10, 2010 at 9:28 pm
    “Getting the point now?”

    No, not at all. The point is that the text is presented as Wegman’s, and isn’t. To say it is of unknown provenance, rather than from Wiki, is not helpful at all.

  76. davidmhoffer says:

    Poor Nick Stokes. He feels cheated because Wegman may possibly have copied a definition of something.

    Tell me Nick, did you feel cheated when you found out that the bristle cone pines were discredited? How about when the statistical analysis turned out to be so poorly done that incompetance barely explained it? Did you feel cheated upon learning about a reconstruction that turned out to be based on just 7 trees, with 50% of the weighting from just one? Did you feel cheated when you learned that 60 years of tree ring data had been quietly replaced with thermometer readings because the tree rings “diverged” but we’re still supposed to accept the previous 940 years as accurate?
    Really Nick? A definition in common use was possibly copied from somewhere which changes the conclusions not one bit and you feel cheated? Because of a skipped foot note? If Mann’s work had stood up, Copenhagen would have resulted in 20% or so of your pay cheque being transferred to people like Robert Mugabe. Would that make you feel better?

  77. Glenn says:

    Nick Stokes says:
    October 10, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    “Here’s just one of the para’s taken from Wikipedia “Social Networks”

    Nick, you’ve just implicated Wikipedia in plagiarism. I did some research, the paragraph in question, with minor changes, has been on Wiki unreferenced from 30Oct2004 to 3July2008, when it was footnoted as you would see it now
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_network
    “Scott, John. 1991. Social Network Analysis. London: Sage.”

    The Wiki user who originally entered it wrote
    “The shape of the social network has been found to be a key factor in a network’s usefulness to the individuals it includes. Tighter networks, for example, are actually less useful to their members than networks with lots of empty spaces (social holes) or loose connections to other individuals outside the main network (weak ties). More open networks, with many weak ties and social holes, are more likely to introduce new ideas and opportunities to their members than closed networks with many redundant ties. In other words, a group of friends who only do things with each other already share the same knowledge and opportunities. A group of individuals where each has connections to other social worlds is likely to have access to a wider range of information.”

    Seems that User’s last contribution was that same day in 2004, and left a question about where he got it from unanswered
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Goodoldpolonius

    This still leaves the next paragraphs in question. Goodoldpolonius did leave an “external link” (not specific to the paragraphs in question):
    “Introduction to Social Network Methods (PDF) is a free online textbook that explains the details of social network theory.”

    This goes to a UCR.edu server, file not found. Today the second paragraph is not footnoted, but the third is, to
    “Wasserman, Stanley, and Faust, Katherine. 1994. Social Network Analysis: Methods and Applications. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.”

    Make up your own mind where Wiki got all this, whether it is correct, and whether Wegman plagiarized someone else’s writing. It may be a good guess, but Wiki isn’t the place for evidence.

  78. Myrrh says:

    I thought students weren’t allowed to quote wiki, because unattributed. It can be made up by anyone.

    But if what is being disputed here is simply bog standard knowledge of the background then how is this any reflection on the skills Wegman brought to this?

  79. LightRain says:

    Whatever. You guys are splitting hairs and you’re all falling into the trap of divide and conquer. The warmers want to create dissension and take the spotlight off of the real point. The more they can do that the less lethal the result to their cause.

    The quibbling is about a technical detail, forget it and concentrate on the end result.

  80. anna v says:

    Lets take translations. Can there be an accusation of plagiarism in translations?
    Particularly poem translations.

    I will give you an example. There exist translations of poetry from greek to english on the net. I found that my favorite greek poet was translated woodenly. All it needed was a shift in syntax and a change in a few words to make it closer to the original spirit of the poem. I did it and put it up on the web ( as a physicist I do not publish on poems :) ), never thinking of attributing the first translation, since google translate would do about the same job of finding words from the dictionary.

    Where does plagiarism accusation stop?

    The introductory paragraphs that are used for the accusation, as far as I can see could be entries from an encyclopedia. If so it should have been in the bibliography. If it is from standard textbooks they should have been in the bibliography. I doubt it that any students used the Wiki: even if they went there for first information they would go to the source for confirmation. Who trusts wiki? Now if they found the paragraph in one of the bibliographies of wiki they should have quoted the text book.

    btw I would be happy if somebody plagiarized :) my translations of the poems. It is the need to have the spirit correct and not the attribution that is important, and as far as I can see the spirit is correct in the report.

  81. Glenn says:

    Rattus Norvegicus says:
    October 10, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    “The fact remains that the text on SNA was copied wholesale from the Wikipedia article as it existed in January of 2006 w/o attribution. This is clearly plagiarism of the first order and is an attempt to cover up a lack of expertise in this area”

    No, that is neither clear nor a fact, at least not on the evidence of a Wiki article that Wiki later cites as belonging to someone else. As to your claim of covering up a lack of expertise in the area of social networking, the Wegman Report prefaced the section with “2.3 Background on Social Networks”. Even assuming he plagiarized parts wouldn’t indicate a lack of expertise, nor was he claiming original work with respect to social networks, but provided a primer to Congress.

  82. Doubting Thomas says:

    Mann publicly admitted on BBC that his hockey-stick graph was so uncertain that it should not have become an icon of the climate movement. The graph itself shows these huge uncertainties; a flat line can be dawn through the middle of the gray-colored uncertainty background. Furthermore, any reasonable person instantly suspected the appending of the instrument record to the end of the paleo-record. Why not just show the paleo record without the instrument record? Mann’s work is clearly highly uncertain and clearly cannot be taken for the proposition that it has gotten significantly warmer. Even if it could, it tells us nothing about CO2 caused warming. Except, as Mosher pointed out, is does show that climate sensitivity to CO2 MUST be very low.

    The Weggman report is a report to congress not a scholarly paper. The only valid question one can ask of the report is this; was it correct in stating that the hockey-stick was invalid? However, since Mann publicly admitted early this year that the results were too uncertain to constitute a valid icon of the movement, any further discussion is moot and probably aimed causing confusion in the very important legal investigation of Mann’s use of federal and state grant money.

    Of course, if Mann is guilty of gaming the grant-process that will tell us nothing about the validity of his work. But, since he admitted that the work was so uncertain as to be virtually worthless, we really don’t need to ask that question anymore.

    We seem to be arguing for the sake of argument. Personally I think Mashey can be safely ignored. Let GMU sort it out.

    dT

  83. boballab says:

    Glenn says:
    October 10, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    Glenn if you look up that broken reference in google you can find that document, it’s an online textbook and the paragraphs in question do not appear in it. Here is the document:
    http://www.analytictech.com/networks.pdf

    Nick are you taking the position that Wegman wrote the entire report himself without any input from the other committee members? You do realize that it was a committee?

    That means until you know which committee member did that work you can’t pin it any one member. Also you keep wanting to say he got it from Wikipedia without one piece of evidence that any of the committee members took that passage from wikipedia. For all we know one of the other committee members, David W. Scott for example, found that passage in the same place the person that inserted into the Wikipedia article. If that’s the case (and we have just as much evidence for that as your Wegman plagiarized Wikipedia theory) you got the wrong person, copying from the wrong source, hence Wegman will be cleared.

    Also you just stated he was passing it off as his own work. Nick the section it is in is titled:

    2.3 Background on Social Networks
    Networks, Relations and Structure

    http://noconsensus.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/07142006_wegman_report1.pdf

    and nowhere in that section does any of the committee members use the words my research or my work. It is given as a text book background for the readers of the report. You are implying motive not actually showing motive, because nowhere in that section do they claim it as their own work. In section 5 of the report is where they do their own work and they show it.

    I’m with Mosher on this, it was background that should have been cited for which text they took it out of but they were not trying to pass it off as their own research.

    Here is something interesting that I found when looking up Yasmin Said who was on the committee. He along with Dr. Wegman in 2008 wrote a paper on Social Network Analysis and in it they reference a Text book from 1994 that myself and one other had narrowed it down to as where we think Wikipedia might have got it from:

    Social networks of author-coauthor relationships
    Source Computational Statistics & Data Analysis archive
    Volume 52 , Issue 4 (January 2008) table of contents
    Pages: 2177-2184
    Year of Publication: 2008
    ISSN:0167-9473
    Authors
    Yasmin H. Said Department of Computational and Data Sciences, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA
    Edward J. Wegman Department of Computational and Data Sciences, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA
    Walid K. Sharabati Department of Computational and Data Sciences, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA
    John T. Rigsby Department of Computational and Data Sciences, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA
    Publisher
    Elsevier Science Publishers B. V. Amsterdam, The Netherlands, The Netherlands
    Bibliometrics
    Downloads (6 Weeks): n/a, Downloads (12 Months): n/a, Citation Count: 3

    REFERENCES
    Note: OCR errors may be found in this Reference List extracted from the full text article. ACM has opted to expose the complete List rather than only correct and linked references.

    Granovetter, 1973.
    The strength of weak ties. Amer. J. Sociology. v78. 1360-1380.

    Rigsby, 2005.
    Rigsby, J.T., 2005. Block Models and Allegiance, Thesis submitted to George Mason University in partial fulfillment of the M.S. in Statistical Science.

    Wasserman and Faust, 1994.
    Social Network Analysis: Methods and Applications. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

    Wegman et al., 2006.
    Wegman, E.J., Scott, D.W., Said, Y.H., 2006. Ad-hoc Committee Report on the ‘Hockey Stick’ Global Climate Reconstruction, A Report to Chairman Barton, House Committee on Energy and Commerce and to Chairman Whitfield, House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations: Paleoclimate Reconstruction.

    http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1316213

    I bolded the text book that it might have come from.

  84. Konrad says:

    It does seem bizarre to draw attention to the social networking section of the Wegman report with a claim of plagiarism against the background preface. Especially after the Climategate leak showed that the situation was worse than Wegman indicated. Perhaps the Weman report was deficient. Possibly it did not go far enough. Could it be that Mann’s email 31/10/03 which included the line -

    - Let’s let our supporters in higher places use our scientific response to push the broader case against M&M. -

    requires further investigation? Just who were these supporters in higher places?

  85. Bernd Felsche says:

    This looks like an exercise by a painter “Mashey” desperately trying to patch a portrait of Satan (Mann) to look like that of an Angel.

    Stop being an idiot, John.

  86. Gil Grissom says:

    Nick Stokes says;

    It isn’t a good idea, and the many reconstructions since that have shown a hockey-stick shape did not use it. Several of these were published prior to Wegman’s report. So Wegman’s structures against it are just empty.
    ————————————————————–
    Nick, Nick, Nick. It was only yesterday that I called you out on this. These studies that you keep claiming vindicate the hockey stick, have been shown to use the same false data (bristlecone pine trees) that the NAS has accepted should not be used as temperature proxies. Without them, and that tree in Yamal (YAD06) that is also an awful and improperly used temperature proxy, you don’t get a hockey stick! Yet on an almost daily basis you are posting to blogs trying to convince someone that these studies have supported Mann’s work, when you know that they are fatally flawed and worthless. These studies deliberately used the bristlecone pine data, and the YAD06 data knowing that it is incorrect to do so. Of course they knew that they had to include them to arrive at the desired conclusion. ;)
    Oh, and their statistical techniques were wrong too, as McShane and Wyner showed in their paper (they also included bristlecone pine data, and did NOT get a hockey stick!).
    And these studies were not meant to refute Wegman’s report, but McIntyre and McKitrick’s report in 2003. Wegman’s report wasn’t until at least 2006. So your statement to that effect was pretty meaningless.
    —————————————————————————-
    You also said;

    But to complete that, Wahl and Ammann in 2006 showed that even if you analysed the Mann’s original data with centred normalisation, and with more PC’s (MBH lack of which was also criticised) it made very little difference.
    —————————————————————————-
    Oh please. As shown many times on many blogs, etc., McShane and Wyner showed that it mattered greatly. A dozen corrupt, dishonest, and incompetent studies can’t change that. In the future, more and more people will come to believe McShane & Wyner, because their science (i.e. the mathematics) is correct, and will withstand the test of time. Their work was

    Like you accuse others of, almost everything you say is just empty. But worse than that, it is just plain dishonest.

  87. Steven Mosher says:

    Rattus Norvegicus says:
    October 10, 2010 at 9:22 pm (Edit)
    The fact remains that the text on SNA was copied wholesale from the Wikipedia article as it existed in January of 2006 w/o attribution. This is clearly plagiarism of the first order and is an attempt to cover up a lack of expertise in this area, just as the lifting of text from Bradley was an attempt to cover up a lack of expertise in the area of paleoclimate reconstruction.

    #########
    1. The purpose of quoting background material is NOT to establish that one has credentials in the area, but rather to establish that you have read the relavant texts.
    Nobody thought before or has since thought that Wegman was a paleo guy. He was brought on to assess the statistics. The purpose of the bradley text is NOT to establish Wegman’s credentials in paleo. The best evidence of this is how skeptics have USED his report. They dont argue that “wegman was an independent paleo guy” they argue, “wegamn was a statistician, correcting the paleo guys stats”

    So, your simply wrong about how the bradley text functions rhetorically. Freshman F.
    You have a self defeating argument. The SNA work.. that’s a different matter.

    Since I’m always chastising the skeptics here for focusing on weak arguments, I’ll suggest that the only meat in this story is in the SNA stuff.

  88. DirkH says:

    Wahl and Amman have been brought up.
    This is a helpful link about their paper:
    The Jesus paper
    (because it resurrects from the dead)
    Bishop Hill – Andrew Montfort http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2008/8/11/caspar-and-the-jesus-paper.html

    McIntyre had to ask them several times to have them include R2 in their paper; which they didn’t want to do because it was close to zero.

  89. Alexander K says:

    ‘Teacupgate’ overstates the importance of this very thinly-plotted and scored comic opera from Mashey et al – more like ‘Thimblegate’!

  90. stephen richards says:

    So Anthony, how does this proclamation compare to the use of your data etc from surfacestations by the US gov agencies without an form of ackowledgement. These people are pathetic. Oh and I note Stokes has had to poke at it. Unbelieveable.

  91. Steven Mosher says:

    Nick

    page 131, lloks like these guys stole from Bradley as well. If he expects to defend his copyright then he has to go after them as well. after all They are selling a BOOK with his words

    The Oxford Companion to Global Change, David Cuff and Andrew Goudie

    “Variations in tree-ring widths from one year to the next have long been recognized as an important source of chronological and climatic information. [See dendrochronology] The mean width of a ring in any one tree is a function of many variables, including the tree species, its age, the availability of stored nutrients in the tree and surrounding soil, and a host of climatic factors, including temperature, precipitation and availability of sunlight.”

    http://books.google.com/books?id=xuOdG6jNjl8C&printsec=frontcover&dq=The+Oxford+Companion+to+Global+Change,+David+Cuff+and+Andrew+Goudie&source=bl&ots=Diyr6QZJ4z&sig=rpgVS7pDCnSErZrzR-IM0Lx_c_g&hl=en&ei=JcGyTPanJ4KqsAOxq9WHDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&sqi=2&ved=0CBIQ6AEwAA#v=snippet&q=tree-ring%20%20%20%20&f=false

    NO attribution that I can see, unless [see dendrochronology counts]

    So, I expect Bradley to be incensed by this

  92. hro001 says:

    For Tom Lehrer fans … just substitute “socio” with “climate” (or dendro)

  93. mikep says:

    Nick Stokes says:

    “But OK – Mann used decentred normalisation in 1998, probably by mistake. It isn’t a good idea, and… etc.”

    Just to note that the idea that it was a mistake was raised with Mann et al by MacIntyre and Mckitrick. Mann denied that it was a mistake. And Mann used it again in 1999. And several other studies use Mann’s “PC1″ which is a short-centred PC. The real issue, which all the discussion of numbers of PCs avoids, is that a pattern of growth which in fact only arose from the bristlecone pines and their cousins, was represented as a major component of tree ring growth in the northern hemisphere instead of a peculiarity of a few groups of non-randomly sampled trees mainly from the south west of the US which did not even correlate with local temperature.

  94. Glenn says:

    Steven Mosher says:
    October 11, 2010 at 1:01 am

    You didn’t cite the source showing Bradley said that. And at the end of the section of Cuff and Goudie’s book on the next page after the quote, page 132 shows this:

    “Bradley, R.S. Quaternary Paleoclimatology: Methods of Paleoclimatic Reconstruction. Boston: Allen and Unwin, 1985.”

  95. Nick Stokes says:

    Steven Mosher says: October 11, 2010 at 1:01 am
    “No attribution that I can see”

    I can’t see whether there is or not. Maybe US users get to see a more complete version. All I see is a tiny window with a fragment of the para – no context at all. Various people, including Glenn, say there’s a reference on the next page – I don’t know how it is connected to the quote.

  96. Lazar says:

    Steven Mosher,

    “In full possession of the definitions you give I would still not consider it to be plagiarism.”

    … so, using a highly non standard definition of ‘plagiarism’, you would not consider it to be ‘plagiarism’… is what you’re saying… ok

  97. Glenn says:

    Nick Stokes says:
    October 11, 2010 at 3:33 am

    Steven Mosher says: October 11, 2010 at 1:01 am
    “No attribution that I can see”
    “I can’t see whether there is or not. Maybe US users get to see a more complete version. All I see is a tiny window with a fragment of the para – no context at all. Various people, including Glenn, say there’s a reference on the next page – I don’t know how it is connected to the quote.”

    Click on Steven’s link, click on p.131, scroll down one page. Look under the Bibliography. It appears this is an end of chapter bibliography. It isn’t correctly cited, of course, since readers do not know which parts are referenced to a particular source, so we really don’t know if the paragraph in question is attributed to Bradley. Which is why I asked for the Bradley paper containing the quote.

  98. Harry says:

    Plagiarism and copyright have no standing in reports to Congress. All of Mashey’s and DC’s public psychotherapy is based upon this being an academic work. The Wegman report could have included a Blu-ray disk of Bambi and there would be nothing that Disneyland could do about it. It’s the whole point of reports, details only no cruft, no need to cover one’s backside, include what you deem necessary and let the lawmakers decide.

  99. Rattus Norvegicus says:

    Boballab,

    The word for word copying is unequivocal. Since Wiki is the best known research tool on the web, it is highly likely that Wiki was the source. Even if it wasn’t, it was still copied wholesale from some other source. You posit that this could have come from something written by Wegman or Said which would be possible, if either of them had written anything about social networks in the past. But they hadn’t, so that possibility is out the window. Now the Wiki article might have been written by the author of the weebly article you link to or we might have an instance of chain plagiarism here.

  100. John Diffenthal says:

    In the early 1990s I had a demonstration from Network Analytics who had a remarkable piece of analytical software called NetMap which ran on a Sun station for analysing the relationships in “social networks” (their words) – they were demonstrating commmunication linkages in a business organisational context and how the relationships could be inferred from the answers to seemingly non-intrusive questions [I understood that their major source of income came from organisations seeking to understand the shape of criminal networks]. That software still exists and I understand is still in used by Police and other analysts.

    My point of course is that descriptions of Social networks were extant outside academic circles well before MBH98 never mind any paper which referred to it in a citation.

  101. Rattus Norvegicus says:

    According to an update of the USA Today article, GMU has begun a formal investigation. Pass the popcorn.

    For all of you who say this is not serious, well GMU seems to think it is.

  102. Smokey says:

    There were a lot of people involved in producing the Wegman et al. report:

    Wegman accepted the energy and commerce committee’s assignment, and agreed to assess the Mann controversy pro bono. He conducted his third-party review by assembling an expert panel of statisticians, who also agreed to work pro bono. Wegman also consulted outside statisticians, including the Board of the American Statistical Association. At its conclusion, the Wegman review entirely vindicated the Canadian critics and repudiated Mann’s work. [source]

  103. kcrucible says:

    @Nick Stokes
    “The real issue is that the Wegman report was supposed to represent the considered opinion of an eminent statistician, and so to carry weight. If it turns out to include stuff pasted from Wiki, people feel cheated. And it really doesn’t help to say that the pasting was done by junior interns.”

    The text has no bearing on the content or conclusions of the report. Whether the information concerning SNA was in Wegman’s own words, an intern’s own words, or attributed to a 3rd party would have absolutely no bearing on the content, conclusions, or “weight” of the report. Therefore, it’s insane to conclude that this material was plagerized for credibility when attributing it would be easy and not change a thing.

    I conclude that it’s a documentation snafu and much-ado-about-nothing. It’s not good, it’s a distraction, but it’s immaterial.

  104. ZT says:

    Hmmm – another example of climatological copying…

    Bradley, 1999 – as quoted by Mashey “Many natural systems are dependent on climate; where evidence of such systems in the past still exists, it may be possible to derive paleoclimatic information from them.”

    The Chen, Xing, 2008 “Many natural systems are dependent on climate; where evidence of such systems in the past still exists, it may be possible to derive paleoclimatic information from them.”

    (i.e. a direct copy)

    http://books.google.com/books?id=SEO_RyNDJ0gC&lpg=PR1&pg=PA50#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Seems to me that copying is common in climatology.

  105. Frank says:

    A report for the government does not need to meet normal standards of original research or academic writing. Given that Wegman et al were not experts in paleoclimatology and were probably working under severe time pressure, he and his associates logically should have pasted together blocks of text from authoritative sources. However, under no circumstances (even in this blog) should ANY educated person ever paste a block of text copied from someone else without properly annotating the source of the text with a description such as: “The following information about XYZ was taken from: ‘Pasted text’ “. Using an ordinary citation without quotes is simply inappropriate when any block of text is copied and pasted.

    One might speculate that blocks of text were copied and pasted by one of Wegman’s students without full annotation and possibly without realizing how the text would eventually be used. That text probably was edited by other authors who did not understand the source of some blocks of text. I’m skeptical that any investigation will show that Professor Wegman himself personally copied and pasted blocks of text and then (as senior author) let them be used inappropriately in the final version of his report. I suspect that some of his co-authors are going to be answering awkward questions about why they didn’t properly document text that was copied and pasted, whether they knew how that text would be used, and whether they were given an opportunity to correct their mistake before the report was issued.

    Of course, possible plagiarism don’t invalidate the scientific conclusions of the Wegman Report any more than the investigations by the Attorney General of Virginia invalidate the scientific conclusions of MBH98 and MBH99. It just damages personal reputations.

  106. Steven Mosher says:

    ZT,

    Seems like Bradley has some other people who are really violating his copyright AND making money off it. The question is will he go after them?

  107. Steven Mosher says:

    Lazar says:
    October 11, 2010 at 4:00 am (Edit)
    Steven Mosher,

    “In full possession of the definitions you give I would still not consider it to be plagiarism.”

    … so, using a highly non standard definition of ‘plagiarism’, you would not consider it to be ‘plagiarism’… is what you’re saying… ok

    #########

    no silly. as somebody who actually had to make the decision whether to bring cases forward and ruin a kid, I am saying that if one of my students did this i would not consider it to be plagiarism.

    If we use the bright line of the standard much of what bradley wrote in his textbook would be plagiarism. The bright line of the standard exists to give prior notice as to what will count as plagiarism. You still dont get what I’m saying. Thats ok.

  108. Steven Mosher says:

    Nick Stokes says:
    October 11, 2010 at 3:33 am (Edit)
    Steven Mosher says: October 11, 2010 at 1:01 am
    “No attribution that I can see”
    I can’t see whether there is or not. Maybe US users get to see a more complete version. All I see is a tiny window with a fragment of the para – no context at all. Various people, including Glenn, say there’s a reference on the next page – I don’t know how it is connected to the quote.
    ###################

    There’s no attribution prior to the section. Also, no quote marks.
    the point is that Bradley’s work is a text book. I will bet if I look through his textbook I will find parts of it ( like the appendix on carbon 14 dating) where bradley has not followed the rules exactly. Where he is citing background material and forget to quote or paraphrase correctly. And we will find textbooks after bradley that dont get it right either. the wegman committee did not get it right. using other peoples material is tough work, especially when its just background in an area where you are not FLUENT. Because the commitee was not fluent in paleo and in SNA, they had to use the words of others.

  109. Steven Mosher says:

    Glenn says:
    October 11, 2010 at 1:37 am (Edit)
    Steven Mosher says:
    October 11, 2010 at 1:01 am

    You didn’t cite the source showing Bradley said that. And at the end of the section of Cuff and Goudie’s book on the next page after the quote, page 132 shows this:

    “Bradley, R.S. Quaternary Paleoclimatology: Methods of Paleoclimatic Reconstruction. Boston: Allen and Unwin, 1985.”

    ############

    Glenn: There are two issues: Attribution and quotation.

    Wegman attributes Bradely, But he does not use quotation properly.
    The oxford companion also fails to use quotation properly.

    The bradley case against the wegman committee is extremely weak and I’ll suggest again to people that many, ( including bradley ) have done what the wegman committee appeared to do. They cited bradley properly, but they failed to indicate in the text that they used BOTH bradleys ideas and his words.
    The attribution shows us the SOURCE, quote marks show us the kind of usage. People who attribute correctly but fail to indicate the level of usage are not intellectual thieves ( the worst of plagiarism). technically, its plagiarism, copyright violation, but not a good case.

    In the SNA case they fail to cite or indicate the KIND OF USAGE. Thats worse.
    The reason the DONT CITE the source is cause they are probably embarassed they used wikipedia and didnt read primary material. ( sounds like a grad student )
    Bad.

    Anyway, if people want to go after the best argument they will focus on the SNA stuff and the real reason why they didnt cite the source

  110. Gary Pearse says:

    It would be interesting to use social network analysis, which btw, is concerned with understanding the linkages among social entities and the implications of these linkages. The social entities are referred to as…. ah you guys know what I mean. It would be interesting to see if among Bradley’s incestuous connections he himself copied someone else’s definition of dendrochronology. Anyone up to checking out Bradley’s work for plagiarism? Now that would be rich!

  111. ZT says:

    Bradley needs to explain why the copying of text is justified when he does it (in papers A and B) but unreasonable when Wegman does it, and then valid when others do it (papers C).

    My conclusions are:

    1) Climatologists earn much of their grant money by copying and pasting
    2) Climatologists like to hold others to higher standards than they themselves maintain
    3) The hockey stick is based on false statistics and scant data (i.e. copying text is an irrelevance to this fact)

    Papers A and B (where Bradley copies)

    Original:
    http://www.ambiente.gob.ec/userfiles/2092/file/Cambio%20Climatico/Adaptacion/CLIMATE%20CHANGE%20IN%20THE%20TROPICAL%20ANDES%20PART%201.pdf (2007):

    “In the arid and semiarid regions of the tropics and subtropics more than 80% of…” etc.

    Derivative work:
    http://www.geo.umass.edu/climate/papers2/vuille2008.pdf (2008) by Vuille, Bradley and others:

    “In the arid and semiarid regions of the tropics and subtropics more than 80% of …” etc.

    Papers C (where Bradley is copied)
    Bradley, 1999 – as quoted by Mashey “Many natural systems are dependent on climate; where evidence of such systems in the past still exists, it may be possible to derive paleoclimatic information from them.”

    http://books.google.com/books?id=SEO_RyNDJ0gC&lpg=PR1&pg=PA49#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Chen, Xing, 2008 “Many natural systems are dependent on climate; where evidence of such systems in the past still exists, it may be possible to derive paleoclimatic information from them.” (etc.)

    (i.e. this is a direct copy)

    As an aside, one has to wonder – how much of the mountain of publicly funded climate “research” is cut-and-paste word-processor magic. Perhaps the Cuccinelli probe should be expanded. This may be an actual case of ‘It is worse than we thought’.

  112. Timoteo says:

    [Snip. Calling others here "deniers" gets your post snipped. ~dbs, mod.]

  113. Rattus Norvegicus says:

    ZT, you somehow managed to elide the citation in the Bradley paper. The single sentence constitutes fair use. What happened with Wegman is that he copied huge chunks of text from Bradley w/o citing the source of the text.

  114. Spence_UK says:

    Elise, tell me more. Who do you think has actually used “short-centred principal components? And when?

    Actually, the wide circulation of Montford’s eccentric phrase “short-centred” is a giveaway. A lot of “let’s talk about the science” is just parroting.

    But OK – Mann used decentred normalisation in 1998, probably by mistake.
    Ugh. Sorry this is off topic (delete if it is too far off topic) but Nick Stokes’ comment above is just plain ignorant and wrong headed. It isn’t just Montford’s phrase and it isn’t eccentric – it is exacting and accurate, unlike Nick’s vague and inaccurate comment.

    Nick tries to imply there are just two types of processing – centred and decentred PCA. The reality is that there are a multitude of conventions which have different behaviours and characteristics. If you want any hope of understanding the issues, you need to understand the properties of all the different methods.

    For example, for PCA on data matrices (as MBH98 used), you can have column-centred PCA, row-centred PCA and double-centred PCA (meaning both row- and column-centred). All of these have different properties.

    Furthermore, you can use the sample mean to centre (simply zeroing the sum of the column or row) or the population mean. The sample mean is most common because doing PCA is usually a statistical exercise (i.e., you don’t know the underlying characteristics and you are estimating them from the data) but in principle, the population mean would be more accurate, leading to (slightly) more accurate estimates of variance explained by the analysis.

    There are different types of decentred PCA as well, such as unit-centred PCA – for example, the results you get from using a specific unit. This may be beneficial as the measurements themselves may yield a more accurate reference than the sample mean from the data.

    Note that one of the possible reasons for decentring is that you may have a separate reference which is more accurate than the sample mean estimate – such as an external reference (when using units), or if you have more data that you are not including in the PCA. What Mann did was use a subsample of the data to centre. This method is unheard of in PCA literature. This is a *less accurate* estimate of the mean than using the full sample set, or a known reference. Why would anyone want a less accurate estimate? The inaccurate estimate directly injects an error into the “variance explained” calculations. Steve McIntyre, I believe, was the first to coin the term “short-segment” centred PCA, which is an entirely appropriate description of the flawed technique.

    As we see, just lumping all forms of PCA into “centred” and “decentred” leads to misunderstanding. Different forms of decentred PCA have different properties, and it is highly relevant to specifically identify the type of decentred PCA being used. “Short segment” centred PCA is a form of centring which injects additional error terms into the analysis.

    As for Wahl and Ammann showing that you can still “get” a hockey stick with conventional centring, the Wegman report clearly explains why this is flawed. They do so by tuning the results – changing the retained PCs, something which is carried out subjectively by the authors. Since tweaking minor aspects of the methodology can yield a wide variety of results (as explained in the paper “are multi-proxy reconstructions robust”, Burger and Cubasch 2005) which means that by tweaking these parameters you can get any answer you want – all Wahl and Ammann have to do is change things until they get the answer they want, then come up with a plausible justification for that decision.

    As the Wegman report correctly observes, using this type of analysis is simply bad science. You can provide evidence for anything on this basis. Nick Stokes seems to be happy with this. Yuck.

  115. ZT says:

    “Rattus Norvegicus says:
    October 11, 2010 at 12:04 pm
    ZT, you somehow managed to elide the citation in the Bradley paper.”

    Sorry, no – here are the two pieces of text. The later piece of text (by Bradley among others) does not cite the earlier piece of text. Please feel free to check for yourself:
    http://www.geo.umass.edu/climate/papers2/vuille2008.pdf
    http://www.ambiente.gob.ec/userfiles/2092/file/Cambio%20Climatico/Adaptacion/CLIMATE%20CHANGE%20IN%20THE%20TROPICAL%20ANDES%20PART%201.pdf

    Vuille 2007:
    “In the arid and semiarid regions of the tropics and subtropics more than 80% of
    the freshwater supply originates in mountain regions, affecting more than half of the
    earth’s population (Messerli, 2001). Much of this water is initially stored as ice in
    mountain glaciers and then gradually released over time. Mountain glaciers, such as those found in the tropical Andes, therefore act as a critical buffer against highly seasonal precipitation and provide water at times when rainfall is low or even absent. At the same time these glaciers are particularly sensitive to climate change because they are constantly close to melting conditions. They are arguably the most visible indicator of climate change, due to their fast response time, their sensitivity to climate variations and the clear visibility of their reaction (glacier growth or shrinkage) to the public.”

    Mathias Vuille, Bernard Francou, Patrick Wagnon, Irmgard Juen, Georg Kaser, Bryan G. Mark, Raymond S. Bradley (2008):

    “In the arid and semiarid regions of the tropics and subtropics more
    than 80% of the freshwater supply originates in mountain regions,
    affecting populations downstream (Messerli, 2001). Much of this water
    is initially stored as ice in mountain glaciers and then gradually released
    over time.More than 99% of all tropical glaciers are located in the Andes
    (Kaser, 1999) and Andean countries, such as Bolivia or Peru, rely to a
    great extent on freshwater from glaciated basins during the dry season.
    Mountain glaciers, such as those found in the tropical Andes, therefore
    act as a critical buffer against highly seasonal precipitation and provide
    water for domestic, agricultural or industrial use at timeswhen rainfall is
    low or even absent. At the same time these glaciers are particularly
    sensitive to climate change because they are constantly close tomelting
    conditions. They are arguably the most visible indicator of climate
    change, due to their fast response time, their sensitivity to climate
    variations and the clear visibility of their reaction (glacier growth or
    shrinkage) to the public.”

    Just another example of a cut-and-paste scare story in the original peer-reviewed “scientific” literature of climatology!

    My conclusion remains:

    1) Climatologists earn much of their grant money by copying and pasting
    2) Climatologists like to hold others to higher standards than they themselves maintain
    3) The hockey stick is based on false statistics and scant data (i.e. copying text is a irrelevant to this fact)

  116. Smokey says:

    Rattus Norvegicus says:

    “What happened with Wegman is that he copied huge chunks of text from Bradley w/o citing the source of the text.”

    Some questions, if you don’t mind:

    1. Was any putative copying claimed to have been done illegally? Or was it simply against convention?

    2. Produce evidence to support your unequivocal statement that Prof Wegman personally “copied huge chunks of text from Bradley w/o citing the source of the text.”

    3. What would be the Wegman et al. motive for failing to attribute a source? You need a motive, and it must be more than just your opinion.

    Explain why Wegman et al. are being held to such a high standard over what was probably either an inadvertent omission, or the work of one individual — when at the same time Michael Mann gets a free pass from you when his own written words showed him to be conspiring with Phil Jones to thwart the law. And for getting a colleague fired for not toeing Mann’s CAGW line. And for threatening to blackball journals that didn’t fix the game Mann’s way. And so on.

    Even in the extremely unlikely event that Prof Wegman deliberately refused to attribute passages to Bradley, which act is more serious? That, or getting someone fired over different scientific views? Or conspiring to evade the law? Why is Mann still getting a free pass on those much more serious issues?

    Take your time, I’m retired. I have all day.

  117. Lazar says:

    Steven Mosher,

    “no silly. as somebody who actually had to make the decision whether to bring cases forward and ruin a kid, I am saying that if one of my students did this i would not consider it to be plagiarism.”

    plagiarism is an act… quite clearly defined… you’re confusing whether you decide to prosecute that action… a moral decision that involves balancing consequences…

    “If we use the bright line of the standard much of what bradley wrote in his textbook would be plagiarism.”

    o’really?… your case to make

  118. Z says:

    Rattus Norvegicus says:
    October 11, 2010 at 5:43 am

    “According to an update of the USA Today article, GMU has begun a formal investigation. Pass the popcorn.

    For all of you who say this is not serious, well GMU seems to think it is.”

    GMU will probably want to be careful with that. All formal inquiries, be it the courts or the legislature usually have mechanisms in place to ensure that evidence is submitted freely to them without external pressures being applied. This includes freedom from all forms of sanction for that testimony.

    Otherwise, the Mafia could have hefty fines for breach of contract in place for all “employees” who break the code of silence and testify against the Don.

    If GMU wish to punish Wegman for something he said to Congress, then they should beware of Congress turning around and ripping them a new one.

  119. Steven Mosher says:

    Lazar says:
    October 11, 2010 at 2:06 pm (Edit)
    Steven Mosher,

    “no silly. as somebody who actually had to make the decision whether to bring cases forward and ruin a kid, I am saying that if one of my students did this i would not consider it to be plagiarism.”

    plagiarism is an act… quite clearly defined… you’re confusing whether you decide to prosecute that action… a moral decision that involves balancing consequences…

    #########################

    quite precisely. In the same way that I think the virginia AG, while well within his bounds to act, is obviously not showing good judgement. I am not confusing anything. You are thinking that the bright line of the code is dispositive. It’s not. If it were then charges could be brought by machine and cases settled by algorithm. I would consider several things: 1. The venue. A presentation before congress has protect under the speech and debate clause. 2. The actor: Wegman is the lead author, and I would have to determine who wrote the sections in question. For me that would be the difference between committing plagiarism and failing to catch the plagiarism of others. 3. I would consider whether the material was presented as original thought per the assignment given. 4. I would consider wether the offended material was central to the assignment or merely prefatory or ancillairy ( like copying a bibliography replete with mistakes.. caught a student doing that once) 5. I would consider the gain/harm in the case.

  120. Shoot-the-messenger-gate
    Trip-wire-gate

    What is auditing all about?
    (1) Clarify the material, make sure you understand it. YOU ARE NOT EXPECTED TO BE AN EXPERT, you’re simply auditing the books. So of course you’ll need to explain the concepts, using standard texts but if need arises, modifying the language to make sure other auditors can understand – the key concept of the checking being replicability.
    (2) Only when you’ve grasped the concepts can you do the auditing. Checking replicability, checking the fair use of data, checking the attainment of statistically significant results, is your area of expertise.

    How can there be plagiarism in anything but an academic-nonsense sense, in rewriting standard text purely for the purpose of clarifying the issues? REAL PLAGIARISM IS ABOUT TAKING CREDIT FOR ANOTHER’S IDEAS.

  121. Lazar says:

    Steven Mosher,

    Someone stole something from me, I knew who it was, and I didn’t have the heart to press charges. It was still an act of theft. The people whose work has been copied without attribution… still have their work copied without attribution. It’s still plagiarism.

    In the SNA case they fail to cite or indicate the KIND OF USAGE. Thats worse.
    The reason the DONT CITE the source is cause they are probably embarassed they used wikipedia and didnt read primary material

    Wiki is a minor part, most is from two books, de Nooy (2005) and Wasserman (1994), see Mashey’s report pp. 119-128. I count around thirty paragraphs and over 1,700 words copied verbatim, one or two words changed here and there, not closely paraphrased. Looks like laziness. The stuff copied isn’t ground-breaking, mostly entry level definitions.

  122. Lazar says:

    Steven Mosher,

    I posted the previous comment before reading your latest… I’ve no problem with what you’re saying.

  123. jorgekafkazar says:

    ZT says: “Plagiarism experts – how does the following look?…”

    Like hypocrisy is alive and well in CO2-Cuckooland.

    Did Mann provide references to Luterbacher et al?

  124. Rattus Norvegicus says:

    ZT,

    So now you are claiming that an author can plagiarize his own work?

  125. ZT says:

    ” Rattus Norvegicus says:
    October 11, 2010 at 6:45 pm
    ZT,
    So now you are claiming that an author can plagiarize his own work?”

    I am not claiming anything. The absolute fact is that R.S. Bradley (and coauthors) recycled text from an earlier paper to produce a later paper.

    Facts are likely a new concept in climatology – they are interesting – I recommend that you consider them more often.

    My conclusions remain:

    1) Climatologists earn much of their grant money by copying and pasting
    2) Climatologists like to hold others to higher standards than they themselves maintain
    3) The hockey stick is based on false statistics and scant data (i.e. copying text is a irrelevant to this fact)

  126. Glenn says:

    Steven Mosher says:
    October 11, 2010 at 9:18 am

    “In the SNA case they fail to cite or indicate the KIND OF USAGE. Thats worse.
    The reason the DONT CITE the source is cause they are probably embarassed they used wikipedia and didnt read primary material. ( sounds like a grad student )
    Bad.
    Anyway, if people want to go after the best argument they will focus on the SNA stuff and the real reason why they didnt cite the source”

    That isn’t Bradley’s call, and the University might be shy about exposing themselves to some of the blame. But I’m still trying to track down the original source, and it isn’t clear to me that it was a Wiki author. I’ve tried to track down the last sentence from the identical Wegman Report / 2006 unattributed Wiki article:

    “Similarly, individuals can exercise influence or act as brokers within their social networks by bridging two networks that are not directly linked (called filling social holes).”

    In 2008 Wiki changed to:

    “Similarly, individuals can exercise influence or act as brokers within their social networks by bridging two networks that are not directly linked (called filling structural holes).[5]” “Scott, John. 1991. Social Network Analysis. London: Sage.”

    Wegman also using “social holes” doesn’t demonstrate that they took it from Wiki.
    Wiki’s new language and cite doesn’t demonstrate that it is correct in language or cite.

    I’m unable to find text for Scott 1991. However, he wrote a revised edition of “Social Network Analysis” in 2000 which can be viewed in GoogleBooks, quote:

    “(Burt 1992) has described this in terms of ‘structural holes’.”

    That may be an indication that Scott 1991 did not include “called filling structural holes”.

    I did find the sentence in another article that points to a different source, but with no “structural holes” or “social holes” :

    “Similarly, individuals can exercise influence or act as brokers within their social networks by bridging two networks that are not directly linked [4]” D.J. Watts, S.H. Strogatz, Nature 393 (1998) 440.”
    http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~ss824/papers/scn.pdf

  127. Rattus Norvegicus says:

    Smokey,

    1) Plagiarism is not illegal, it is unethical. However, if you follow the comment thread at the USA Today article, you will find that Bradley’s publisher, Elsevier, is very interested in the copyright violations which appear to have occurred.

    2) I was using shorthand. More precisely the Wegman Report copied huge chunks of text w/o attribution. Mashey shows that the type of copying which took place is similar to that of another listed author on the report, Said. However, Wegman, as the senior person on this report bears ultimate responsibility. It might help if you actually spent the time to read Mashey’s report.

    3) I have no evidence as to what the motive might be. Motive is not necessary in plagiarism cases, merely the fact that it occurred, which is indisputable to any sane person who has looked at the evidence.

    My guess as to what the motive might be is that, rather than admitting the facts of the case — that they didn’t know squat about either paleoclimatology or social network analysis — they instead choose to try the “C” (or is that “D”) student approach of copying wholesale from textbooks and online references. The fact that Wegman himself was forced to admit that he did not consult with any paleoclimatologists in his testimony before (documented in the Mashey report) lends credence to this theory (theory here used in the colloquial sense).

    4) Vast swathes of text copied with only minor changes cannot possibly be an inadvertent omission. As others have pointed out in this thread the stuff in the SNA section amounts to 1700 words. This is several pages.

    This is very different from what you claim Mann and Jones did. PSU seemed statisfied that Mann provided enough evidence from his email archives that he did not do what you claimed he did. The Climategate emails themselves provide prima facie evidence that the emails that Holland requested were not deleted since they appear in abundance in the purloined archives. Finally, if Mann had deleted the emails, it does matter, since they were not covered by an FOI request. In case you didn’t notice the FOI request of Holland was filed with UEA which happens to be in another country.

    The other stuff you mention is just BS. Which colleague did they get fired for not toeing the line? If it was Saier, when his term expired he did not attempt to be reappointed. This was covered with a statement from Saier at Rodger Pielke Jr.’s blog. Saying “be careful what you say to journalist X (in this case Andy Revkin) is not a crime or even unethical. It is just a heads up to watch your wordiing.

  128. Rattus Norvegicus says:

    ZT,

    You make some broad and unsubstantiated claims.

    1) People studying climate change get their grant money just like any other scientists: by proposing interesting and original research.

    2) I see no evidence of this. The team which produced the Wegman Report are currently being held accountable (you should like that word) to the standards of the institution which employs them (in the case of Wegman himself) or which granted their doctorate (in the case of Said). GMU has previously sanctioned a law professor for misconduct related to a WSJ op/ed. I don’t see why a prominent report to congress should be held to a lower standard.

    3) While the data in the original report was scant and the analysis flawed, the flaw in the analysis made no difference to the conclusion of the paper. In the ensuing 10 years more data has been developed and new and better analysis techniques have been employed, and the original results stand. Seems like pretty solid stuff to me.

  129. Latimer Alder says:

    Who did Mashey think he was writing for? What potential audience did he have in mind?

    I count myself as an interested layman with a scientific background, but his ‘paper’ rapidly became unintelligible to me. Not because the subject was too difficult for me to understand (it wasn’t)..but because it was so badly written.

    It lacks a ‘narrative’ that is crisp and sharp. And it failed to make me care too much about the subject. Whether or not Wikipedia uses similar words in some cases isn’t going to cause me to lose sleep at night.

    Way back when, I used to be acquainted with a slightly disturbed individual semi-affectionately known round here as ‘Manic Dave’. He spent his time writing in a big black book with different coloured pens. As far as he was concerned, the book captured all his distilled intellectual philosophy and proved conclusively how ‘they’ had conspired to ruin his life. But on even sympathetic questioning in relaxed company he was completely unable to explain the content to others – or even the terms that he used. And he was definitely an intelligent man, but likely suffering form some low-level mental disorder.

    I read the first few pages of Mashey’s report and was instantly reminded of Manic Dave Parkinson. The two would have made fine collaborators.

    But as a hater of all ‘binary digital reductionists’, I doubt if MD would have approved of Mashey’s ‘large-screen, 8GB laptop with 3 extra displays’. He could write gibberish in longhand over a pint or three and would see no reason to automate that process.

    What a weird piece of work!

  130. ZT says:

    “Rattus Norvegicus says:
    October 11, 2010 at 8:02 pm
    ZT,
    You make some broad and unsubstantiated claims.”

    Hmmm…I guess anyone can read through the comments to see that:

    I stated my conclusions and described them as such.
    You do not address the fact of Bradley’s evident text copy and pasting.
    You portray my conclusions as ‘claims’.

    Just what is it that you have against facts?

    But feel free to make your own comments, claims, or excuses – whatever they are.

  131. a jones says:

    I grow weary of this. I had thought I had made it plain.

    Wegman et al acted pro bono at the request of Congress and the work was published under the imprimatur of Congress.

    As such no state or federal court of the USA has jurisdiction over any complaint for plagiarism, copyright or any other supposed infraction or wrongdoing concerning either the report or its authors in compiling that report. Nor incidentally does any other body academic or otherwise.

    Kindest Regards

  132. Latimer Alder says:

    The more I look at this, the more I think that Mashey is worrying about some very minor details of academic etiquette. Which might make fine points for witty discourse in the Senior Common Room over the port, but are pretty much irrelevant to the main points.

    Similar,though the origins of the Wegman piece may be of some interest to future historians of the Climate Wars, they aren’t hugely relevant to the truth or not of its content.

    Mashey has studied a tiny piece of the canvas in obsessive detail but has completely failed to see the big picture. Simply weird.

  133. Rattus Norvegicus says:

    a jones,

    As I have pointed out, plagiarism is an ethical issue. As such it is strictly between two members of the Wegman team (Said and Wegman) and GMU. And clearly, Elsevier might beg to differ with you on the copyright issues. Read the comment thread at USA Today which expands on the “litigation is underway” comment by Wegman in the article itself.

    ZT,

    The example you provide involved the primary author of a paper (Viulle) using his own words and ideas in a subsequent (well, we really don’t know the order that things were written in, do we?) work. Given the lag time in scientific publishing it is entirely likely that the text in the paper was written before the CONAM/World Bank report.

    Still, it is sort of hard to plagiarise yourself. Your case is still unproven.

  134. Rattus Norvegicus says:

    ZT,

    And since I didn’t find a copyright notice in the CONAM/World Bank report, the copyright devolves to the author or the institution (depending on institutional policies, in the commercial world with which I am familiar your rights are assigned to the institution if the work is funded by or used the resources of the institution in it’s preparation. Agreements may, and probably are, different in the academic world.). You can’t violate your own copyright.

  135. ZT says:

    “Rattus Norvegicus says:
    October 11, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    Still, it is sort of hard to plagiarise yourself. Your case is still unproven.

    ….some comments about copyright(?)

    Rattus, I wrote:

    “The absolute fact is that R.S. Bradley (and coauthors) recycled text from an earlier paper to produce a later paper.”

    (I did not write about Bradley plagiarizing himself or infringing copyright).

    I don’t have a case to prove – the facts are the facts. Or in this case – the PDFs with the copied text are there for all to see.

    You may think it is just fine for climatologists to recycle scare story text.

    And you may think it is not ok for Wegman to use literature definitions.

    Consistency, like honesty, is a characteristic of science, not climatology, after all.

  136. Glenn says:

    Rattus Norvegicus says:
    October 11, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    “Given the lag time in scientific publishing it is entirely likely that the text in the paper was written before the CONAM/World Bank report. Still, it is sort of hard to plagiarise yourself.”

    The 2008 paper was received in May 2007, the CONAM report is dated January 2007, not that it matters which was copied from which. Self plagiarism in the form of “text recycling” or “text reuse” is a real problem, and considered fraud. At the least in the scientific literature, it needs to be nipped in the bud.

  137. Latimer Alder says:

    @glenn

    ‘Self plagiarism in the form of “text recycling” or “text reuse” is a real problem, and considered fraud. At the least in the scientific literature, it needs to be nipped in the bud’.

    So if I come up with a particularly snappy, vivid and memorable description of a physical phenomenon and publish it at place A, I am committing a crime by using the same words again at places B, C or D??

    Sounds like the sort of crime that Mashey would wet his knickers over, but the real world wouldn’t bat an eyelid over.

    Please explain so that even a non-academic like me can clearly see what sin has been committed – apart from being human and maybe only capable of a few great thoughts in a lifetime.

    This discussion started off weird and is now making landfall on the Planet Bizarre!

  138. ZT says:

    @Latimer

    I agree with you (as I have written above) that if climatologists want to spend their time cutting and pasting dire warnings and introductions about vanishing glaciers from one publication to another, this is their choice. It may lead to the large grant incomes, for example.

    If you look at the Bradley/Vuille example above (October 11, 2010 at 11:20 am) you’ll see that the copied chunk of text is not a vivid and memorable description, but a recycling of an introduction. The kind of thing which a journalist or a student would not get away with (if caught).

    Normally scientific papers are thought to offer some new insights – which tends to imply that the text has not been copied and pasted from some prior publication.

    But – climatology is a rather special “science” – I hypothesize that the thought from climatologists is “the more repetition the merrier” or “the more this is repeated the more true it becomes”.

  139. Latimer Alder says:

    @ZT

    Normally scientific papers are thought to offer some new insights – which tends to imply that the text has not been copied and pasted from some prior publication.

    But surely the extremely rigorous process of peer review will find any cases of auto plagiarism and stamp on them very firmly? As well as verifying all claimed results.

    It is, after all, the Gold Standard of all academic work and absolutely relied on by all reputable publications. Perish the thought that any work that had not been peer-reviewed should get anywhere beyond the WPB (trashhcan) of history!

  140. ZT says:

    @Latimer

    Right! As the climategate messages revealed, peer review in climatology is simply a filter to prevent the publication of contrary evidence.

  141. Mike G says:

    Wow. Does this negate the fact that Mann’s work was shown to be shoddy? I don’t think so.

  142. AndrewSanDiego says:

    Steve McIntyre has just thouroughly emasculated Bradley and the warmists on the Wegman “plagiargism” over at Climate Audit. He documents the multiple citations of Bradley in the very sections where Bradley claims Wegman stole his work without citations. Plus, McIntyre points out worse examples of Bradley’s fellow “climate scientists” lifting his work without attribution – will Bradley and the warmists be filing lawsuits against their ‘friends’?

    Here’s a real citation: “And if Bradley is sincerely committed to the extirpation and punishment of plagiarism, then he should also file a complaint against Wahl and Ammann, who plagiarized the reply of Mann, Bradley and Hughes to our 2004 Nature submission (the reply was also summarized in various realclimate posts). I’ve previously alluded to this plagiarism incident in passing, but will discuss it in more detail on another occasion. Standing to file such a complaint is not limited to the direct victims of the plagiarism (Mann, Bradley and Hughes), but can be filed by anyone.

    Perhaps the best way to honor Bradley’s newfound anti-plagiarism zeal would be for someone to file a plagiarism complaint against Wahl and Ammann, taking care to recognize Bradley’s anti-plagiarism commitment in the covering letter.
    “, http://climateaudit.org/2010/10/12/copygate/

    Looks like the warmists may being staring into the abyss of reaping what they have sown…

  143. a jones says:

    Rattus Norvegicus says:

    Forgive me I had forgotten Smokey’s wise advice ” Never feed a Troll”.

    Kindest Regards

  144. Glenn says:

    Latimer Alder says:
    October 12, 2010 at 7:35 am

    @glenn

    ‘Self plagiarism in the form of “text recycling” or “text reuse” is a real problem, and considered fraud. At the least in the scientific literature, it needs to be nipped in the bud’.

    “So if I come up with a particularly snappy, vivid and memorable description of a physical phenomenon and publish it at place A, I am committing a crime by using the same words again at places B, C or D?? ”

    Most likely, yes. At least unethical.

  145. Latimer Alder says:

    @glenn

    Thanks for you reply to my question about self-plagiarism. You suggest that an author reproducing their own work would be unethical and possibly criminal.

    Care to explain why? Because that seems pretty counter-intuitive to me.

    I’d also remark that to the ‘outside world’, that supposed adults are wasting so much timearguing about such trivial points seems incredible. On the one hand there is a debate about the Future of the Earth and on the other one about whether Fred should have said something nice about Jemima or mentioned Albert in passing in his Christmas message.

    In UK we have an expression ‘Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic’ meaning to worry about trivia in the face of overwhelming disaster. This discussion doesn’t even get beyond considering what colour the fabric should be on the deckchairs.

    FFS – why does anybody care?

  146. Glenn says:

    Latimer Alder says:
    October 12, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    @glenn

    “Thanks for you reply to my question about self-plagiarism. You suggest that an author reproducing their own work would be unethical and possibly criminal.
    Care to explain why? Because that seems pretty counter-intuitive to me.”

    Academic fraud is not criminal, but it is unethical. One way is that it represents existing work as “new work”. Of course, as is often the case in scientific publication, copyright is also violated by such behavior. Authors should and do reference their own previous work in literature. If an article has been reproduced with no significant new work introduced, what would the reason be for publishing?

  147. Kelly Manning says:

    Haven’t y’all learned to be careful what you ask for?

    Asking for investigations of academic misconduct poses a much higher risk for the alleged experts cited by the handful “climate change isn’t happening, or if it is it isn’t caused by human activity” alleged experts than it does for the 97% of climate scientists who have concluded that global warming is real, and most likely caused by human activity.

    This could turn into an epiphany for y’all.

  148. Dong Shani says:

    What did people do before Twitter? Suffer? Presumably, they suffered.

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