Friday, October 30, 2009

German University Rescinds Doctorate

Spiegel online reports that the University of Konstanz is standing by its decision to rescind the dissertation defended in 1997 by the physicist Jan Hendrik Schön. Schön had been working at Bell Labs in the USA on nanotechnology when it was revealed in 2002 that he was inventing the work he was publishing about. He was fired and a long discussion about scientific integrity and the peer review system began.

In 2005 the University of Konstanz used a passage in their dissertation rules to pull the doctorate out from under him: a doctoral title can be rescinded when the behavior of the person after obtaining the doctorate demonstrates that the person is unworthy of bearing such a title. Schön objected on the grounds that his dissertation was okay, the fakes only came after.

It has taken the university 5 years to decide to stand by their decision. While I applaud the decision, I do wonder if it really needed five years for this.

Schön's only recourse now would be through the court system, and that may take even longer. Spiegel reports that in a recent case involving the University of Bonn, it took the courts eight years to decide in favor of the university rescinding a doctoral title.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Choosing your Dissertation Writer

My plagiarism bot scours the Internet looking for new pages that show up using the word "plagiarism". A real gem showed up in my inbox this morning from a marketing organization. It is an advice page on how to obtain low-cost dissertation writers. The page begins:
Writing profession is gaining popularity now-a-days. You can find number of professional writers who can write your dissertation at low cost and less time. Writing a professional dissertation requires years of experience, professionalism and ability to do in-depth research.
How many grammar errors are in these three sentences only? I was suspecting a Far Eastern company, but the registrar of these (and two other domains, both paper mills) is in Manchester, but is a generic registrant. I still have the feeling that this is a non-native speaker of English, perhaps Indian, writing. Maybe it is one of the owners of sham colleges in England, branching out in related fields.

The advertising blunders on:
For attaining good grades in your dissertation it is essential that the dissertation you write must be non-plagiarised. Make sure the dissertation writer you hire provide completely Plagiarism-free dissertation.
Maybe it would be a good idea if your dissertation writer advertiser could also operate a spelling checker.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Scientists punished for inventing publications

According the the NDR, the German research funding organization DFG has decided on the punishments for the involvement of 13 researchers in listing invented publications on their report about past funding and request for new.

Two professors for agroecology, the speaker of the research team (Sonderforschungsbereich) and the leader of a graduate study program (Graduiertenkolleg), have been suspended from holding any sort of office within the DFG for three years. The DFG found that they should have been examples of good scientific conduct for the people they were training, and for failing this, have been suspended.

Three other scientists will be issued written reprimands. The reasoning is that their careers are not to be destroyed, but it is to be made clear that inventing publications for a report on funding is unacceptable.

In all, 54 publications by 13 scientists were found to be non-existent, additional publications were falsely noted to be already published when they were, in fact, only submitted for publication.

Additionally, the University of Göttingen will have to pay back an as yet undisclosed sum of money, and there are criminal charges of fraud being brought against the speaker.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Suspicious Chinese ICT Conferences

A colleague was bragging that he had a paper accepted at an international IEEE conference in China. Since IEEE has often been found to support so-called bogus or fake conferences (ones that accept any paper, even those generated by SciGen) and since I was on vacation with internet access and time on my hands, I decided to have a look.

IEEE has a site that can be used to search for conferences, so I looked for conferences in Beijing in 2009. Amazing, there are 23 IEEE conferences this year in Beijing! Okay, China is a large country. I idly flicked through a few of them, when I realized that the contact person for an number of them was given as Prof. Mengqi Zhou.

More research turned him up as Chairman of the IEEE Beijing Section, and 10 of the 23 conferences listed him as the contact. Now I was really curious, so I spent a good bit of time researching the conferences. Some appear to be legitimate - they have a venue listed on their web page, they have a small range of topics listed, there is someone more or less serious-sounding as the contact.

But others are mighty strange indeed. There are dysfunctional web sites, no venues listed. And from October 16-18, 18-20, 21-23 there are three large conferences listed at the Beijing University of Posts and Telekommunications, with a fourth from 6-8 Nov. The contact for all four conferences is the same person, Weining Wang. Three of the four have identical registration prices and registration forms - only the dates and names of the conferences have been changed and are in a different font. The fourth one has a dysfunctional web page. Here is the data that I collected during my research:

Conference, Venue according to IEEEDatesURLPartici-
Review timeReg. DeadlinePrice
2009 IEEE International Conference on Shape Modeling and Applications (SMI), Convention Center, Tsinghua University26-28 Jun 2009[1] 1508 weeks?$400Seems okay, smallish topics, PC online. Program online, Directions to university online
2009 2nd IEEE International Conference on Computer Science and Information Technology (ICCSIT 2009), Beijing Convention Center8-11 Aug 2009[2]350???No web site any more, just notice that proceedings have been sent to authors already. Contact address is given at a Chinese news/freemail account.
2009 9th International Conference on Electronic Measurement & Instruments (ICEMI 2009), Beihang University16 Aug - 19 Aug 2009[3]2702 weeksJune 30, 2009
Chinese news/freemail account. No information on venue on web site except for advertising for "Hot Spring Liesure [sic] City"
2009 IEEE Youth Conference on Information, Computing and Telecommunication (YC-ICT 2009), Gradute University of Chinese 20-21 Sep 2009[4]2004 weeksAug 30, 2009$300IEEE e-mail contact, Hotels listed on web site, Google map to hotel
2009 Fourth International Conference on Bio-Inspired Computing: Theories and Applications (BIC-TA 2009), Shaoyuan Guest House Peking University16-19 Oct 2009[5]1205 weeksJune 30$430Venue given, functional web site, gmail contact
2009 IEEE International Conference on Communication Technology and Applications (ICCTA), Hotelecom Hotel16-18 Oct 2009[6]1503 1/2 weeksJuly 20$400 / $50Only one page functions on home page. E-Mail Beijing University of Posts and Telekommunications, (Weining Wang).
Registration form identical to [7] and [10]
2009 2nd IEEE International Conference on Broadband Network & Multimedia Technology (IC-BNMT 2009), High-Tech Mansion BUPT18-20 Oct 2009[7]2003 1/2 weeksJuly 20$400 / $50E-Mail contact Beijing University of Posts and Telekommunications, (Weining Wang).
Registration form identical to [6] and [10]
2009 IEEE 16th International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management (IE&EM 2009), Beijing Union University21-23 Oct 2009[8]3001 weekJune 25404 errorNo venue information on site, Program still "under construction", Contact is a yahoo address, many topics, foreigners can submit later
2009 3rd IEEE International Symposium on Microwave, Antenna, Propagation and EMC Technologies for Wireless Communications (MAPE 2009), Jingyan Hotel27-29 Oct 2009[9]3504 1/2 weeksJune 10$495 / $60Contact at Beijing Jiaotong University, Venue online, Wide range of topics,
"Each article should be within 4 pages, otherwise USD60 will be charged per page of the extra pages of your article. The first author who has 2 papers should pay one registration fee and USD60 per page of the second paper."
2009 IEEE International Conference on Network Infrastructure and Digital Content (IC-NIDC 2009), Academic Communication Center, BUPT 6-8 Nov 2009[10]1803 1/2 weeksAug 15$400 / $50E-Mail contact Beijing University of Posts and Telekommunications, (Weining Wang). Registration form identical to [6] and [7], Registration venue given as Beijing Hotelecom Hotel.

Ms. Weining Wang is listed as the Director of Academic Office, BUPT. She also appears to be the contact for IEEE NLP-EK 2007, IEEE IC-NLP 2005, China-Ireland International Conference on ICT (CIICT2008), the 19th International Teletraffic Congress ITC19, The Asia-Pacific Network Operations and Management Symposium 2008, ICHS 08, and is Deputy Editor-In-Chief of the Elsevier-published "Journal of China Universities of Posts and Telecommunications". Maybe she is the one in the office that speaks English, but I find this mighty strange.

I believe that the conferences [6], [7] and [10] are bogus conferences. [2], [3], and [8] are questionable.

Am I being paranoid here? I wrote to the IEEE president when I published my blog entry on fake conferences, but received no reply. Comments?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Plagiarism of Music

The German online news magazine for IT, netzwelt, reports that
Daniel Müllensiefen, from the Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths College in London and Marc Pendzich, a Hamburg-based musicologist who did his dissertation on cover versions, have developed a software for determining if specific music is a plagiarism. They have tested their algorithms on a number of court decisions about musical plagiarism:

Müllensiefen, D., and Pendzich, M. (2009). Court decisions on music plagiarism and the predictive value of similarity algorithms. Musicae Scientiae, Discussion Forum 4B, 257-295.

The duo runs a company that sells expertise in the area of musical plagiarism.