Sunday, November 9, 2014

Short links

Here are some diverse and interesting links from the world of academic misconduct:
  • Research misconduct in Australia: The article in Mark Israel's Blog "The Conversation" lists a number of cases of research misconduct that have been made public in Australia, including a recent one at the University of Queensland.
    "Bruce Murdoch and Caroline Barwood resigned from the University of Queensland in 2013 after a whistleblower claimed that they had not undertaken an experiment on Parkinson’s, despite reporting results in various journals. [...] The university failed to find any evidence that the experiment had been conducted. Instead, it discovered duplicate publication, statistical error and misattribution of authorship."
  • The new president of the German "Federation of Expellees" organization, (Bund der Vertriebenen), Bernd Fabritius, is originally from Romania (he belongs to the German minority there) and did his doctorate in Hermannstadt/Sibiu and in Tübingen. A fascinating 54-page documentation of text parallels and other problems with this thesis was published recently online.
    The text was photographed using pens to mark the text and then boxes and explaining text were added to the pictures. A discussion of the documentation (in German) can be found in the Blog Erbloggtes.
  • The Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences in Germany considered awarding former Minister of Education Annette Schavan (who was found to have plagiarized in her dissertation) the Leibniz medal which is given in honor of outstanding service for the promotion of the goals of the Academy („zur Ehrung besonderer Verdienste um die Förderung der Aufgaben der Akademie“). Apparently, though, there was no unanimous vote, and the discussion leaked its way into the newspapers. There is also more biting commentary on the research group "Zitat und Paraphrase" (quotation and paraphrase) in the Causa Schavan blog ([1] - [2], in German)
  • Dr. med. plagiat: The German newspaper Handelsblatt has an extensive report on the plagiarism scandal in medicine at the University of Freiburg, the University of Münster and the Charité. 
  • There is a call for papers out (abstract submission deadline: November 16, 2014) for an international conference on plagiarism at the Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic 10 - 12 June 2015 "PLAGIARISM ACROSS EUROPE AND BEYOND" ( Disclosure: I am on the program committee).
  • I found an IFQ report (in German) from 2006 on the history of doctorates in Germany with some interesting statistics on the prevalence of doctorates in various fields.
  • It seems that Elsevier has been charging 30$ for copies of book chapters that consist only of one page containing the wording "This page intentionally left blank". A tongue-in-cheek systematic review has been published, and indeed, if one googles "This page is intentionally left blank" together with "site:" there are 55 hits across a wide spectrum of fields. Apparently, the automatic publishing system has trouble with blank pages, or else the blank pages were not caught during the rigorous peer review.
  • Widely off topic: There is even a Lego figurine for a university graduate in a cap & gown.

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