FOIA Facts 3 - More Plagiarism - Get Grants Or Claim Credit

Copy-Paste plagiarism, Wegman and Said

As a byproduct of FOIA Facts 1 and FOIA Facts 2, Ed Wegman or Yasmin Said are now alleged to have included plagiarism or falsification in 9 papers or talks associated with funding from the Army Research Organization (ARO grants 0447 or 0059) or the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA grant 5876), 2005-2009.
[05/31/15 The full report  is now online, as a result of this $2M lawsuit.]

Of 6 plagiarized works already reported to George Mason University (GMU), Elsevier retracted one. By FOIA, the other 5 had either been claimed for credit on grants or cited to support Said's grant proposal. Study of grant claims unearthed 2 more works with problems.

Finally, Wegman wrote a 2009 grant proposal for half a million dollars, but evidence shows about half the text was plagiarized. Although unconnected with Federal funding, plagiarism or falsification are alleged against 4 more works. Of 13 total works with problems, 7 involved both Wegman and Said, and 3 by each alone, so they cannot blame all this on grad students.

Problems are summarized in Sheet §F, with details in Sheet §K. As displayed in See No Evil…, most were reported to GMU, which had the grant reports and easily could have checked plagiarism allegations against them.

Case By Case, Ending With Plagiarism In Grant Proposal

P401 (Yasmin Said's dissertation) and P402 (article on genetic algorithms for Wegman-edited book) were both cited as support to get her NIAAA 5876 grant.

P169 was claimed by Wegman for 0447.

P179 acknowledged grants 0447, 0059, and 5876, a fact noted by Ray Bradley in his May 2010 complaint to GMU. Elsevier forced retraction in May 2011.

P200 acknowledged grants 0447, 0059 and 5876.  This was reported to GMU, the Editors and publisher, with no response.

P405 was newly found at the Washington Academy of Science. Said wrote a plagiarism-filled history of statistics claimed for 5876, Appendix §X.  As shown in Appendix §Y,  a shortened version, P403, was used in an encyclopedia edited by GMU Provost Peter Stearns, who figured prominently in See No Evil… Most, but not all of the obvious plagiarism was deleted. The 1750-present history of statistics mentioned only one 20th-century statistician, Ed Wegman.
Update 06/22/16: P405 was retracted Summer 2015, 2+ years after formal complaint lodged, including Appendix X, especially pp.4-9, which show side-by-side comparisons.  A few hours' work found ~6 pages of copy-paste-edit text from unacknowledged sources.  The retraction notice was:

“In the 2007 Spring issue, Vol 93, we published an article by Y. Said (then at George Mason University): “On the Eras in the History of Statistics and Data Analysis”. We have since retracted this article because of suggested controversy over its uniqueness.”  

T126, the Wegman Report and testimony, was found to have been funded by both ARO 0447 and NIAAA 5876. Falsification and plagiarism are both alleged.

T135 was a newly-found talk in Cairo, Egypt, claimed for ARO 0447, with falsification in abstract and thus very likely in the talk. Wegman's presentations often differed according to the audience experience with paleoclimate. Here, the March 2007 abstract included:

 ‘A Reanalysis of the “Hockey Stick” Paleoclimate Reconstruction
Edward J. Wegman, Yasmin H. Said, and David W. Scott Abstract: …
When the PCA methodology is correctly used, the hockey stick essentially disappears ( i.e. the rapid rise from 1850 disappears.'

That was false, because the “blade” of the hockey stick was determined by modern instrumental data. It had absolutely nothing to do with the minor Mann, Bradley, Hughes error in “PCA” usage, which actually had little effect on the “shaft” of the hockey stick. It echoed misrepresentation associated with the unpublished 2007 “phantom book”  P407 found by Deep Climate and noted in “Strange Scholarship §A.3.”  As of 04/17/13, the blurb said:

'This book recounts the story and facts – in layman's terms – behind what many believe is a major statistical flaw in recent paleoclimate conclusions regarding global warming, i.e. that the Earth is becoming hotter due to human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2). Commissioned by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation, the authors of the book detail time lines, findings, and interpretations that helped shape the misconception behind the effects of global warming as we know it today. Fraught with the potential for damaging political innuendo and inappropriate social networking overtones, the authors steer clear of passing personal judgments in favor of outlining the accepted controversies surrounding the topic, this for historical and reconstructive purposes. The authors' report to Congress is included in its entirety as an appendix at the rear of the book.'

This seems never to have been published, fortunately for Wegman, given copyright issues. It does illustrate Wegman's 5-year campaign against the hockey stick. In 2010, Wegman was still misrepresenting it in various ways, as seen in T424, a video at Chapman conference, 22:00-35:30 (Silverlight req'd.)

P197 and P513 were plagiarism-filled articles by Wegman and Said in the Wiley journal for which they were Editors-in-Chief with David Scott, but no more. [05/31/15 In 2014, they sued for $2M, but oddly, never referenced these papers.]

P409, Proposal To The ARO, Not Accepted, Fortunately For Wegman

Wegman was the sole author of a February 2009 grant proposal. About 50% of it is alleged to be plagiarized by copy-paste-edit from others’ unattributed works. It contains text from several PhD dissertations, including some originally plagiarized from textbooks, the fifth known re-use among Wegman and his students. Other antecedents seemed to include more from Wikipedia and an English version of a Chinese website, likely taken from references Brush(1967) or Binder(2001). Appendix §Z offers some instructive emails and a side-by-side comparison of the proposal with plausible antecedent sources.

The reviews were mostly quite negative (4:1) and the proposal was rejected, which may have been very fortunate for Wegman. An informative NSF CAREER Proposal Writing Workshop was held at GMU in March 2009, and among relevant slides 65-72, p.66 says:

Forms of Misconduct

Plagiarism – material copied without citation and quotation – if you copy it, cite it and off-set it: if you accept an award based on a proposal that includes plagiarism, you may have committed a felony.

Charge for work already done - can be a felony, do not charge twice for the same work.’

Dan Vergano quoted Wegman and his (GMU J.D.) lawyer in 2011:

Neither Dr. Wegman nor Dr. Said has ever engaged in plagiarism,” says their attorney, Milton Johns, by e-mail. In a March 16 e-mail to the journal, Wegman blamed a student who “had basically copied and pasted” from others' work into the 2006 congressional report, and said the text was lifted without acknowledgment and used in the journal study. “We would never knowingly publish plagiarized material” wrote Wegman, a former CSDA journal editor.’

Next: FOIA Facts 4 - George Mason Takes The Money And Breaks The Rules

Update 05/31/15: add references to full report, as a result of this $2M lawsuit.

Update 06/22/15:  Document Washington Academy of Science retraction of Said's P405

Update 07/21/16: Fix minor typo.

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