On Plagiarism and Related Issues

Yves here. Given Tom Lehrer’s recommendation on plagiarism, it seems remarkable that anyone engages in. For those who may not have encountered it:

Let no one’s work evade your eyes.
Plagiarize plagiarize plagiarize.
But please be sure to call it research.

As Rajiv Sethi explains below, some plagiarism is not intended but the result of carelessness. But even so, in publishing and particularly academia, how much carelessness is tolerable?

On top of that, with the explosion of fakes and AI misappropriating original work (as in investigation), as well as being caught out, as in the New York Times suit against Microsoft, of lifting big passages of text nearly verbatim, it’s not hard to see that an authentication industry is set to grow by leaps and bounds.

By Rajiv Sethi, Professor of Economics at Barnard College, Columbia University. Originally published at his website

If the plagiarism war has indeed begun, as Ian Bogost has argued, it is likely to be over in short order. The tools for detecting copied language are already widespread and inexpensive, and it won’t be long before the entire corpus of material indexed in Google Scholar has been scrutinized. The incentives—both offensive and defensive—are certainly in place for doing so.

It might be worth thinking about the kinds of transgressions that might be revealed in the process. I can think of three distinct types of offense, varying by intentionality and severity.

One category involves the accidental use of the phrasing and arguments of others, as quotation marks and references are dropped through carelessness in the editing process. To take a completely innocuous example, consider the new proposed constitution for the University of Pennsylvania that I discussed in an earlier post. The proposal is clearly influenced by the Kalven Report, from which it borrows language and ideas without quotation or citation. For example, consider this from the proposal:

The agents of dissent and critical discourse within the university are the individual community members of the University of Pennsylvania. The university serves as the hosting entity for these critics, but it does not act as the critic itself.

And this from the 1967 Kalven Report:

The instrument of dissent and criticism is the individual faculty member or the individual student. The university is the home and sponsor of critics; it is not itself the critic.

It seems clear to me that the former passage started life as the latter, perhaps with quotation marks and a reference in place. At some point in the editing process, which involved multiple authors, the quotation marks and the citation were dropped. Further editing then brought the language into better alignment with the rest of the document. There was no intent to deceive, and no real harm done. But strictly speaking, according to guidelines provided to students at Harvard, this qualifies as mosaic plagiarism.

I suspect that this kind of thing is extremely common, and can arise even when there is a single author. It can also be very serious. Doris Kearns Goodwin claimed that she had “confused verbatim notes with her own words” while writing one of her books, resulting in a copyright claim and a monetary settlement for an undisclosed sum that the recipient has characterized as substantial.

A second category involves the borrowing of language from technical definitions, descriptions of methodologies, and literature reviews without proper attribution. These things look peculiar in quotation marks, but proper paraphrasing requires time and effort on a relatively mundane task. Ruth Marcus and John McWhorter have bothdescribed this as boilerplate plagiarism. It is wrong, and unseemly, but does not warrant retraction of an academic paper and does not compromise the novelty or significance of the ideas contained therein.

The most serious category of plagiarism involves the theft of novel ideas and creations. But this type of activity is the least likely to be detected by the weapons deployed in the plagiarism war.

Consider, for instance the claim by Arnold Kling that when he was first on the academic job market, he was interviewed by a young economist who “listened to me explain my dissertation, took the idea, and then published it under his own name.” I have no way of knowing whether or not this transpired, and the party accused here may well contest the claim. But suppose that something along these lines did, in fact, occur. It does not seem likely to me that plagiarism detection software, even powered by generative AI, would reliably identify ideas in the dissertation that later made an appearance in the published articles. There would be very little overlap of language, and each document would be written in the author’s own style. Of course, the parties involved could extract and present evidence to bolster their respective claims, but just feeding a large corpus of documents to an algorithm tasked with identifying such theft would result in false positives at an intolerably high rate.

So as the plagiarism war unfolds, we are likely to see countless accusations of relatively minor transgressions with little exposure of really egregious intellectual misconduct. The conflagration will be intense but short-lived, as it quickly burns through the source material. Reputations will be tarnished, corrections made, and quotation marks retroactively inserted. And then perhaps we will start using different words for different categories of offense.

In closing, while we’re on the subject of higher education, there are a couple of things I’d like to get off my chest.

First, I’ll repeat what I have said elsewhere—the treatment of Claudine Gay over the past couple of months has been unspeakably cruel and contemptuous. By 2007 she had five single-authored papers in what I understand to be the top three journals in political science. When she was recruited with tenure by Harvard in 2006, four of these were already in print with the fifth complete and likely in press. Political scientists can and should debate the validity and significance of her findings, but based on journal rankings and single-authorship alone this is a spectacular record for a young researcher to have.

Second, while our major research universities can be legitimately criticized on multiple grounds, they are one of the few sectors in which we continue lead the world. Higher education, the entertainment industries (including music, movies, and theater), professional sports, software, finance, and consulting are all major export engines that help contain the growth of our trade deficits, and facilitate the large-scale import of consumer electronics and other goods. Perhaps we will see a revival of manufacturing at some point in the future, but until then we will continue to rely on the significant foreign demand for the products of these much maligned industries. I think that amid all the criticism, some of it well-deserved, it is worth keeping this simple fact in mind.

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  1. Acacia

    I am doubtful that the tools for detecting the range of plagiarism under discussion in this article have really “arrived”. I wonder what the source for Sethi’s claim is. What plagiarism detection tools, exactly, are being spoken of here? How well do they really work?

    More to the point, I would submit that the problem we’re facing now is not so much old-fashioned unattributed copy-and-paste, or even mosaic plagiarism, but that people — students, especially — are using generative AI and not citing the text as such. Strictly speaking, if you didn’t write it yourself and copied it unattributed from somewhere else — not citing your source, including the output of ChatGPT — that’s plagiarism.

    If it’s really a piece of cake to detect AI-generated content — that is, a “smop” (small matter of programming) in CompSci oldspeak —, of the tools are “widespread and inexpensive,” then why has Google already given up on trying to detect and filter AI-generated text?

    My impression is that we are in an arms race. To mention just one example, there’s been a lot of discussion of Turnitin’s claim to be “98% accurate” in detecting AI-generated text. This sounded really over-optimistic to me, but even if it’s 98%, that still means a 2% failure rate.

    There have already been a series of cases involving problems with false positives, and some universities (e.g. Vanderbilt) soon disabled the AI detection option in Turnitin. Vanderbilt’s statement on this change in policy noted that the university submitted 75,000 papers to Turnitin in 2022, which would mean hundreds or over a thousand false positives in a single year. No wonder they pulled the plug.

    Here, I wonder if Sethi asks his students to write research papers, or just gives them quizzes. His position on this rather suggests the latter. What about his colleagues? Are econ undergraduates asked to write research papers? I wonder. Does everybody just get an “A”, even with text plagiarized from ChatGPT? How do he and his colleagues verify this?

    More broadly, has this situation really changed or improved since generative AI arrived? Are there now tools that really work for this, with greater than 98% accuracy? If not, can we expect the detection software to take the lead in this arms race with generative AI? I’m not very optimistic.

    Lots more to say about this, but I am also struck by a claim made in defense of Claudine Gay, viz., that five single-authored papers is “a spectacular record for a young researcher” and enough to get tenure at Harvard.

    Maybe the standard is lower in political science, but in the Humanities, tenure is very often conditional on publishing an entire book — not just four or five articles —, and this is why the tenure review typically happens around five years after the date of hire.

    1. ISL

      As self-plagiarism is now a thing and I have had a manuscript refused for self-plagiarism, I run it through the Grammarly plagiarism detection and then waste a bunch of time rewriting my own sentences twice as long to be different. For example, the methods section is typically very repetitive (same techniques; new findings), so on the third paraphrasing it gets more awkward; and some of the intro section boilerplate is hard to continuously rephrase to say the same thing a different way. Grammarly also provides AI suggestions on how to improve (some of) your sentences – about 60% of the time its phrasing is better than my first-round phrasing.

      1. New_Okie

        Wow, it seems like we should be able to copy and paste the methods section, if the methods truly have not changed. Changing the wording seems rather like changing 2x=y to 4x=2y. The effect is not improved clarity…

    2. lyman alpha blob

      In Vegas, you’ll see signs that a casino’s slots give a 98% payout on average. Sounds good, but it doesn’t mean you’ll only lose 2% of your money. It just means that your money will go to zero a little slower than if the slots paid out 97%. Perhaps something similar is going on here with the 98% claim.

      Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

      1. Rubicon

        To support your observations, trying taking a semester or two of Statistics & Probability. That will cure you of “the lure.” :)

    3. Rajiv Sethi

      I teach a senior seminar in which students write and present research papers. Use of AI to improve writing is permitted and is not considered plagiarism, it is especially helpful for foreign students. It is similar to having a really good editor or assistance from a writing fellow, both permitted. But students need to explain and defend their ideas in person. Having AI generate a paper based on a prompt is academic dishonesty and easily detected via the in-class presentation. I would not consider this plagiarism either, and my post was not meant to cover this case.

      1. CA

        Really nice essay.

        Chinese students at all levels are encouraged to use AI to improve writing, while collaborative research and presentation are similarly encouraged. Theory is taught for innovative work, while AI is considered as more useful as derivative and applied as opposed to innovative:


        April 12, 2023

        Fostering a new generation of China’s mathematical experts
        By Yuan Shenggao

      2. Acacia

        Thanks for your reply and clarification. In the past, teaching in the US, I had foreign students with serious ESL problems, but today most all them are quite capable both as speakers and writers. I teach in East Asia, by the way, and many of my students are not native speakers. Perhaps this is mainly due to a difference in discipline, as I teach in the Humanities, not Economics.

        I am a little puzzled how you see academic dishonesty. If, for example, a student uses ChatGPT as a source, by the standard conventions of academic writing, they would need to cite it (either using attributed paraphrase or direct quotation), just like any other secondary source. It sounds like you agree that failure to do so would be academic dishonesty, but somehow not(?) plagiarism. Perhaps I’m just unclear on the standards in your discipline, e.g., do you permit students to, for example, use unattributed sources, or cite Wikipedia as a secondary source?

        What I have found is the output of ChatGPT is simply too poor to be an acceptable source. It is really sub-Wikipedia level, and extremely unreliable due to “hallucinations”, constant confabulation of sources, etc. To explore this technology, I have asked generative AI to summarize various canonical essays and the results are consistently vague hand-waving. Everything I have seen doesn’t even come close to the standard for what I would consider an acceptable level of undergraduate academic writing. Again, perhaps this depends on the standards of the discipline, and Economics is different?

        Pedagogy in higher education may really be changing due to the easy availability of generative AI, e.g., more quizzes, in-class essay exams, presentations, etc. However, if as you propose, in-class presentations are now serving to validate the academic honesty of all written work, simple math tells us that a very large amount of class time is going to be spent on that validation, and that means the curriculum as a whole is going to suffer.

        OTOH, if the policy is that students are not permitted to use generative AI as a source, but only as an “editor”, I would say we’re talking about a different problem.

        Namely, how is a senior-level undergraduate still struggling with ESL problems? If they are seniors, presumably they have completed the university English composition requirement, and then taken several years of courses requiring some written work. What happened?

        If they still need a “writing fellow” or AI support to produce acceptable work in a senior-level course, my question would be: how were they even admitted to a USian university in the first place? Especially if we’re talking about an R1 research university. Did somebody else “help” them with their application?

    4. Rajiv Sethi

      Regarding the five papers claim, the rejection rate at top journals is so high it’s much harder to get even one paper in than to get a book contract. In economics books are largely irrelevant in tenure cases. Larry Summers is the most productive and cited Harvard president in history but has no book. Five single-authored papers in top three journals is spectacular in economics and would get you tenure anywhere.

      1. 430 MLK

        Enjoyed the article. Gay’s discipline is political science, not economics. I couldn’t find anything from Harvard, but from the Boston University Department of Political Science Expectations for Tenure and Promotion:

        “For scholars focused on shorter publications, seven to eight journal articles (at least some of which appear in leading journals) would be a rough research standard for promotion to associate professor with tenure. Twelve to thirteen journal articles constitute an acceptable standard of productive research for promotion to full professor. For scholars focused on long-form publications, a book and four to five articles or shorter pieces would be a rough estimate of an acceptable standard for promotion to associate professor with tenure. Two books and seven to eight articles are a rough estimate of scholarly output necessary for promotion to full professor. A record consisting mostly or entirely of books may also be a successful path to tenure and promotion.”


        BU is not Harvard, but I’d imagine the disciplinary focus on short articles/books is somewhat similar, if not more stringent for higher-rated Harvard. Gay was hired away from Stanford in 2006 as an incoming full professor. At the time, she had published about 8 short articles, 4 in tier 1. By the disciplinary standards of (subjectively) lesser institutions like BU, Gay’s political science scholarship was in Associate Professor territory.

        1. Rajiv Sethi

          Most top departments treat an article in a top general interest journal as equivalent to several in leading field journals. Journal rankings matter a lot (along with citations and reviewer assessments).

          I suspect that BU would have jumped at the opportunity to hire someone with her record in 2006, regardless of race/ethnicity/gender.

  2. DJG, Reality Czar

    Thanks for this article by Sethi. The author brings up good points.

    The Kalven / Penn example is intriguing. It look as if both groups were searching for a certain thought or course of action. Both formulations are awkward and could use a further editing. The source document, the Kalven report, ends up being “mined” (any number of times).

    As an editor, I have been on the alert for years for any material in a manuscript that I was at work on that seemed to have been “lifted” without attribution. Most authors are trained to be good about avoiding copy-and-paste, but there are plenty of authors who get grabby about “fair use.” No, you can’t just pick up lines from songs and poems willy-nilly.

    Don’t get me going on the wonderful world of “appropriation” and “pastiche.” Yes, culture always appropriates–it succumbs to influences. But that doesn’t mean that you can “appropriate” Sarah Vaughn’s recordings into your edgy media-stravaganza.

    As Sethi notes, the true plagiarism is stealing the ideas of others. It goes on. It’s hard to prove.

    With regard to Claudine Gay, consider this interpretation: You saw what happened to Matt Taibbi. It was pure McCarthyism. And, somehow, the IRS ended up at his house on Christmas Eve, because of those “suspicious” revenues from Substack. Likewise, people went after Gay’s livelihood.

    Shades of blacklisting. We’re talking what happened to people like Lillian Hellman during Scoundrel Time.

    A final note on plagiarism: As a translator, I can assure you that it is often smash-and-grab. Why, I’ve seen whole plays in Chicago based on Arabic and Italian works–with no translator’s name mentioned. Was permission ever granted? Who knows?

    A final note on copyright: For the above reasons, I will raise the stakes a tad. I am highly skeptical of the current pile-on about the “evils” of copyright. Really? The works of Edith Wharton are wanting to be free? Cormac McCarthy doesn’t need copyright protection? Hmmm. I’m so old I recall just how many black musicians lost the rights to their work.

  3. Mark Gisleson

    My opinionated retired writer’s take:

    Academic plagiarism is distinct and completely removed from all other forms of plagiarism. Academics have set clear standards and rules. Their publications must abide by those rules. If you don’t like them, publish your work as nonfiction with a publishing house not associated with academics.

    Plagiarism for money can be detected by software and given our current laws, the perps should be publicly dragged, financially garrotted and banned from good company.

    Plagiarism for the purpose of advancing a political meme is called marketing or propaganda or even news (but not MSM because then $$ involved). I “plagiarize” Naked Capitalism constantly. Because I put spin on my tweets that our hosts might not agree with, I just borrow their links w/out attribution. Because politics. That and it feels stupid to mindlessly credit Lambert or Yves for creating a meme whose effectiveness is destroyed by footnoting. Who cares who coined PMC?

    When the ‘blogosphere’ got started, I tried to be obsessive about hat tips. You’d tack on a “h/t NAME” at an appropriate place after leaving a link. Naked Capitalism gives hat tips to readers who send in links. This is a courtesy and when social media introduced character limits, hat tips all but vanished (replaced by retweets).

    Is it plagiarism to take a mutual’s RT and quote tweet it as your own? Only if you are in some way making money by doing so, imo. Politics rarely involves making money from ‘plagiarism’ because in politics they’re called memes and good luck being credited with having originated one unless you’re part of the self-congratulatory media in-crowd but then again you’re talking $$.

    1. 430 MLK

      Agreed here with the distinction Giselson makes between academia, which has clear plagiarism standards that everyone should know by the time they enter graduate school, and the rest of the world. Plagiarism is a capital offense in old academia, in part b/c the system relies on people standing on the shoulders of others’ work, and knowledge/research is the main currency for an academic. It’s a matter of trust and discipline. Not sure if this is allowed or not, but since it’s on topic to the post, here’s a piece I made 5 years ago for my former students on plagiarism both inside and outside academia, featuring Biden, Trump, Rand Paul and some others accompanied by a Founding Fathers song, along w/ some college plagiarism guidelines.


      I think part of the loosening of plagiarism standards (prompted, it should be noted often, by a Harvard president getting caught up in it), owes itself to the unnatural growth in the academy over the past 3 decades. This growth has flooded the market with unnecessary academia that requires a loosening of plagiarism standards as individual academics publish more and more articles–and as individual academics like Gay are promoted for reasons that lie outside of their meritocratic contributions to their field. (Here, I disagree with the author of the source piece–5 articles in a Tier 1 journal are not Ivy level reasons for hiring; even my non-Top 20 State U has unofficial requirements for book publications for granting of tenure, much less advancement beyond junior faculty. I think it is a dumb implied standard, but it is a standard nonetheless.) More publications in a single year will undoubtedly mean less oversight by the author, as well as crowding out the patient writers who produce less with more value.

      1. Acacia

        Thank you for this. Agree with your observation about the loosening of plagiarism standards in academia. The growth of higher education needs to considered in a larger context, i.e., what are the deeper causes of the “elite overproduction” we are seeing today.

  4. zach

    Do you think dolphins plagiarized sharks? Or that sharks plagiarized jellyfish? In a world of almost 8 billion people, do you think there are really that many original thoughts? To quote the Netflix re-imagining of Poe’s Fall of the House of Usher, “an idea is a fart your brain makes.” Thinking and having ideas is as natural to a human as swimming is to a shark.

    Credit is nice, I suppose, for the ego, posterity, and/or when there’s an opportunity to profit financially, but I don’t think it’s really that noble of a motivation. Framed in terms of the “AI” debate, if these programs are able to consume and synthesize data on a scale of the breadth and depth of the human record of intellectual achievement, then what’s so terrible about that? Everyone was real jazzed back in the 1950’s when computers started doing long boring math problems – why should contemporary “AI” generated content be regarded as any more threatening than ENIAC?

    If “AI” generated fakes/deepfakes are a concern, how is that different from, for example, Arthur Conan Doyle publicizing the Cottingley Fairies, or indeed any other photo “evidence” of spirits taken during the early days of photographic innovation? “There’s a sucker born every minute,” and those suckers will get duped with or without the assistance of “AI.”

    I imagine when the first cavemen-and-women figured out how to tame fire there was a similar grunting debate about how dangerous it was to keep it around. Humanity’s greatest fear will always be of its own potential (and not without good reason, I should say).

    1. Bobby Gladd

      “In a world of almost 8 billion people, do you think there are really that many original thoughts?”

      Good one. Sapolsky—unwittingly channeling his inner Zen sensei—would say there aren’t any.

      1. zach

        I’m not familiar with Sapolsky beyond his wikipedia page, and I think there was an article about him linked on this site a while back. Where he would perhaps find a deterministic justification to support the assertion, I think it’s more of a statistical phenomenon (though I guess the two positions aren’t mutually exclusive).

        A non-controversial take – Written language was the world’s first fiat currency.

    2. t

      Lil ol’ me is a big fan of social contracts and human interaction and dealing with fellow humans who are honest.

      GMTA. Is your world so small that you’ve never been in a room where two of more people had the same idea, and everyone said Great Minds Think Alike, or words to that effect, and everyone laughed and enjoyed the connection?

  5. k_r

    In accounting and finance (and perhaps other business school areas) research, you want the variable definitions to be the same across studies and over time. For example, a common control variable used in many accounting and finance papers is company size. There are not many ways of stating the following: “Ln(TA) = Natural logarithm of Total Assets (measured in millions of dollars)”. Such consistency also makes it easier to replicate and verify by anyone else later. Would / should such instances be picked up by automated software as plagiarism?

    1. Dick Swenson

      You didn’t mention the nature of the assets or when the measurement was made or any statement of accuracy.

  6. EMC

    Plagiarism is endemic in the small niche world of poetry publication, and often enough comes in the form of appropriation from students of lines, images or ideas generated in workshops or poetry programs. Work from poets whose creative efforts will never see the light of day, or from small self published works. And a whole body of articles justifying this unacceptable practice as not plagiarism. No, you can’t just pick up lines from poems and songs and claim them as your own.

    1. wol

      A writer friend had lines from her book plagiarized by a rapper. When she called it out, an attorney told her to take the $5K offer as she couldn’t afford a court case with the record label. A too-big-to-fail artist in my area stole so much from other artists that he hired a publicist as a counter measure. He lifted one large piece whole-cloth from the wrong artist across the country and settled out of court.

  7. divadab

    It seems to me that part of the calcification of much of the academic research domain, a process of decadence, which was clearly exposed during the COVID operation, isn’t it true that much of the research published is of little value? Either it is research on a minute aspect of a well-trodden area of study, adding little value to the corpus, or the profiteering funding entity in effect directs the research, resulting in an incentive for the researcher to come up with the desired results and guarantee future funding. The first is research of little value, and the second can be an actual negative as it publishes manipulated results of value to profiteers.

    I believe we are suffering through the increasing corruption of all of our elite institutions. I admit to being disgusted and find most of the authorities to have little credibility. My worry is that if the corrupt elites begin to suffer exposure and suffer consequences, reputational and financial, they may bring down the entire edifice. I consider this undesirable. But it may be inevitable – reform is impossible if the institution has been corrupted root and branch. This is particularly galling as I consider the enterprise of scientific investigation to be humanity’s greatest accomplishment – a system for the creation, testing, and documenting new knowledge.

  8. Lefty Godot

    isn’t it true that much of the research published is of little value?

    Some of the research published has negative value, since it’s based on torturing helpless animals to pad the publication list of researchers focused on advancing their careers and earnings, not even making the world a markedly better place (and even that, to me, could never justify some of the horrible “experiments” carried out).

    Just as finance capitalism will, in a later enlightened age, be viewed as a malignant cancer on human civilization, in the same way much of the output of current and recent academia will be viewed as an ugly episode of mass derangement in the history of human thought and exploration. And it’s a major source of the “elite overproduction” that Peter Turchin says will tear society to pieces unless we get some very lucky breaks.

  9. John Wright

    When I see a famous author busted for plagiarism, I wonder it indicates that they have “subcontracted” some of their work to others who actually did the plagiarism.

    It would be a bad look to be viewed as publishing ghostwritten content as ones’ own, so fall on the “won’t do it again” sword.

  10. Rubicon

    Excuse our pessimism, but do some powerful American Institutions excel in this practice?

    Here’s a brief article from RT News: ” Scientists from Dana-Farber copied and pasted images to spoof test results, a British expert has alleged Harvard cancer researchers accused of faking findings
    The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, November 11, 2023 © Getty Images / Craig Walker

    A US cancer research center linked with Harvard University has retracted six studies and corrected dozens of others, after a British scientist discovered their authors falsified data by “photoshopping” images of cell samples and test results.

    In a statement to CNN on Monday, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston said that it was reviewing 50 research papers by four of its top scientists, including the institute’s CEO, Dr. Laurie Glimcher, and its chief operating officer, Dr. William Hahn.

    Six manuscripts “have retractions underway,” 31 have been “identified as warranting corrections” and another one “remains under examination” for an error, a Dana-Farber spokesman told the network.

    The alleged fabrications were discovered by British molecular biologist and ‘data sleuth’ Sholto David, who compiled them in a blog post earlier this month. David found that images in the papers were stretched, spliced, or outright copied and pasted in order to falsify test results.

    In one instance, a photograph of four laboratory mice taken on the first day of a research project was seemingly copied and presented as a photo from the 16th day of the project, in an apparent effort to falsely claim that a particular treatment had halted the progress of tumors.

    In another, Dr. Hahn allegedly faked the results of multiple ‘Western Blot’ tests, which are used to detect specific proteins associated with cancer, autoimmune disease, and prion disorders.

    “Billions of dollars were burned for this cancerous trash science, but it made many academic careers, some got very rich, and entire dynasties established themselves at Dana-Farber,” David wrote in the blog post.

    Dana-Farber disputed some of David’s findings, with its spokesman arguing that some of the data cited was generated in outside laboratories, and that “image discrepancies” can often be erroneously flagged as deliberate fakes. The spokesman did not say whether this was the case for any specific “discrepancies” highlighted by David.
    READ MORE: Scientists make Alzheimer’s breakthrough

    Dana-Farber is a teaching affiliate of Harvard University, and all four researchers accused of fraud have faculty appointments at Harvard Medical School.”

  11. Gulag

    In ancient days, participating in a university environment was almost like being a member of a monastery. It was a calling, an endless infatuation with ideas and their consequences.

    Maybe as far back as the 1960s, what incrementally emerged from this same academic environment was its professionalization of ideas, the bureaucratization of knowledge, and a gradual descent into a primary concern with certification/accreditation (not the love of ideas in themselves), as well as the eventual prioritization of indoctrination and social control by a vanguard of cradle-to-grave academics, primarily interested in more managerial power and manipulation.

    Can’t think of a more perfect environment for accelerating plagiarism–nobody cares and anything goes.

  12. Willow

    Don’t be surprised if part of the problem with plagiarised PhDs is the use of ‘ghost writers’. I.e. paying someone to write the 100,000 words on a given topic for you. The old school way before AI. I’ve heard of this quite a bit for old school professors who didn’t have a PhD and needed to get a Deanship. Problem is, they don’t have a leg to stand on if they choose a dodgy writer who’s pay is based on getting to the magic 100k words.

  13. Dennis Szilak

    Found wanting in emotional contexts, usually called psychopathology or high performance autism, AI with a few word changes & paraphrase will produce original plagiarism.

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