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Plagiarism and Faked Data in Academia

Plagiarism and Faked Data in Academia

Part 1 of a 3-part theme on current problems with academia

No transcript...

In which I discuss the recent brou-ha-ha over ex-President of Harvard Claudine Gay’s plagiarism in her published papers (and dissertation), the likelihood of widespread plagiarism (in certain fields), and the incentives to plagiarism and faked data in academia.

Episode Links

Tom Lehrer: Lobachevsky

Tom Lehrer songs page for Lobachevsky


I am never forget the day I first meet the great Lobachevsky.

In one word he told me secret of success in mathematics:



Let no one else's work evade your eyes.

Remember why the good Lord made your eyes,

So don't shade your eyes,

But plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize --

Only be sure always to call it please "research".

Harvard, Claudine Gay, and Bill Ackman

NY Post: Revealed: Harvard cleared Claudine Gay of plagiarism BEFORE investigating her — and its lawyers falsely claimed her work was ‘properly cited’

Harvard cleared its president Claudine Gay of plagiarism before it even investigated whether her academic work was copied, The Post reveals today.

In a threatening legal letter to The Post in late October, the college called allegations that she lifted other academics’ work “demonstrably false,” and said all her works were “cited and properly credited.”

Days later Gay herself asked for an investigation and Harvard tore up its own rules to ask outside experts to review her work, saying it had to avoid a conflict of interest.

CNN: Business Insider stands by reporting on Bill Ackman’s wife, Neri Oxman, says stories ‘are accurate’ with ‘no unfair bias’

Business Insider and its parent company, Axel Springer, said Sunday that they stood by the outlet’s reporting that Neri Oxman, a prominent former professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the wife of billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, had plagiarized in her doctoral dissertation.

In a note Sunday morning, Barbara Peng, chief executive of Business Insider, said the outlet had spent several days reviewing its reporting after public complaints made by Ackman. The review, Peng said, found that “there was no unfair bias” and that the “process we went through to report, edit, and review the stories was sound.”

Peng said a pair of stories the outlet published earlier this month reporting that Oxman had plagiarized other scholars’ work and lifted more than a dozen sections from Wikipedia “are accurate.” She described Oxman as a “fair subject” and “has a public profile as a prominent intellectual and has been a subject of and participant in media coverage,” rebutting Ackman’s complaints that she should have been immune to coverage tied to Ackman’s recent activism.

Fortune: Bill Ackman vows plagiarism checks on MIT president and faculty after wife pulled into fray: ‘We will share our findings in the public domain’

Bill Ackman ramped up his campaign against Massachusetts Institute of Technology president Sally Kornbluth, saying he will begin checks on the work of all of the school’s current faculty members for plagiarism.

The move, announced Friday in a post on X, comes after Business Insider expanded its allegations of plagiarism against Ackman’s wife, Neri Oxman, a former MIT professor. The billionaire investor said that faculty members, including Kornbluth and MIT board members, will be subject to checks using MIT’s own plagiarism standards.

“We will share our findings in the public domain as they are completed in the spirit of transparency,” Ackman said, adding that “it is unfortunate that my actions to address problems in higher education have led to these attacks on my family.”

Data Colada and faked data

17 Aug 2021: [98] Evidence of Fraud in an Influential Field Experiment About Dishonesty

17 June 2023: [109] Data Falsificada (Part 1): "Clusterfake"

20 June 2023: [110] Data Falsificada (Part 2): "My Class Year Is Harvard"

23 June 2023: [111] Data Falsificada (Part 3): "The Cheaters Are Out of Order"

30 June 2023: [112] Data Falsificada (Part 4): "Forgetting The Words"

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STUMP - Meep on public finance, pensions, mortality and more
STUMP - Death and Taxes
Meep (Mary Pat Campbell) talks about mortality trends and/or public finance issues, usually with a connection to current events.