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Government Science

NSF Audit Finds Numerous Cases of Alleged Plagiarism 44

sciencehabit writes "The National Science Foundation (NSF) is investigating nearly 100 cases of suspected plagiarism drawn from a single year's worth of proposals funded by the agency. The cases grow out of an internal examination by NSF's Office of Inspector General (IG) of every proposal that NSF funded in fiscal year 2011. James Kroll, head of administrative investigations within the IG's office, tells ScienceInsider that applying plagiarism software to NSF's entire portfolio of some 8000 awards made that year resulted in a 'hit rate' of 1% to 1.5%. 'My group is now swamped,' he says about his staff of six investigators."
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NSF Audit Finds Numerous Cases of Alleged Plagiarism

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  • "suspected" (Score:5, Informative)

    by feenberg ( 201582 ) on Friday March 08, 2013 @07:00PM (#43121755)

    It isn't really a scandal until the cases of plagiarism are confirmed. I once tested some plagiarism software on published academic economics, and it produced many false positives, many of which required some knowledge to interpret. Notice that a grant application may seem to be a somewhat "safer" place to plagiarize, since only a few people will see the application. However, those few might well include the borrowed from author - the granting agency will be sending the proposal for review to many researchers who have written on the topic before..

  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Friday March 08, 2013 @07:17PM (#43121919) Homepage

    Science is NOT 'believing what they tell us at face value'. Science IS asking (and getting) evidence before accepting their conclusions (the concept of repeatability). Yes, scientists are annoyingly human and therefore bedeviled with the same positive and negative attributes as the rest of humanity.

    I'm not entirely sure what your point is. You seem to be confusing journalists with scientists. There is an unfortunate tendency for the press to dig around an abstract, find some enticing sentence and tart it up well past the point where the authors would even admit to writing about it - then have it repeated in the Internet echo chamber until it's a cure for cancer, scabies and annoying foot perspiration. But that isn't what science is.

    Go to a conference about something and listen to the question and answer period. That's science.

  • by Required Snark ( 1702878 ) on Friday March 08, 2013 @08:13PM (#43122469)
    Your argument is deliberately misleading. You are conflating scientists with science.

    Individual scientists are often wrong. This is occasionally due to malfeasance, but more often it is just the state of the art. The truth is not always completely self evident and often multiple theories compete.

    Science, as a human endeavor, makes progress because results are always being verified by multiple parties. Funding proposals and peer reviewed publication are only a part of the progress. The key operation is reproducible results. Other people use existing results as part of their own work. If the outcome differs from previously known work, it will be reported. This is normal and expected. Eventually there is a consensus and and the scientific community moves forward.

    Bad behavior by individuals slows down the process, but it does not derail it. Resources and time are wasted, but as long as the scientific method is employed, the results are trustworthy.

    Your positions is one sometimes taken by jealous members of the social sciences and humanities, particularity in academia. (This is one of my problems with Michel Foucault and postmodernism/structuralism.) They see the respect, status and money going to technical fields, so they try and reframe science as having no more validity then any other intellectual area. The existence of modern society proves this wrong, but since they reject the scientific paradigm they seem to have no trouble ignoring external facts. (Actually Foucault has a lot of value when his work is applied to culture and society, so I should not be quite so harsh.)

    That's the long answer. The short answer is that you're a troll, and appear to short in mental stature and emotional maturity.

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court