The coming plagiarism witch hunt

This is too funny. The wife of Bill Ackman (billionaire hedge fund guy who forced black Harvard Prez to resign due to “plagiarism” ) is a former MIT professor who is now being accused of copying from Wikipedia.

Ackman promises to thoroughly investigate the entire MIT faculty. {{ LOL }}



I’m curious. Why the scare quotes around plagiarism? Do you think Gay didn’t commit plagiarism or do you not think that plagiarism is a cardinal sin in academia?


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There levels or grades of plagiarism. Harvard’s black Prez was accused of missing a few citations in a 200 page disseration. Hedge fund guy’s wife lifted whole paragraphs from Wikipedia. And then at the third level you have the scholars that are faking data in scientific experiments designed to show the efficacy and safety of prescription drugs. That’s a range from a parking ticket to felony jail time.

I look forward to Ackman’s investigation of the MIT faculty. Maybe someone will fund an investigation of Ackman himself?



That was just the beginning. More plagiarism was found in four of her published papers which I posted some of last month. Then more examples were found in mid-December and more at the beginning of January.
Days after Claudine Gay’s disastrous testimony on Capitol Hill last month, hundreds of Harvard University faculty members rallied behind their president with a clear message to those calling for her ouster – don’t meddle in our school’s business. But as more and more accusation of plagiarism in Gay’s academic work started to emerge in December, Harvard faculty backing appeared to wither.

“No one wanted to be out in public saying we don’t care about research misconduct,” said Harvard history professor Alison Frank Johnson. “You can’t just brush off plagiarism allegations. You need to investigate them.” But a transparent investigation didn’t happen before Gay resigned on Jan. 2…

The New York Post reported that they told Harvard about allegations of plagiarism in Gay’s work in October, and Harvard responded with “a threatening legal letter” that characterized the accusations as “demonstrably false.”…

Then, the next evening [December 11] the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative news outlet, alleged Gay had plagiarized passages in four of her works…

About a week later, the university said a recent review discovered additional “examples of duplicative language without appropriate attribution”…

On Jan. 1 the Free Beacon published additional allegations of plagiarism against Gay. By that time, the Globe has reported, Gay had already decide to resign.



Good point. I’ll concede that President Gay’s removal was just after Gorsuch steps down.

Now that we have AI that can strip mine a professional person’s published works to look for even the hint of plagiarism, they’ll soon learn that “he without sin should cast the first stone”.

I wonder if there are wide differences in which scholars get accused of plagiarism ? Is it kind of marijuana arrests where whites, blacks and Hispanics have the same incidence of marijuana use, but blacks and Hispanics are arrested for it with 5 times the frequency of white offenders



If you are using Wikipedia as a source, you need to rethink your whole paper and your whole research project.

Funny aside, my SIL is a PhD and professor and local U. We were talking over dinner about papers, etc., etc., etc. Of course there is a push to publish in academia, publish or perish used to be the mantra. There is a little known “citation index” that can measure how frequently you are cited in reference the volume of papers written. You can write a bunch of crap and never be cited thus low index or write a little and be cited all the time thus high index. Ideally, many papers many citations. SIL had a much higher index than Gay but in fairness, Gay’s index was almost non-existent. Even funnier, BIL who is not academic but has written a few papers because of his work in supercomputers, has a higher citation index than Gay. Neither are interested in the Harvard job.


What would be “a hint” of plagiarism? A line from an episode of MASH has someone asking Hawkeye if he ever reads any books and Hawkeye replies, no, but he’s read the entire dictionary ergo he’s already read all the other books.

I’m not sure where this goes. It could go, as intercst suggests, to everybody getting off their exhalted high-assed-horse with the plagiarism nonsense because everybody’s favorite heeee-roes do it and have always done it. We can stop the silly tendency to worship those who came before us. OR…… this could end up defining plagiarism in the future such that no matter what you say or how you say it you’re stealing from somebody 'Cause this is how you keep others from being considered legitimate and possibly getting ahead. Like wealth, you’re always competing against people who “already got theirs” and are in an easily defended position and you’re not.


There could be a case made for “degree of plagiarism” as in missing one or two citations in a paper that is heavily laden with many accurate ones, but frankly we should expect people who are in academia to be very familiar with the rules of academia, i.e. no plagiarism at all, and to check every sentence for every possibly needed citation accordingly. This is part of the advanced degree process after all.

Another question for defenders of ‘a little bit of plagiarism’ is not that bad: what is the college’s or university’s own code on this for its students? Virtually all academic codes provide sanctions for their undergraduate and graduate students should they engage in any plagiarism. If the student body cannot do this, why should their professors and administrators be allowed to?



You are correct. I was just waxing philosophical. I have no respect or sympathy for Gorsuch or the Harvard Pres et al. They know the rules, the policies, & the unwritten professional imperatives, plus, (unlike lesser authors) they have all the resources in the world to pre-empt these “mistakes.” But, no, they’d rather, much like many of us in Jr High and High School, try to pull one over on the intended audience then just play dumb or shrug it off when they get caught.

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I read an article a while back about some Professor in Boulder, Colorado who leads a cabal of scholars who cite each other’s work and publish papers on trivial topics in crazy high volumes.

I think this may be the article.



Academic researchers can determine themselves if harmful plagiarism has occured, through peer review, letters to journals, citations, and AI. Outside meddling by billionaires trying to advance their political agendas is not furthering the science.

Plagiarism charges downed Harvard’s president. A conservative attack helped to fan the outrage, January 3, 2024
“Reviews by Harvard found multiple shortcomings in Gay’s academic citations, including several instances of “duplicative language.” The university concluded the errors “were not considered intentional or reckless” and didn’t rise to misconduct.”
“Christopher Rufo, a conservative activist who helped orchestrate the effort against Gay, celebrated her departure as a win in his campaign against elite institutions of higher education.”


I saw a piece on the news wire yesterday, about a nascent House investigation of higher education being too woke.

“The investigation will address all aspects of a fundamentally broken and corrupt higher education system — antisemitism on campus, taxpayer funded aid, foreign aid, DEI, accreditation, academic integrity, and governance,” she said, using an acronym for diversity, equity and inclusion programs.

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That bit perked my interest. Given the degree to which some states have already defunded higher education, transferring the cost to the students, just how many college students borrow from the government, ie taxpayer backed, program?

  • 54.1% of independent undergraduate students accepted federal student loans.*
  • Middle-income students are most likely to take out federal loans at 58.4%.*
  • 63.6% of students living in campus housing use federal loans. *
  • 39.7% of college students living with their parents accept federal loans.*
  • 52.0% of married undergraduates accepted federal student loans.*

So, repeal the government guaranteed loan program as “corrupt”, and about half of current students may be priced out of higher education. Just think. Cut the college student population in half, and the states can cut education funding proportionately, and use the money to cover another tax cut for the “JCs”.

Student loan data here.


Always remember - copying from a single source is plagiarism. Copying from multiple sources is research. :rofl:




The Citation Index is now called the “Web of Science”. It is behind a login.

Google Scholar has the same information mostly in a different format.

My BIL on Google Scholar.,7

The second BIL,7

“We’re shocked - SHOCKED! - to find plagiarism* going on in this establishment!” -elite university boards finally being held accountable

A circular firing squad, triggered by the Big Money finally calling BS. Money talks, b.s. (excessive progressivism / moral relativism) walks. WAY past due.

  • source citation: - a paraphrased (not plagiarized) quote from “Casablanca”, a formerly famous 1942 movie starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Claude Rains.

Or, a situation being leveraged to replace “excessive progressivism / moral relativism” with another narrative? As the nascent House investigation I posted about above makes clear, there is another agenda trying to take over higher education.



Sloppy citation. How could you forget Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Claude Rains, Paul Henreid AND Dooley Wilson!!! :grin:


Deleted my last post here.