Archive for plagiarism

Nature & predatory publishers

Posted in Books, University life with tags , , , , , , on November 9, 2021 by xi'an

Nature of 26 October has another article (comment) that I found of general interest, namely a long report on one of the most prolific predatory publishers, OMICS, which got sued by the US Federal Trade Commission for “deceptive business practice”. The authors built a database of articles from fringe publishers. Exhibiting a rebranding of OMICS journals.

“The number of [OMICS] journals has grown faster than the number of publications, suggesting that many journals are shells with little content.”

They also found a massive number of re-published “papers from legitimate sources without crediting the original journal, and sometimes not the original author”. With all kinds of very shoddy attempts at hiding the plagiarism. The obvious problem is that such papers get evaluated by committees and reviewers without being ever read, with the name of the journal playing on the easy confusion with a legitimate journal. Except in the glaringly obvious cases. The recommendations from the authors include requesting for open peer reviews, linking funded publication costs to an adherence to some minimal transparency rules, moving to low-cost institutional platforms, and, more importantly, rewind the evaluation rules in academia so that low-quality, plagiarising, or otherwise illegitimate papers get identified as such, rather than betting on the reviewers spotting an already-known predatory journal or conference…

fake application

Posted in Books, University life with tags , , , , on August 2, 2021 by xi'an

A while ago, I was part of a hiring committee for a university abroad and among the applications we found one that was so blatantly fake as to wonder what was the purpose of the person (persons?) behind it. From a massive vita including all rewards in the field, incl. a COPSS presidential award, to publications in all top journals and conferences, with the applicant name added to the list of real authors, to fake affiliations, to a completely fake Google Scholar page, &tc. I was surprised at the possibility to include papers on one’s Scholar profile without appearing among the authors but this is apparently possible. And I wonder at the attempt itself since the application is screaming “fake”! A very weird form of performance art?! After searching a wee bit more, I found that some of my French colleagues had opened a webpage to warn about the activities of this individual (?). Including plagiarised papers or books still for sale on Amazon.

SDSS with friends

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2018 by xi'an

When browsing over lunch the April issue of Amstat News, I came upon this page advertising rather loudly the SDSS symposium of next month. And realised that not only it features “perhaps the most prominent statistician to have repeatedly published material written by others without attribution” (a quote from Gelman and Basbøll, 2013, in American Scientist), namely  Ed Wegman, as the guest of honor,  but also one co-author of a retracted Computational Statistics paper [still included in Wegman’s list of publications] as program chair and another co-author from the “Hockey Stick” plagiarised report as plenary speaker. A fairly friendly reunion, then, if “networking” is to be understood this way, except that this is a major conference, supported by ASA and other organisations. Rather shocking, isn’t it?! (The entry also made me realise that the three co-authors were the original editors of WIREs, before Wegman and Said withdrew in 2012.)

Bayesian filtering and smoothing [book review]

Posted in Books, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2015 by xi'an

When in Warwick last October, I met Simo Särkkä, who told me he had published an IMS monograph on Bayesian filtering and smoothing the year before. I thought it would be an appropriate book to review for CHANCE and tried to get a copy from Oxford University Press, unsuccessfully. I thus bought my own book that I received two weeks ago and took the opportunity of my Czech vacations to read it… [A warning pre-empting accusations of self-plagiarism: this is a preliminary draft for a review to appear in CHANCE under my true name!]

“From the Bayesian estimation point of view both the states and the static parameters are unknown (random) parameters of the system.” (p.20)

 Bayesian filtering and smoothing is an introduction to the topic that essentially starts from ground zero. Chapter 1 motivates the use of filtering and smoothing through examples and highlights the naturally Bayesian approach to the problem(s). Two graphs illustrate the difference between filtering and smoothing by plotting for the same series of observations the successive confidence bands. The performances are obviously poorer with filtering but the fact that those intervals are point-wise rather than joint, i.e., that the graphs do not provide a confidence band. (The exercise section of that chapter is superfluous in that it suggests re-reading Kalman’s original paper and rephrases the Monty Hall paradox in a story unconnected with filtering!) Chapter 2 gives an introduction to Bayesian statistics in general, with a few pages on Bayesian computational methods. A first remark is that the above quote is both correct and mildly confusing in that the parameters can be consistently estimated, while the latent states cannot. A second remark is that justifying the MAP as associated with the 0-1 loss is incorrect in continuous settings.  The third chapter deals with the batch updating of the posterior distribution, i.e., that the posterior at time t is the prior at time t+1. With applications to state-space systems including the Kalman filter. The fourth to sixth chapters concentrate on this Kalman filter and its extension, and I find it somewhat unsatisfactory in that the collection of such filters is overwhelming for a neophyte. And no assessment of the estimation error when the model is misspecified appears at this stage. And, as usual, I find the unscented Kalman filter hard to fathom! The same feeling applies to the smoothing chapters, from Chapter 8 to Chapter 10. Which mimic the earlier ones. Continue reading

Le Monde on E. Wegman

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , on December 31, 2011 by xi'an

In addition to the solution to the wrong problem, Le Monde of last weekend also dedicated a full page of its Science leaflet to the coverage of Michael Mann’s hockey curve of temperature increase and the hard time he has been given by climato-skeptics since its publication in 1998… The page includes an insert on Ed Wegman’s 2006 [infamous] report for the U.S. Congress, amply documented on Andrew’s blog. And mentions the May 2011 editorial of Nature on the plagiarism investigation. (I reproduce it above as it is not available on the Le Monde website.)

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