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Things we do on sabbatical instead of actually working

Frank Fischer, a political scientist at Rutgers U., says his alleged plagiarism was mere sloppiness and not all that uncommon in scholarship.

I’ve heard about plagiarism but I had no idea it occurred in political science.


  1. Tim says:

    Here is a thought: why are there so bleeding many journals, if it's so hard to successfully produce new knowledge that is of value to humanity?

    The majority of papers in all but top-tier journals are bilge. A colleague discovered the other data that a second group had been working on data produced by him, and attempting to scoop him. They not only failed, but ended up directly paraphrasing from the conclusions reported by his group. This seems to be par for the course.

    Now, they were punished by only being able to appear in some journal that nobody would ever read, so in that sense there is justice in the academic world. But, it seems, little honor.

  2. Bob Carpenter says:

    Was the data the other group was working on public? If so, I don't see anything "dishonorable" about using it.

  3. Andrew Gelman says:


    I kinda like the existence of a spectrum of journals. If you focus on a small number of "top journals," this induces what seems to me to be an unhealthy competition for slots in these journals, which I think could distort research. Look at what's happened in biology with the pressure to publish in Science and Nature. I'd hate to have this happen in my own fields of research.

  4. zbicyclist says:

    This is a sad affair, but I find it amusing that one of the books stolen from was:

    "Michel Foucault: The Will to Truth"

  5. Jamie Chandler says:

    Very sad. I recently came across an article published in Presidential Studies Quarterly that was plagarized down to the spelling and punctuation error in the footnotes. I'm surprised that the editors of the journal didn't pick up on this. Perhaps journals should implement a policy.