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Groundhog day in August?

A colleague writes:

Due to my similar interest in plagiarism, I went to The Human Cultural and Social Landscape session. [The recipient of the American Statistical Association’s Founders Award in 2002] gave the first talk in the session instead of Yasmin Said, which was modestly attended (20 or so people) and gave a sociology talk with no numbers — and no attribution to where these ideas (on Afghanistan culture) came from. Would it really have hurt to give the source of this? I’m on board with plain laziness for this one.

I think he may have mentioned a number of his collaborators at the beginning, and all he talked about were cultural customs and backgrounds, no science to speak of.

It’s kind of amazing to me that he actually showed up at JSM, but of course if he had any shame, he wouldn’t have repeatedly stolen copied without proper attribution in the first place. It’s not even like Doris Kearns Goodwin who reportedly produced a well-written book out of it!


  1. Wonks Anonymous says:

    At first I was unsure if it was Said who gave the Afghanistan talk or (more likely) the award recipient. Then I remembered Wegman had won an award like that. So why bracket out his name?

    • Andrew says:


      I bracketed out Wegman’s name because I thought it was funny to refer to him that way. You can search this blog for Wegman for some background. You can see that I filed this post under Zombies, a category we use for topics that come up often enough here to become sources of amusement.

  2. John Mashey says:

    Thanks, it is interesting to hear what actually occurred. The JSM program says:

    “The Human Cultural and Social Landscape — Invited Papers
    Section on Statistics in Defense and National Security , International Chinese Statistical Association , Section on Physical and Engineering Sciences , Section on Risk Analysis , Social Statistics Section
    Organizer(s): Edward J. Wegman, George Mason University
    Chair(s): Edward J. Wegman, George Mason University

    2:05 PM Understanding Afghanistan — Yasmin H. Said, George Mason University
    2:35 PM Validating a Model of Afghan Drug Industry: Effects of Corruption on the Effectiveness of Counternarcotic Policies — Armando Geller, George Mason University ; Maciej M. Latek, George Mason University ; Seyed M. Mussavi Rizi, George Mason University
    3:05 PM Inferring Social Network Structure from Incident Size Distribution in Iraq — Tim Gulden, George Mason University “

    Maybe there is Army money for Afghanistan studies??

    Meanwhile, there is still the curious item, given that Wegman gave the talk, not Said:

    For years, she was listed:
    as Yasmin H. Said, Professor, Oklahoma State University, Ruth L. Kirschstein National Fellow, George Mason University

    {although she was never employed by OSU].

    Just recently, within last week, this got changed:
    Yasmin H. Said, Professor, George Mason University

    • Andrew says:


      Interesting. Yasmin Said is not listed here, so I wonder where that Professor title came from. Continuing with your last link above, I’m also surprised to see such an eminent list of associate editors working for Wegman and Said as “editors in chief.” I know lots of these people!

      • Ted Kirkpatrick says:

        Andrew, there are well-documented problems at WIREs:Computational Statistics. Deep Climate has two posts analyzing the unattributed sources for an article by Wegman and Said (Part 1, Part 2). DC found, “In all, at least 10 of 17 references appear to be spurious, and 12 of the 17 figures are not properly attributed. All told, there are at least 12 different identified sources of unattributed text and figures, including five Wikipedia articles.” This in a journal where Wegman and Said are two of the editors-in-chief and submissions are invitation-only. There seem to be real editorial breakdowns occurring at WIREs:CS.

  3. Deep Climate says:

    Faculty and Staff Results
    Said, Yasmin H.
    Research Assistant Professor, Physics/Astronomy/Computational Sci
    368 Research Hall (Research I), Ffx, MSN: 6A2

    But I can’t find her at SPACS either …

  4. Eli Rabett says:

    Hope that;s a smile, Research Anything Professor is soft money and gone with the grant.