I’m posting this one in the evening because I know some people just hate when I write about plagiarism. But this one is so ridiculous I had to share it with you.
John Smith (or maybe I should say “John Smith”?) writes:
Today on a political science forum I saw this information about plagiarism by two well-known political scientists (Jon Hurwitz and Mark Peffley). It checks out, and I thought you might be interested.
The 2010 article below is just a verbatim combination of the 2005 and 2007 articles. It has the same data, findings, tables and figures as the 2005 and 2007 articles, and it shares a lot of the text too.
For example, table 1 (p. 466) in the 2010 article is identical to the first part of table 1a on p. 772 of the 2005 article. Figure 2 in the 2010 article is identical to figure 1a on p. 774 of the 2005 article.
Figure 1 (p. 1006) in the 2007 article is identical to figure 3 (p. 471) in the 2010 article, except that the x-axis is labeled differently. Table 2 (p. 1004) in the 2007 article is identical to table 3 (p. 470) in the 2010 article, except the control variables are not shown (but are included) in the 2010 article and one of the six coefficients in the 2010 article is different (.03 versus .01). Table 1 (p. 1002) in the 2007 article is identical to table 2 (p. 469) in the 2010 article, but uses a different rounding scheme and adds the question text.
Hurwitz, Jon, and Mark Peffley. 2005. Explaining the great divide: Perceptions of fairness in the U.S. criminal justice system. Journal of Politics, 67(3), 762-83.
Peffley, Mark, and Jon Hurwitz. 2007. Persuasion and resistance: Race and the death penalty in America. American Journal of Political Science, 51(4): 996-1012.
Hurwitz, Jon, and Mark Peffley. 2010. And justice for some: Race, crime, and punishment in the US criminal justice system. Canadian Journal of Political Science, 43(2): 457-479.
My first thought ways: Hey, they’re 3/5 of the way towards satisfying Arrow’s theorem. But I don’t know anything about the Canadian Journal of Political Science: maybe they publish review articles? Anyway, I’ve been known to copy my own material from one article to another so I can hardly criticize others for doing so.
So I took a look at the 2010 article, and . . . they don’t cite the 2005 and 2007 papers at all! Here are the relevant section of the references:
Hmmm . . . now I better check. Did they really cut and paste from their previously published material? Yup.
From the 2007 article:
And again in 2010:
Same blurry figure. What did they do, scan it in from the newspaper or something?
Say what you want about Michael Lacour, at least he knew how to make a pretty graph. These guys are such amateurs.
Oooh, sooooo tacky. If you think your work is so great that it should be published in multiple journals: fine, go for it (unless of course the journal submission requires you to attest that no part of this work is published elsewhere). But own your choices, for chrissake. Not citing your own AJPS paper where you took your graph . . . that’s really bad news.
I’d hate to be a student in one of these guy’s classes.
I googled *Mark Peffley syllabus* and found this:
A “critical literature review” or “original research.” But not both.
P.S. Just to head off any comments on this point: I’m not not not saying that all published papers should have original research. Review articles are fine. It’s fine to copy figures too: maybe certain pieces of news that were published in AJPS have not made it over the Canadian border so let’s share these findings with our colder cousins. What I hate here is the dishonesty: not citing the earlier published work and thus implying these were new findings. Again, if Hurwitz and Peffley wanted to republish their figures, that’s fine with me—but obviously they thought it wouldn’t be fine with someone else, so they covered their traces. The lack of references to the earlier papers, that’s the smoking gun.
P.P.S. I have no comment on the research itself. Literally no comment: I’m not expressing a positive or negative view—it could be great stuff, perhaps so wonderful that it deserved to be published three times. I did not read the articles, I just looked at them enough to check that there was indeed copying.