By Deep Climate
[Update, Oct. 11: George Mason University spokesperson Doug Walsch has clarified that the complaint against Wegman has moved past the preliminary “inquiry” phase and is now under formal investigation. ]
[Update, Oct. 15, 19: I have added pointers to my previous discussions and updated side-by-side comparisons relevant to allegations of plagiarism forwarded to George Mason University last March and April. The allegations concern not only the Wegman report, but also the federally-funded Said et al 2008 (published in Computational Statistics and Data Analysis, with Wegman and two other Wegman proteges as co-authors). ]
George Mason University has acknowledged that statistics professor Edward Wegman is under investigation for plagiarism. As related in USA Today, the investigation followed a formal complaint by paleoclimatologist Raymond Bradley, co-author of the seminal (and controversial) 1998 and 1999 “hockey stick” temperature reconstructions.
But a letter from Roger Stough, GMU’s vice-president responsible for research, indicates that the pace of the initial inquiry has been slow. And it appears that a promised date for resolution of the inquiry phase of the proceeding has been missed.
Citing John Mashey’s Strange Scholarship magnum opus in the opening paragraph, Dan Vergano at USA Today writes:
Officials at George Mason University confirmed Thursday that they are investigating plagiarism and misconduct charges made against a noted climate science critic.
The article goes on to link to my previous discussion and analysis of the Wegman Report’s background section on paleoclimatology, which indicated that passages had been apparently lifted nearly verbatim from Bradley’s Paleoclimatology: Reconstructing Climates of the Quaternary, and then edited in a manner that introduced distortions and errors.
USA Today also has a letter to Bradley sent by Roger Stough, Vice-president for Research and Economic Development, on July 28, 2010. In the letter, Stough promised a resolution of the inquiry phase by September 30, apparently more than six months after the initial complaint was brought by Bradley. The purpose of the inquiry phase is to determine if a full-blown proceeding is warranted. Yet even that intermediate deadline has apparently been missed, though it was already well beyond GMU’s own established timelines.
The Washington Post has also covered this development, noting that Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinnelli’s legal pursuit of Michael Mann relies heavily on the Wegman Report. That report concludes:
We’ve asked Cuccinelli’s office for reaction to news of the GMU investigation and we’ll bring you any response we receive.
[Update, Oct. 11: USA Today has added the following clarification of the status of the misconduct complaint:
[GMU spokesperson] Walsch clarified on Sunday that Bradley’s complaint is under a formal investigation by the university, and has moved past a preliminary “inquiry” to a committee investigation.
“An investigation is warranted if there is a reasonable basis for concluding that the alleged conduct falls within the definition of research misconduct under this policy and preliminary information-gathering and preliminary fact-finding from the inquiry indicates that the allegation may have substance,” according to the university’s misconduct policy.
The GMU misconduct policy also calls for the investigation committee to use “its best efforts to complete the investigation within 120 days of the date on which it began.” Thus, the final report of the committee should be completed by early 2011.
However, it is worth noting that the inquiry phase, which began in April, was supposed to take 60 days and apparently dragged on for five months or more. Presumably, scrutiny by the media and the public at large will provide sufficient impetus for the new investigation committee to complete its work within the prescribed timelines. ]
[Update, Oct. 15: Here are pointers to material most relevant to the allegations of plagiarism that were sent to George Mason University by Raymond Bradley last March and April.
As noted in the comments and in my original discussion, the latter allegation regards federally-funded scholarly work. It is thus subject to oversight by the Office of Research Integrity, with potential serious consequences. ]