Monthly Archives: May 2011

Open Thread # 10

Possible topics for discussion:

… or anything else not on topic for recent threads.

Retraction of Said, Wegman et al 2008, part 2

Early climate contrarian reactions to the retraction of Said, Wegman et al 2008 have grasped at straws, holding that this does not affect the findings of the paper and the earlier Wegman report alleging inadequate peer review in climate science.

Now USA Today’s Dan Vergano, who broke the the retraction story, addresses exactly that contention in a follow up piece. Social network analysis expert Kathleen Carley of Carnegie Mellon calls Said et al “more of an opinion piece” that would have required “major revision” to render it fit for publication in an SNA journal.

And it gets worse. Computational Statistics and Data Analysis chief editor Stanley Azen “personally reviewed” the paper and sent Wegman an acceptance notice within days of submission.  Meanwhile, Virginia Tech’s Skip Garner enumerates the potential consequences of the research misconduct finding, including the possible need to investigate “ethical issues such as conflict-of-interest, haste vs. scientific rigor and bias”.

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Retraction of Said, Wegman et al 2008, part 1

It’s been a long time coming, but there has now been an official finding in at least one of the complaints concerning the dubious scholarship of GMU professors Edward Wegman and Yasmin Said. According to Dan Vergano of USA Today, the journal Computational Statistics and Data Analysis  (CSDA) has officially confirmed that Said, Wegman et al 2008, a follow up to the infamous Wegman et al report to Congress, will finally be retracted following complaints of plagiarism and inadequate peer review.

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Wegman and Said 2011, part 2

I continue the previous discussion of  unacknowledged antecedents in  Color Theory and Design by Wegman and Said (WIREs Computational Statistics, 2011), and examine the second half of the article in detail. There is an excessive (and partially unattributed) reliance on Marc Green’s web page on the subject.  An analysis of the list of references and figures shows a disturbing failure of the authors (who are also two thirds of the editorial team) to follow WIREs own guidelines. 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 pattern raises questions concerning the fitness of the authors for editorial duties.
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