|Title / Titel||Interpreting Evidence in Cases of Plagiarism|
|Abstract (PDF, 14 KB)|
|Original title / Originaltitel||Kriminalistische Beweisführung bei Plagiaten|
|Summary / Zusammenfassung||The study reveals the modus operandi used by academic perpetrators trying to steal the work of younger researchers. Interpretation of forensic evidence and a summary of methodological aspects in empirical science are outlined, as far as they are needed to establish the elements of plagiarism.
When tenured professors plagiarize, they aim at claiming first or sole authorship of the research tools created by assistant professors or doctoral students (software, experimental design, etc.). In order to hide their true intent, they make their activities seem like a series of mishaps. However, as the perpetrator must cover the whole territory of new research tools (in which he has had no participation) with incorrect citations, he attacks the victim's intellectual property in a systematic way. He secretly publishes the copied material in the time span between the completion of the victim's work and its publication, where he can hope for he best quality of the work. To create an "official record", the perpetrator is likely to put the copied results in detail into the application for a research grant or into an expertise, to which the victim has no access. On the other hand, in order to create a facade of openness with respect to the stolen material, the perpetrator will also want to use the results in his lecture notes, books and articles, trying to veil the lack of proper citation with various tricks. The latter records can be easily detected by the victim and used as evidence.
Due to the perpetrator's lack of specific knowledge and to his efforts to cover his tracks, the methodological description of how he obtained "his" results, must inevitably contain errors and fatal simplifications.
The odds against innocence can then be established by calculating the likelihood ratio between a masterminded attack and the assumption that the given constellation is due to coincidence. Indeed, the more a perpetrator tries to minimize the risk of discovery, the farther his deeds get beyond a random constellation of slips. The "perfect academic crime" is stochastically impossible to commit.
|Publications / Publikationen||Haas, H. (2006). Kriminalistische Beweisführung bei Plagiaten.
Medialex, Zeitschrift für Kommunikationsrecht. 4/2006: 200-209, Stämpfli AG, Berne.Weitere Informationen
|Keywords / Suchbegriffe||breaches of academic integrity, intellectual property offense, forensics, interpreting evidence, scientific misconduct, empirical science, double authorship|
|Project leadership and contacts /
Projektleitung und Kontakte
|Other links to external web pages||http://www.medialex.ch/index.cfm
|Funding source(s) /
|Universität Zürich (position pursuing an academic career)
|Duration of Project / Projektdauer||May 2006 to Dec 2006|