Sunday, February 11, 2007

Depress, Unimpress, Cold Compress

I'm trying to figure out the word to use when one's esteem of another decreases. For example, I previously felt neutral about someone, and now I consider them to be a liar. Is that "to unimpress?" To unimpress suggests that I was not impressed by them, but it does not seem to suggest that my esteem of them has decreased. Is it "depress?" I mean, I'm certainly familiar with depression, but this isn't it.

I recently discovered that a faculty here at GradShitTownVille plagarized really quite heavily on a tech report he wrote just a few years ago. I'd actually looked up his tech report on a subject to get a second explanation of a particular topic. Instead, I realized he'd simply copied the first explanation I'd already read. And by "heavily plagarized," I mean that there are whole paragraphs that have been copied, with just a little editing.

Let's say that the topic is...ponies.

Original work:

"The simple pony barn addresses the general problem of trying to house a pony in a discrete and controlled edifice that is governed by the linear stochastic difference equation..."

Tech report:

"The pony shed addresses the general problem of trying to house a pony in a discrete and controlled edifice that is goverened by the linear stochastic difference equation...."

*Totally* different. I know.

So far, what I've learned about being a "top" professor is that you have to:

1. Befriend graduate students to get your name on a paper for which you did absolutely no work.

2. Write research papers about the research your student has conducted, but without listing the student's name on the paper.

3. Heavily plagarize.

Sadly, I don't think I'm "top" material. These days, the following is looking good as a potential employer.

Still, browing over the thesaurus doesn't give me good verbs for the act of "lowering one's esteem of someone else." Any suggestions?


Redhotcurrydish said...

Huh Wah? Did I miss something? Seattle U?


Jane said...

I don't have any suggestions for good words, but ick, what a horrible situation. And these f*ckheads are usually untouchable, too. Ick, ick, ick.

FemaleCSGradStudent said...

RHCD: You didn't miss anything. Sorr to get your hopes up. With the boyfriend interviewing for summer internships, I've been daydreaming about potential employers. That's all.

Jane: Yeah, I don't figure anything will happen to this guy. It's just another hash on the "Con" side for being a "top" researcher.

Con...heh....quite literally.

Jenny F. Scientist said...

"Terminally disappoint."

regehr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
regehr said...

I'm a little confused -- why is it plagiarism to borrow text from one's own technical report?

FemaleCSGradStudent said...

JFS: Terminally disappointed. I like it.

REGEHR: I guess there's two issues here. First, I didn't explain things very well. The faculty member copied from another paper that was not his own, and placed it in his technical report. He also did not cite the original work where it appears in his tech report, though the original work does appear in the bibliography.

Second, self-plagarism is also wrong. It is also unethical to copy text from one's own paper and put into another paper without a citation.

regehr said...

Ah, certainly borrowing another's text without attribution is way over the line.

But self-plagiarism can be fuzzy. Offhand I'd say that borrowing from one's own (not otherwise published) techrep would be fine. Verbatim reuse of one's own text is often okay in the workshop / conference / journal paper pipeline.

The IEEE policy on this is pretty clear: "authors should only submit original work that has neither appeared elsewhere for publication, nor which is under review for another refereed publication." So it somewhat comes down to the question of whether a technical report is a publication. My guess is that most people would say no.

regehr said...

I should have added that I'm feeling a bit burned by the other side of self-plagiarism lately: a paper was recently rejected for reasons of self-plagiarism. We had cited the earlier paper and also clearly explained what was added in the new paper. Argh.

Since this happened I have been talking to people about this, and have learned that several people who I respect have stopped letting their students send good research to workshops, for fear that the "real" version of the paper -- sent to a top conference -- will get dinged for self-plagiarism.

FemaleCSGradStudent said...

REGEHR: I've also been dinged by "self plagarism" in this way. Now, in my related work, I take a lot of care in explaining why the conference paper goes above and beyond what was presented in the workshop paper. This seems to help. It's no just a citation, but also a couple of sentences to say how the current conference paper makes a contribution apart from the early work done in the workshop paper.

It sounds like you've tried this and still got burned. I understand how it can be frustrating, since early feedback at workshops is important for growth.

I wonder if anyone else has ideas on this.

Jenny F. Scientist said...

On copying from previous articles- As a journal editor, we have to make sure our submissions are substantially different from previous published versions because the other journal often owns the publishing copyright. (In fact, for a recent conference paper, we had to get reprint permission from another journal.) So for us, the same ideas are fine, but if more than one or two sentences are the exact same words, we literally can't take it.

And yes, unethical on both counts! Eeeep!

wayward said...

Was $FACULTY_MEMBER the sole author of said tech report? In other words, is there any possibility that the section was actually written by someone else (e.g., a grad student) and $FACULTY_MEMBER simply failed to catch it?

FemaleCSGradStudent said...

wayward: There are no grad. students listed as authors, so no scapegoat there. There is another author, so it's possible that $FM is not the culprit. Still, I don't feel that lets anyone off the hook completely.