Thursday, December 3, 2009

Plagiarism Committees Do Not Read Theses

An astute reader left a comment to my previous post and I would now like to address the comment here.

Referring to Ohio University's sole use of to check past theses for plagiarism, the commenter wrote, "is that all they really use? For such a serious offense, one would hope for a more thorough approach in detecting plagiarism."

I had the same question, and about a year ago (after a few tries), I got an answer. Yes, is all they use. To show you, I scanned an email I received from Ohio University legal affairs back in 2008.

Furthermore, as I pointed out in another post, was the only tool Dr. Koonce used in his FINAL REPORT: An Investigation into Plagiarism in Theses of the Russ College of
Engineering and Technology 1980-2006. On page 11 of Dr. Koonce's report, he discusses the methods he used to detect plagiarism. He wrote: "Detecting external plagiarism was accomplished by comparing documents against the Turnitin database." There is no mention whatsoever in the report that theses will be read. On page 5 of his report, he wrote: "It will be assumed that any document which contains external plagiarism will have that duplicated text detected by the evaluation software employed in the study (The Turnitin R plagiarism detection tool)."

Obviously, Dr. Koonce made a very poor assumption. In fact, one year after Dr. Koonce concluded his investigation, Dr. Prudich identified 4 additional theses that were missed by Dr. Koonce's investigation. Nevertheless, Ohio University continues to stand behind Dr. Koonce's faulty report from which he conveniently concluded, "I see no need to investigate further."

This was a ploy on Ohio University's part to deceive the public. They really did not want to find plagiarism. That attitude goes back to the beginning of their investigations as evidenced by a statement by Jerrel Mitchell, the leader of the Academic Honesty Oversight Committee. As reported in The Post back in 2006, Jerrel Mitchell told the other members of the committee investigating plagiarism, "It is not our charge to go looking for plagiarism cases. The charging person must be very specific, i.e., he/she must tell us who is charged and specifically where to find the plagiarism." In other words, this group of professors only looked at what I gave them, and they ignored plagiarism that I did not outline for them. This is the very reason that a rewrite that contains plagiarism was republished; the student only deleted plagiarism I had identified in 2005, but he republished plagiarism that I did not know about until later. (Note: the republished plagiarism was also missed by a evaluation).

I agree completely with the reader's comment. I too would hope that Ohio University would make an honest effort to clear their library of plagiarism. Unfortunately, Ohio University professors have an aversion to reading.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 Fails Again

From what I have seen is useless when it comes to detecting plagiarism in engineering theses and dissertations.

Today, I want to show you another case of plagiarism that was missed by when Ohio University checked all of the theses and dissertations approved by Drs. Gunasekera and Mehta.

In November 2002, five Ohio University professors collectively approved the doctoral dissertation submitted by Padmasiri Vipul Ranatunga. Later in 2006, after Ohio University finally acknowledged a severe plagiarism problem, they used to recheck Dr. Ranatunga's dissertation. After the second check, the dissertation was cleared and recataloged in the university library. However, when I checked the dissertation, I found page after page of verbatim plagiarism. I have highlighted the plagiarism here. As you can see, Dr. Ranatunga copied copiously from at least three different sources. Two of the sources can be seen here and here. The third source is a book that I did not take the time to go scan and post.

Notice that Dr. Ranatunga acknowledges five professors for serving on his dissertation committee. The approving professors are: Dr. Gunasekera, Dr. Pasic, Dr. Mehta, Dr. Sormaz, and Dr. Gulino. Except for Dr. Sormaz, I have seen the other four professors' names numerous times as committee members for cheating students. There is no doubt in my mind that the professors did not care that the doctoral student submitted copied material.

It is worth noting that Dr. Ranatunga also plagiarized in his 1999 master's thesis (also approved by Dr. Gunasekera). When interviewed by Paula Wasley in 2006, Dr. Ranatunga stated that he intended to challenge those plagiarism allegations. Evidently, he changed his mind as his thesis re-write has been re-cataloged in the Ohio University library. He is probably now working on re-writing his doctoral dissertation.

I find it remarkable that Dr. Ranatunga told Pauly Wasley that the copying in his thesis "is not plagiarism," and when interviewed by Robert Tomsho of The Wall Street Journal, he said "we had no idea of what to put on a thesis when we took material from someone else’s work." These comments certainly explain things: Ohio University has been awarding advanced graduate degrees to individuals who have no idea what it means to write and publish a thesis or dissertation. What's even worse is that (like other Ohio University graduates) Dr. Ranatunga is now a tenured professor himself. How nice it is for Ohio University to confer a doctoral degree in 2002 and then allow the student to actually do the work seven years later. What a joke.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Education Doctoral Graduate Continues to Plagiarize

In a previous post, I showed that a 2007 doctoral graduate of Ohio University's College of Education plagiarized in his doctoral dissertation. Now I want to show you that this graduate has continued to cheat after leaving Ohio University.

In 2007 Ohio University graduate, Dr. Mansour Aldojan, published a paper titled "Regardless of how innovative the faculty may be: Addressing Faculty Concerns and Differences about Adoption of New Technologies" in the Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2007.

The paper contains extensive plagiarism some of which I have highlighted here. Three of the sources he copied can be viewed here, here, and here. There is additional copying in the paper, but I did not take the time to mark every last bit.

Dr. Aldojan obtained a doctoral degree from Ohio University and he does not even know how to write a paper. Will Ohio University revoke his degree? Will his advisor be held accountable? Will his current employer be advised of his lack of qualifications? Will The World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications be notified that they published a paper containing extensive plagiarism? How many more Ohio University Education graduates do not know how to write?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Distinguished Professor and Student Plagiarize Together

In 2004, Dr. Maliski, Dr. Kalinowski, and Dr. Dobrucki published an article in Circulation magazine. But rather than writing all of their publication they copied from a 2001 article published in Free Radical Biology and Medicine.

To show you I have highlighted the plagiarized text here. The source of the copied text can be viewed here. In comparing the two publications, it is interesting to note that the true authors acted professionally when they properly cited their sources, but when the Malinski et. al. team copied the text they removed all the citations.

It will be interesting to see if Ohio University leaders take any action against Dr. Malinski and Dr. Dobrucki. Will they revoke Dr. Dobrucki's doctoral degree? Will they strip Dr. Malinski of his distinguished professor title? Will they contact Circulation Magazine to inform them that they published copied text? Will an expert be called in to verify the legitimacy of the entire article? Will they check all of the work approved by Dr. Malinski? Will anyone apologize to the scholars whose work was stolen?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Another Distinguished Professor Approves Plagiarism

In November 2004, about 5 months after Dr. Alam began to unfairly stonewall me on my master's thesis, Distinguished Professor Dr. Tadeusz Malinski approved a chemistry doctoral dissertation that contains pages of blatant plagiarism. To show you, I have highlighted pages of plagiarized text from the dissertation. The text highlighted in blue is copied from this source, and the text highlighted in green is copied from this source.

There are some very important questions that arise from this dissertation.

How will Ohio University's College of Arts and Sciences deal with this cheating student? The student clearly shows an intent to deceive the reader by making the subtle change of switching the word "we" to "I" (see page 22) or failing to include the copied sources in her reference list. It is also important to recognize that the student avoided performing literary research on her subject by copying many of her citations from others. In other words, the multitude of citations and associated references make it appear like she went to the library and read numerous papers on her subject when in reality, she was able to build a lengthy reference list without ever obtaining, reading or analyzing those references. This person clearly does not deserve the title: Doctor of Philosophy.

How will Ohio University deal with the professor who awarded a doctoral degree to a student who cheated to meet her degree requirements? I seriously doubt that Dr. Malinski and the other professors on the doctoral committee believed that their student wrote with such expertise. I believe that either they did not read the dissertation or they did not care that she copied. Either way, the approving professors are in violation of the Ohio University Faculty Handbook Statement on Professional Ethics.

Will President McDavis, and the other distinguished professors strip Dr. Malinski of his distinguished professor title like they did to Dr. Gunasekera?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Extensive Plagiarism Undetected by

Back in March 2007 Ohio University announced the conclusion to their plagiarism investigations with the revocation of one degree and a quote from Dr. Koonce: "I see no need to investigate further." In that same article, Ohio University also claimed to have examined all of the theses and dissertations approved by Drs. Mehta and Gunasekera. What Ohio University did not tell the public however, is that their Research Integrity Committee relied solely on plagiarism detection software for that examination.

It took months for Ohio University to return all of the cleared theses and dissertations to the catalog, but when they did, I began to discover numerous cases of plagiarism that were missed by their review. To show you how ineffective is at detecting plagiarism in engineering theses, I have highlighted page after page of copied text from a thesis that was cleared by and the Russ College Research Integrity Committee. You can download the plagiarism examples here. Text highlighted in blue is copied from the paper "Finite Element Simulation of the Electrochemical Machining Process" by H.A. Nied and E.M. Perry. Text highlighted in pink is copied from the book "Principles of Electrochemical Machining" by J.A. McGeough.

This is just one more case that demonstrates Ohio University's inconsistent enforcement of their policies and their willingness to sacrifice the credibility of honest students and alumni. It is incredibly deceptive for Ohio University to lead the public to believe that they checked the theses when they did not even bother to read them. Had they read the theses, they could have easily detected issues that should have warranted additional questions. Any reasonable and/or competent professor would have questioned how the student wrote with the expertise and eloquence of a professional who had years of experience in electrochemical machining.

Ohio University leaders obviously have no respect for their university, their students, their professors, and the public. They are even unfair to the cheaters. They should apologize to the student whose degree was revoked for not holding all cheating students accountable. Likewise, they should apologize to Drs. Mehta and Gunasekera for singling them out when other professors also approved theses with blatant plagiarism.

There are two other facts about this case worth mentioning.

After plagiarizing in his master's thesis, the student went on to earn a doctoral degree from Ohio University. It should not be any surprise that the student also plagiarized in his doctoral dissertation (which was approved by Dr. Alam). To show you, I highlighted some of the copied text from the dissertation in orange. The source of the copied text is the article "Why you should consider object-oriented programming techniques for finite element methods" by J.T. Cross, I. Masters, and R.W. Lewis.

The other fact of interest is that another doctoral student advised by Dr. Gunasekera submitted some of the same copied text in his master's thesis. When I complained about the plagiarism to the Ohio Board of Regents in December 2004, I enclosed excerpts of plagiarism from both theses with my letter. It should not come as a surprise that the Board of Regents did not take any real action. They did not even plan to respond to me, but they were forced to write me when Suzanne Wilder from The Post began asking questions months later. Later in 2005 Dean Irwin claimed that I had "not offered to provide other examples [of plagiarism]" when he was interviewed by Inside Higher Ed. Dean Irwin lied. I did offer to provide examples of plagiarism on September 13, 2004, but he sent me away with a threat of a lawsuit. I also know that he saw my letter to the Regents because he and Ombuds, Elizabeth Graham, reprimanded me during our January 2005 meeting for sending the letter. They both tried to assure me that student plagiarism was not my concern. President McDavis followed suit when he was interviewed by Carrie Ghose of Columbus Business First. Even though I copied President McDavis on my letter and it was distributed from his office, he "said he doesn't recall seeing it."

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ohio University Is Breeding Legacy of Cheaters

In June 2007, Ohio University professors in the College of Education approved a dissertation that contains plagiarism. The dissertation can be downloaded from the following link: .

The doctoral graduate copied from the dissertation of another student and he copied from other articles. I marked two pages to show you. The source copied on page 47 of the dissertation is here. The first copied paragraph on page 128 is from this source. The second copied paragraph on page 128 is from this source. It is pretty pathetic when a doctoral graduate has to copy his method of experimental analysis from someone else's article.

The student's dissertation also has pages of text that is the same as another article available online. This article was published 8 years before the dissertation. Compare pages 15 to 17 of the dissertation to pages 3 and 4 of the online article. It is interesting to note that within the duplicate text the student added 5 citations for the World Factbook, but the online article has no citations.

This very recent case of plagiarism by an Ohio University education graduate raises some important questions. Do professors in the College of Education condone plagiarism? Were the approving professors and student aware of all discussions of academic honesty at Ohio University during 2006? Is this doctoral graduate still cheating?

Ohio University and Its Graduates Can't Be Trusted

Someone who calls him/herself "Caveat Emptor" left a very poignant comment to my earlier post about blatant plagiarism in an Ohio University Physics doctoral dissertation that was approved by the professor appointed as the Chair of the Academic Honesty Hearing Committee. I am hoping that the comment is read by many people, so I am re-posting it here.

"Caveat Emptor said...
This sort of contagion is just what you’d expect with rewrites, which seems to be Ohio University’s blanket approach to dealing with essentially all of its plagiarists (the number of known or suspected plagiarists is now well over fifty and still climbing but only one degree has been revoked since OU’s plagiarism scandal went public in 2005).It will eventually occur to other universities that they can protect themselves from being contaminated with OU plagiarists by simply (and tacitly) not hiring any OU Ph.D.s onto their faculties and not admitting any OU masters degree holders into their doctoral programs. After all, why should any faculty search committee (or graduate admissions committee) needlessly risk the possibility of hiring (or admitting) a plagiarist from OU when there are plenty of reputable candidates available from better schools? And whenever this happens, it will be an unspoken “plagiarism tax” unfairly borne by all honest OU alumni.So eventually the reputation and fortunes of all OU graduate degree holders will suffer as will the reputations of those schools that inadvertently hire/admit OU plagiarists because they aren’t vigilant (because of their well-intended but misplaced trust in the academic integrity of OU). In concert with all this, graduate enrollment at OU will likely fall and/or the quality of its graduate student intake will worsen and this will fuel retrenchment in graduate study there.The most effective and direct way to disrupt this pernicious hiring/admissions spiral is for OU to revoke the degrees it has mistakenly awarded. But so long as OU can keep its plagiarism problem quiet, it can continue to surreptitiously propagate its “repaired” (rewritten) ersatz (inferior) masters and Ph.D. degree graduates into higher education. The longer this weary and disturbing hiring/admissions syndrome continues, the more easily the perception of OU as a diploma mill will come to mind. And as OU’s plagiarists infect other universities, plagiarism will likely expand into a repeating cycle of pollution beyond OU.At the end of the day, as a result of OU’s misguided plagiarism rewrite approach to dealing with its plagiarists, the biggest loser will be OU itself and the rest of higher education will be diminished as well."

Caveat Emptor very nicely explains many of the issues that arise when university leaders start creating exceptions to the most basic rules of academia. Eventually more and more people are going to realize that Ohio University will award advanced graduate degrees to anyone, even blatant cheaters. Consequently, the value and credibility of an honest degree continues to diminish, and no one will know who they can trust. Why would a university do this? Why haven't more alumni and professors expressed outrage? Are they hiding something too? This is a huge issue. I'm going to keep trying to get answers.

Thank you Caveat Emptor for assessing the problems here with eloquence.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Plagiarism by Ohio University Education Graduate

In August 2002, professors in Ohio University's College of Education approved a doctoral dissertation that contains at least 9 pages of verbatim plagiarism. There is probably much more.

The student copied at least two different sources. Pages 31 to 34 are copied from a 1995 research report for the Saskatchewan School Board Association by Rick Sawa. I have noted the copied parts here. The report can also be downloaded from

Pages 34 to 40 are copied from a 1986 ERIC publication written by Joan Barrett. I have noted the copied parts here. The publication can be downloaded from

I hope that someone from the College of Education will be good enough to explain what is going on there. We know from the court testimony of Dr. Robert Williams, "that in the mechanical engineering department it is accepted practice for the introductory section of a student’s thesis to contain historical or background material that is not the student’s original work" (see page 6 of the decision in the Mehta v. Ohio University case ). Does the College of Education share this same view? Do they allow all students to copy their literature review (citations and all)? What is the College of Education going to do about this case? Will they inform the employer of this student that he cheated to meet his degree requirements? Will they revoke the degree or will they play the rewrite game? Who will judge the case? Can we trust this doctoral graduate of education to properly teach his students?

One other item of importance is that this student, in his acknowledgements, claims to have earned three graduate degrees from Ohio University. Is anyone going to verify the legitimacy of those degrees?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Blatant Ethics Violation by Electrical Engineering Professors

As I have mentioned before, most people might think that Ohio University's plagiarism problems are isolated to the Mechanical Engineering Department. Today I want to show you an example of obvious plagiarism from a published Electrical Engineering thesis. The source of the copied text is

This case is very important since there are obvious tell tale signs of plagiarism. The most obvious sign is the change in citation style used by the student. Other signs of plagiarism include: cited sources are not included in the references, vocabulary beyond that of typical foreign student, multiple writing styles, etc.

Several months ago I had planned to ask Ohio University leaders to hold the professors who approved this thesis accountable. However, when I learned that President McDavis and General Council Biancamano refeused to investigate the ethics violations by their Honesty Hearing Chairman (and others), I knew I would be wasting my time. I don't know why Ohio University even bothers to have rules on ethics. Nevertheless, I did make a public records request to learn the names of the approving professors. They are: Jeff Dill, Joseph Essman, Voula Georgopoulos, and outside rep. Jeffery Conner. Either these professors condone plagiarism or they did not read the thesis they approved. Either way, they are guilty of ethics violations.

It is also worth noting that the true author of the copied material is aware of this case. .

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Possible Research Misconduct by Professor to Cover Up Student Plagiarism

Back in March 2007, Ohio University publicized an internal investigation into plagiarism in the Russ College of Engineering. The lead investigator, Dr. Koonce, claimed that he checked a so called random sample of 32 theses that were supposed to be representative of the entire lot of theses published by engineering students since 1980 (about 1500 theses). In the Executive Summary of his final report, he wrote, "The number of documents in the sample found to potentially contain plagiarized material was three." In his conclusion he wrote, "at most, three (3) of the documents from the sample of 32 have apparent plagiarism." Dr. Koonce also told a reporter from The Post, Sean Gaffney, that he "found three instances of alleged plagiarism." In other words, the number 3 was used repeatedly.

Over the next year Ohio University began to slowly return theses to the library and I quickly began to discover more evidence of plagiarism. (Note the theses were all removed from circulation for about a year while Dr. Koonce conducted his investigation). Being suspicious of Dr. Koonce's conclusion, I asked legal affairs for the titles of the 29 theses that were cleared by Dr. Koonce.

It took months for Ohio University to fulfill my request, but when they did finally provide the list, they also provided an internal memo stating that really 7 of the theses might contain plagiarism. The number 3 changed to a 7 one year after Ohio University concluded their investigation. It is also worth noting that one of the theses from the list of 32 was published after Ohio University required all theses to be scanned for plagiarism prior to publication. In other words, Dr. Koonce appears to have stacked the deck with at least one thesis that was guaranteed to pass his Turnitin check.

There should be an investigation into Dr. Koonce's actions. How can he report that he found only 3 cases of plagiarism, but there were really 7? Did he fail to detect them all, or did he manipulate he research results to achieve his desired outcome?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ohio University Gets Away With Deception

Last month a judge ruled in favor of Ohio University in the defamation case filed by Dr. Mehta (one of the professors scapegoated for allowing plagiarism). Someone wrote an editorial in response to the judge's decision which implies that Ohio University is now trying to hold all professors accountable for plagiarism.

I have first hand experience that that is not the case. Last March, I wrote a letter to Dean Dennis Irwin requesting that the 4 professors who approved one of the worst cases of plagiarism I have seen be held accountable. I enclosed with the letter over 30 pages from the thesis with the plagiarism highlighted. This is undoubtedly one of the worst cases of plagiarism that I have seen, and it ranks right up there with the worst that Dr. Mehta approved. By the way, it is an Electrical Engineering thesis.

Much to my dismay and inconsistent with public perception, I received a letter from Ohio University's Legal Director, John Biancamano, indicating that the professors will not be held accountable.

Whoever wrote the editorial for the Dispatch was either duped by Ohio University or it is someone who wants to further mislead the public.

More Plagiarism Approved by the Honesty Chairman

I can't get over how ridiculous Ohio University's leaders were to select a professor who is involved in allowing plagiarism as their Honesty Hearing Chairman.

In 2003, Dr. Ingram served as a thesis committee member for one of Dr. Alam's students. That student worked in Dr. Ingram's lab, but rather than writing all of his own thesis, the student decided to copy parts.

To illustrate my claim, I marked a few pages of the student's thesis. Compare those pages to the source of the student's copying. There are more examples of plagiarism in this thesis.

I think this thesis clearly shows that Dr. Alam and Dr. Ingram condone plagiarism. Did they really believe their student wrote with such expertise?

Ohio University Plagiarism is not Limited to Mechanical Engineering

Most people who have followed the Ohio University plagiarism scandal probably think that Ohio University's plagiarism problems are isolated to the Mechanical Engineering department. While the ME department does have a number of professors who condone plagiarism, there is a significant amount of published plagiarism in the Ohio University's Electrical Engineering department. I will get to that some other day.

Perhaps even more important than engineering plagiarism, is the plagiarism I discovered in a Physics doctoral dissertation which was approved in 2003 by Dr. David Ingram, the chair of the Academic Honesty Hearing Committee.

Anyone can download the dissertation from the following link:

The link may not work after a few days or weeks because I reported this case to Ohio University legal affairs back on August 28, 2009.

To show how obvious the plagiarism is, I marked a few pages from the dissertation. The source of the copied material is a paper written by A. Grill. Notice that Dr. Ingram's student even copied the citations from the paper; that is a nice way for a doctoral student to do research without ever setting foot in the library.

There are many more examples of plagiarism in the dissertation. Just google search the first sentence of Chapter 2 and you will find that Dr. Ingram's student copied page after page from a website.

Some people have correctly suggested that Ohio University outsource their plagiarism investigations. Unfortunately, Ohio University leaders chose an internal person who has direct involvement in allowing plagiarism as the judge of their cases. Now I understand why Dr. Ingram approved a thesis rewrite that still contains plagiarism.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ohio University Lied to Us

On March 28, 2007 Ohio University announced the end of their plagiarism investigations with a quote by Industrial Engineering professor Dr. David Koonce, "I see no need to investigate further."

Based on my previous knowledge of plagiarism cases at Ohio University, I knew that they were attempting to cover-up the real situation. Over the past years I have been collecting information which proves that Ohio University's plagiarism problems are ongoing and the problems are much more serious than most probably know.

Also, over the years I have made numerous efforts to convince Ohio University leaders of their responsibility to their honest students, alumni, professors, and the public in general to hold their cheating students and professors accountable. Unfortunately, I have been unsuccessful.

I have now decided to catalog my findings through this blog.

One of my more recent and very important discoveries is that Ohio University leaders chose a professor who is directly involved in allowing plagiarism as their Plagiarism Hearing Committee chairman, Dr. David C. Ingram. Back in 2007, I questioned the selection of Dr. Ingram because I knew that two of Dr. Alam's students who worked in Dr. Ingram's lab published the same experimental procedure in their theses (plagiarism in my opinion). Dr. Angie Bukley eventually tried to tell me that the experimental procedure was attached to the machine and was therefore public domain. She did agree to let Dr. McLaughlin make a final judgement, but President McDavis ordered a stop before it occurred. (I will plan to post all the pertinent emails later).

Since then, I have noted additional ethics violations committed by Dr. Ingram. I tried to get President McDavis to act on those violations in an April 9, 2009 letter I wrote to him. In the letter I clearly show that the Honesty Hearing Committee has blatantly violated the president's thesis rewrite policies. Initially, The Higher Learning Commission (Ohio University's accreditor) acknowledged "potential accreditation issues." However, President McDavis had no problem dismissing my complaint without offering any explanation. A month later, The Higher Learning Commission also dismissed my complaint. Note that Ms. Solinski implies that Ohio University's legal troubles give them license to disregard their own policies.

The bottom line is that Ohio University has repeatedly told the public that cheating students would be rewriting their theses and that all thesis submissions would be scanned for plagiarism. The fact that Honesty Hearing Committee approved theses with deletions (not rewritten) and at least one thesis with pages of plagiarism proves that Ohio University lied to the public.