Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Rewrite Plagiarism

The Columbus Dispatch ran an article today about the case of plagiarism at Ohio State University where they revoked a doctoral degree. The article mentions my efforts to convince Ohio University leaders to act on evidence of plagiarism in a rewritten thesis. The purpose of this blog post is to summarize in one place the evidence of plagiarism as well as the letters I have written to OU officials about it.

In September 2007, Ohio University republished a supposedly rewritten thesis by Amit Adlakha. When I read the rewrite, I immediately noticed that in spite of deleting almost all of chapter 3, the student still submitted pages of plagiarized material. I know it is plagiarized because the same text was published over 15 years earlier in another Ohio University thesis.

I strongly suspect that both students copied from a software user's manual, but I have not been able to find it. Regardless, there can be absolutely no doubt that Amit Adlakha's rewrite contains plagiarism.

When I first noticed the plagiarism, I immediately emailed OU's former director of legal affairs, John Burns. A few months later, Kathy Lynn Gray from The Columbus Dispatch questioned Dean Irwin about plagiarism in a rewrite. He told her that the thesis would be "re-examined." In April 2009, I wrote to President McDavis asking him to hold accountable the professors who approved the rewrite with plagiarism. In spite of the concrete evidence of plagiarism, my allegations were dismissed without explanation. In January 2010, I wrote to Ohio University Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Pam Benoit, and I provided again the concrete evidence of plagiarism in the rewrite. Once again, they dismissed the evidence. Then, I emailed Ohio University General Counsel, John Biancamano, asking for an explanation of why they accept plagiarism in Amit Adlakha's rewrite. He refused to answer my simple question.

Dean Dennis Irwin has publicly announced numerous times that thesis submissions must be accompanied by a signed statement of originality and they must be scanned for plagiarism. The Russ College website also states, "The Russ College does not tolerate plagiarism in any form." However, to this day, a rewrite containing plagiarism remains cataloged and available to the public.

Dennis Irwin and the other Ohio University leaders are liars.