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.


Anonymous said...

I wish I had some advice for you. The Dispatch article made OU look incredibly bad, especially compared to the manner in which OSU handled the Nixon case.

You should write a letter to the Editor of the Dispatch, concisely detailing the specifics, and naming those who are responsible and who have failed to act.

Tom Matrka said...

In response to the commenter above: Thank you very much for your advice. I will start working on the editorial you suggested tonight.

Thank you again,

Anonymous said...

Dear Tom,

Keep up this fight!

Some may say this is inconsequential but it isn't. Because of it's blatant and public nature, this problem is a blight on the integrity of every degree earned in that college past and future. It's in the college's best interest to do something about it for their students.

It took a quick google and 5 minutes of reading for me to compare Amit Adlakha's thesis to Puneet Vashistha's 1991 thesis and see the obvious verbatim copying.

Tom Matrka said...

In response to the commenter above: Thank you very much for your support and encouragement. You summed up the situation perfectly.

You can be sure that I will not give up on this until OU follows it own rules.

Thank you again for your support

Anonymous said...

You should also send your letter to the Athens paper, citing the Dispatch article. Just be very concise and to the point, no emotion, just facts. However, name names.

Anonymous said...

This IS important. Thanks for the details and the evidence as shown, it is exactly as you said, and as incriminating and disappointing as described.

Tom Matrka said...

Note: I removed a comment from above that was posted on Nov. 28, 2010 because I have not yet had the time to confirm plagiarism that the commenter alleged in an Ohio University dissertation. I have the dissertation, and I plan to review it.

A copy of the comment that I removed is pasted below, but I edited the name of the person who is accused of plagiarism. Once I confirm the plagiarism, if there is any, I will post the information on this blog.

"just writing because I found a dissertation by R. B. which plagiarizes from my book and several chapters from other books. I believe the dissertation advisor did not know the subject matter (the degree is in Interdisciplinary Studies). What really galls are her insulting remarks about my work and description of original research as "editing." Worse, she actually contacted me and tried to get me to be an outside reader without credit on the committee. I never saw the written product at the time. Now it's on the internet and I'm so apalled."
Posted by Anonymous to Ohio University Plagiarism at November 27, 2010 9:05 PM