IF CLIMATE DENIERS WANT TO TALK ABOUT SCHOLARLY INTEGRITY…. For all the conservative hysterics targeting evidence of global warming, this seems like a fairly significant, ignominious development.
An influential 2006 congressional report that raised questions about the validity of global warming research was partly based on material copied from textbooks, Wikipedia and the writings of one of the scientists criticized in the report, plagiarism experts say.
Review of the 91-page report by three experts contacted by USA TODAY found repeated instances of passages lifted word for word and what appear to be thinly disguised paraphrases.
Skip Garner, a plagiarism expert at Virginia Tech, told USA Today, “It kind of undermines the credibility of your work criticizing others’ integrity when you don’t conform to the basic rules of scholarship.”
Yep, it kind of does.
The whole point of the original report, called the Wegman report for George Mason University statistician Edward Wegman, was to cast doubt on the quality of the scholarship used by climate scientists. It was quite effective — Republicans and other deniers seized on the findings in 2006 to attack scientists and raise public doubts about the climate crisis.
But a closer analysis of the Wegman report found that 35 of the report’s 91 pages “are mostly plagiarized text, but often injected with errors, bias and changes of meaning.”
When USA Today showed the findings to other plagiarism experts characterized the evidence of wrongdoing as “fairly obvious” and “fairly shocking.”
The Wegman report was requested by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), Congress’ most ardent pro-pollution member, who relied on the document to go after climate scientists publicly.
I’m going to go out on a limb and guess Republicans will not hold additional hearings on the quality of the Wegman report’s scholarship. Call it a hunch.