Neri Oxman, wife of plagiarism critic Bill Ackman, plagiarized passages of her dissertation

Originally published at: Neri Oxman, wife of plagiarism critic Bill Ackman, plagiarized passages of her dissertation - Boing Boing


Plagiarism or not, lifting whole passages without alteration from Wikipedia is lazy AF. Also, from the BI article:

It’s not surprising that Oxman wouldn’t credit Wikipedia in her doctoral dissertation: While Wikipedia is generally accurate, anyone can edit it, so teachers regularly tell their students that they should not cite the website as an authority.

This is true. We were not allowed to use Wikipedia as a cited source in any of my papers for law school. We could use it as a very broad, generic research tool, and use that to find citable sources, and I did that a lot. Wikipedia is useful. You just can’t cite to it, and I promise you Oxman knew that. She knew if she cited those passages, her dissertation wouldn’t be accepted. It would be returned to her for revisions. She just got lazy.


That’s just a pathetic excuse, on par with “the dog ate my homework”.


But she’s white and (at least kinda?) pretty so it doesn’t count, don’tcha know?


“White” isn’t even the important part. Like everything anymore, IOKIYAR. Rules don’t apply to fascist asshats.


How often do Wikipedia modifiers (Though I know they do employ some professional Editors, I can’t bring myself to refer to the mass of sporadic volunteers as “Editors”) research the plagiarism of exact text in its content rather than focus on the factual truth of that content or the legitimate existence of sources?


They do that? I thought their entire job was to reject articles as not being noteworthy - and make articles worse due to infighting.


I’m not sure how often it happens, but you can view the discussions that do occur over what’s an acceptable citation/addition for an article and what isn’t.


When i was doing my bachelor’s, Wikipedia was verboten. We had access to a whole university’s library, including its jaw-dropping quantity of digital archives and database, and so the professors reasonably restricted us to using the resources we’d paid for as part of our tuition.


I hope Harvard appoints another black woman to the position just to piss off Ackman and Rufo. Because the real reason for this is not academic standards, but DEI “wokeness”


It does has its uses, as does any encyclopedia. I mean, when I was in high school (1980s…well before Wikipedia), we couldn’t cite to Encyclopedia Britannica, either. And it wasn’t because it wasn’t reliable, but because it’s at best a tertiary source. That’s actually the main problem with citing Wikipedia, too. As far as encyclopedias go, it’s generally more accurate than print encyclopedias were/are. People make a big deal out of the “anyone can edit it” part, but that’s more of a strength than a weakness. Sure, sometimes, pages get vandalized, but they can also be fixed just as quickly. And again, that’s why you don’t cite to it. But using it to find primary and secondary sources is completely fine. Then you go to those sources to do your detailed research, and cite to those. It shouldn’t be your only starting point, but it’s a perfectly acceptable tool to use.


That’s not “suggesting”. That’s completely disregarding the definition of “plagiarism”. Here’s one definition from (credit where it’s due) the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own : use (another’s production) without crediting the source


I’ve written most of one Wikipedia article on an obscure topic. I worked hard on it, especially on the citations; also on the prose to make it clear & snappy. I’m stunned by how many people, including academics, journalists, bloggers, & self-proclaimed experts, have copied it word for word with no credit or quotation marks.


Some of it probably isn’t, actually. The page that’s just a list of US Supreme Court Justices, or at least the list part of it, is probably no more copyrightable than a phone book. Regardless, Wikipedia has a notice right on its front page that everything is licensed under a CC share alike license, which allows you to freely copy and use any of it, as long as you give attribution.


Wikipedia has a notice right on its front page that everything is licensed under a CC share alike license, which allows you to freely copy and use any of it, as long as you give attribution.

Does that mean only Wikimedia Foundation has standing to sue for plagiarism? Not individual editors?


I have no idea, actually. Unsurprisingly, we didn’t cover creative commons licensing in my copyright law class.


Right, the point is that the copyright status of the source is not relevant to plagiarism, but he doesn’t show the difference. Likely because plagiarism and copyright infringement tend to come as a matching pair, or he’s being clever (“it’s not plagiarism if you have permission”) which in fairness was among the defenses of Claudine Gay.


“Plagiarism is very serious! Well, except for this plagiarism, which, let’s face it, isn’t even really plagiarism, is it?”


In these cases the plagiarized passages are very brief. To play the part of the guy in my own venn diagram, it looks like minimal copyright infringement.


Anyone who goes to copyright when the subject is plagiarism is pretty much impossible to take seriously. Not entirely surprising from a corpo, who probably sees property as vastly more salient than integrity; but still not-even-wrong territory.

There are some slivers of overlap around the edges(in jurisdictions with ‘moral rights’ there is a recognition that not all aspects of a creative work can be sold; but that’s beyond the ‘the-Berne-Covention-is-basically-everywhere’ baseline; and if you are trying to succeed in a fair use defense it certainly doesn’t hurt if your activity matches expectations for academic citation; though that’s not an official standard or anything); but fundamentally copyright is about ownership and plagiarism is about authorship.

Copyright has no objects whatsoever to what would count as wholesale academic dishonestly; so long as you pay your ghostwriter as agreed. Academic honesty cares nothing for whether your sources are copyrighted or not, and the copyright holders happy or not, so long as citation is handled appropriately.