Steve Mosher summarizes his reading of the provenance of section 1 of Said et al 2008 as follows (The other sections, the substantive portion of the work, are not the subject of allegations):
Reading wegmans mail and look at the texts it appears that there is something that Mashey misses. The SNA boilerplate material in the Wegman report was produce by Denise reeves. She is the plagiarist for the SNA material in the wegman report. The Wegman report was used by Sharabati in the first 31 pages of his dissertation Sharabati then wrote section 1 of Said, which is the paper that got retracted
Wikipedia -> Reeves(Wegman)–>Sharabati(dissertation) -> Said (Sharabati)
here is what Mashey writes about Sharabati taking from Reeves(Wegman report)
“The SNA introduction was about 5 pages of text in the WR, of which some came from Reeves, but may have been edited further. Said (2008), Sharabati(2008) and Rezazad(2009) used shorter extracts, pp.118-128. It is difficult for text to be both original work and standard ―boiler plate.
Here is the problem. In Sharabati(2008) the first 31 pages ARE boiler plate. It is explicitly NOT presented as his original work.
We know this by reading the dissertation and noting that he closes the first 31 pages by saying in the chapters that follow I present my original work
So, it’s not too difficult to see that in Sharabati’s dissertation the boiler plate is NOT presented as original work. what follows the first 31 pages is presented explicitly as his original work. One may have hoped that he use proper citation in the prefatory material for his original work. Had he cited the Wegman report as his source it would have been clearer. Also, when this work became section 1 of Said 08, he also face a problem. How could he cite his dissertation? Section 1 of Said 08, which was written by Sharabati, is word for word out of his dissertation. So, he makes up a cite for it. bad move.
to recap: Reeves takes material from Wikipedia and other sources and gives wegman a few pages of boilerplate ( with no cites) for the Wegman report. Wegman and company do not check this for plagairism. Sharabati writing his dissertation lifts from the wegman report for the prefatory material for his dissertation. he does not represent this as his original work. His original work he claims explicitly follows page 31. Later, Sharabati cribs from his own dissertation to write section 1 of Said 08.
The editor accepts the proposal to fix the problem in said 08 by including proper citation. He is over ruled and the article is retracted. Wegman is then tarred for plagiarism when
1. he did not write the section (section 1 of Said 08) where the plagiarism occured
2. Sharabati, borrowed from his own dissertation
3. The dissertation cribbed from the wegman report
4. Reeves wrote that section of the Wegman report
I’ve examined Elsevier’s policies on how to handle plagiarism allegations and when retraction is an appropriate remedy. Also weird. More on this in an upcoming post.