Edward Wegman is a professor at George Mason University. In 2006,at the request of U.S. Rep. Joe Barton and U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield (both Republicans), he led a small team of statisticians in examining the claims, made by Michael Mann and others, to have reconstructed past temperatures based on various proxy indicators, and to have therefore shown that present temperatures in the planet's Northern hemisphere were "unprecedented" over the past 1,000 or so years. Wegman's report criticized these claims quite harshly and, though Mann's arguments have been largely sustained by mainstream scientists, The Wegman Report has nevertheless been embraced by denialists and members of the Republican Party in the U.S. Congress.
John Mashey is an American computer scientist, best known as the creator of the "Mashey Shell". He has also done some fascinating research on, for example, the demographics of the AGW denialist movement, which I have written about here and here. However, his latest project, appearing on the Deep Climate website, is more important by several orders of magnitude.
Because, in essence, Mashey is accusing the writers of The Wegman Report (whether these were Wegman himself or others on his team) of plagiarism, among a host of other forms of academic mis-conduct:
Of 91 pages, 35 are mostly plagiarized text, but often injected with errors, bias and changes of meaning. Its Bibliography is mostly padding, 50% of the references uncited in the text. Many references are irrelevant or dubious. The team relied heavily on a long-obsolete sketch and very likely on various uncredited sources. Much of the work was done by Said (then less than 1 year post-PhD) and by students several years pre-PhD. The (distinguished) 2nd author Scott wrote only a 3-page standard mathematical Appendix. Some commenters were surprised to be later named as serious “reviewers.
In his recommendations, Mashey suggests:
George Mason University ought to investigate many problems, as should several other universities and journals, the US Office of Research Integrity and perhaps the American Statistical Association (ethics issues). At least 4 agencies may have possible fund mis-uses to consider. Some authors or publishers might pursue copyright issues. Congress and the DoJ should investigate the manufacture of the Wegman Report. Possible felonies are covered by the US Code, 18.U.S.C §1001 (misleading Congress), §371 (conspiracy), §4 (misprision), which might involve many more people. The report lists about 30 issues, not all for Wegman Report itself, but including derivations and related activities.
I should emphasize once again that this is serious stuff. For one thing, the accusations leave Mr. Mashey and the folks at DC open to a possible lawsuit. However, the instances of plagiarism, padding, and "dubious" citations are so thoroughly documented (here)that I think their case has been pretty much demonstrated. To give just one example, the Wegman Report bibliography references:
Valentine, Tom (1987) "Magnetics may hold key to ozone layer problems," Magnets, 2(1) 18-26.
It turns out that Mr. Valentine has no relevant scientific background. Furthermore, he has also written about engines that consume no fuel, psychic surgery, and other like topics in addition to the ozone hole. Remember again that The Wegman Report was presented to the U.S. congress as a piece of reputable science.
In any case, Mashey's research is also serious stuff because of its timing. The U.S. Republicans may walk away from November's mid-term elections with control of the House, Senate, or perhaps both chambers, and they have already promised to launch witch-hunts against climate scientists. It would be useful to have Mr. Wegman, should he be on the witness list in one of these show trials, confronted with some of the irregularities in his own research.
For more information, Joe Romm has a good account here.