Ron Breslow of Columbia University in New York has denied charges he plagiarized...himself.
Hey, science is tough. You have to cite pretty thoroughly. There are lots of instances where entire papers have been sent back from peer review because authors did not cite the reviewers or their friends enough times. It's pretty competitive out there.
Plus, like I discussed in Free Radicals - In Science, Anything Goes, scientists hate each other...when outsiders are not looking. So it is other chemists calling for a retraction of Breslow's paper in Journal of the American Chemical Society - not because it was used to claim there might be dinosaurs ruling other planets, or anything that would make sense, but because Breslow did not properly cite himself.
They have a point. The ACS guidelines say you can't plagiarize anyone, even yourself, and Breslow did not have little quotation mark thingies around some of his passages and those clearly had been in other papers he wrote. For his part, he says his piece was a review, not science literature, so claiming he did not cite himself is a little reactionary. And I can sympathize with him. After 1,500 articles on Science 2.0, I may have already made a point as well as it can be made. Why try to top perfection? "Good credibly prebiotic examples of the latter process have not yet been produced" is not exactly "Cry 'Havoc', and let slip the dogs of war" but perhaps Breslow is proud of it and wanted to reuse it. And that 'Cry Havoc' bit showed up in two different plays, though William Shakespeare did not cite himself the second time. It would completely get him booed at an ACS meeting but he's the greatest writer of all time.
The paper behind the hubbub is actually ...
Ronald Breslow, 'Evidence for the Likely Origin of Homochirality in Amino Acids, Sugars, and Nucleosides on Prebiotic Earth', J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2012, 134 (16), pp 6887–6892 DOI: 10.1021/ja3012897
...but it's the crazy press release, written by the ACS (no, we did not carry it - there is funny and then there is just being insulting to the audience) that made the 'dinosaurs ruling other planets' claim.
Read more arcane details by Daniel Cressey at Nature.
Former ACS President Denies Charges He Plagiarized Himself
By Hank Campbell | April 25th 2012 12:45 PM | Print | E-mail