David Jiles plagiarism issue, update

by | Monday, October 06, 2008

An update on the ongoing saga of David Jiles, Ph.D. For context see this.

(Please note the David Jiles referred to in these posts is NOT Professor David Jiles of Iowa State University and Cardiff University.) 

I have heard back from some of the websites that had hosted his articles. [Copies of the email I sent can be found here.]

The first note was from Brain Bank, and they quite clearly demonstrated that they were as much a victim of this as everybody else, and that they would be removing these articles as soon as possible.

I haven’t heard back from Creativity-Portal (a site that contained the largest repository of articles by David Jiles, Ph.D.) but a visit to their website today shows that they have deleted all the webpages that had these writings. Funnily enough, a web search on their site still lists these articles. I guess Google will take care of it over time.

I also received a very nice note back from Young Bright Minds and Inventors Academy showing concern at what I had written but also not willing to take me at face value. They are ordering the Sparks of Genius book to check the content for themselves. I applaud them for that.

I have been asked by some to remove links to their websites because they feel that this in some way implicates them in the scandal. I said that I would not do that. I think it is important that a web-trace of this misconduct be maintained. Providing a link to a site that for whatever reason was tricked by David Jiles Ph.D. is not to apportion blame. I believe that we need an acceptance of the fact that anybody and everybody can be screwed over by any ethically challenged person and that identifying episodes such as these are really important. If there is no record of this, David Jiles Ph.D. will do it again, with someone else.

For this reason the Creativity Portal’s decision to remove all traces of Dr. Jiles’ text from their site, without acknowledgment of their errors is problematic. The response of the Young Bright Minds and Inventors Academy seems so much more appropriate. They have noted what I have written but are willing to go the extra step to check for themselves. We need more organizations willing to take this stance – rather than sweep it all under the carpet.

Hang in there… hopefully more updates coming soon.

Topics related to this post: Creativity | Crime | Good | Bad Design | Personal | Plagiarism

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  1. Punya Mishra

    Sean, thanks for your note of clarification – but there was none required. I read what you had written the way you intended it. thanks

  2. Sean

    Re-reading my post just now made me wonder if I got my point across for certain.

    When I talked about “publicly representing one’s interests” in a less than savory way, I was not speaking of you, but of the gentleman who made such blatant insinuations.

    I also want to be clear that I didn’t see this as an example of you taking the issue too personally. I think your response was rather similar to what I would have exhibited in that situation. I would have likely typed most of my responses however, with my jaw dropped- hanging open.

    My position was that CP took your requests much too personally. Reading my words twice made me want to clear up my point in case it was vague.

  3. Punya Mishra

    Thanks Sean. This overall has been an interesting experience. A first for me. My blog is a somewhat personal thing – more an aid to memory for me than a public document. But seriously, you can’t imagine the extent of plagiarism here. I just quoted two maybe three paragraphs in my posting. It goes on for pages and pages and pages. Just direct lifts, with no attribution whatsoever. To have remained silent would be criminal – at least that was my reasoning.

    I was surprised, to say the least, by the responses of some of the webmasters. The urge to sweep it under the carpet, rather than deal with this issue up-front just doesn’t make sense to me.

    Truth be told, I was somewhat pissed at the responses I received (some by email which I did not post on the website) and the subtext that I was some kind of a crazy muck-raker out to get everybody. But I tried hard not to let my emotions color my judgment. Only a third-party can tell how far I succeeded. I have tried, as far as possible, to be play this fair and clean – so the insinuations, subtle or not-so-subtle, were surprising and somewhat bothersome.

    All in all a learning experience. At the end of the day, I would do pretty much do exactly what I did the first time around. So no regrets.

  4. Sean

    I would seriously hope that in all future days I do a better job of publicly representing my interests than these subtle but curt phrases:

    “Be patient, grasshopper.”

    “Now don’t go expecting such good service from everyone.”

    “P.S. Get out and enjoy some sunshine today. Autumn is beautiful…”

    Considerate bloggers typically do more chronicling of web occurrences as opposed to judging them. To me, this was more of an attempt to describe and highlight an issue that is critical in the development of the web into the 21st Century. I wouldn’t have taken this as personally as the folks at CP.

    If I were directly involved, I would have been more concerned that the quote: “logged forevermore into Web history” would be reversed, and the lens aimed back in my direction.

  5. Creativity Portal

    “For this reason the Creativity Portal’s decision to remove all traces of Dr. Jiles’ text from their site, without acknowledgment of their errors is problematic.”

    In fact, this is not the case. Our e-mail response to you was sent in conjunction with the changed status of the articles in question at 9:46 am cst.

    Re: Plagiarism on Creativity Portal Website
    Creativity Portal
    Mon, 06 Oct 2008 09:46:14 -0500
    Punya Mishra

    Dear Punya,

    Thank you for alerting us to the issue of plagiarism in the articles we have hosted on our Web site by David Jiles, Ph.D.

    As an online community open to all perspectives on creativity, we allow submissions in good faith as original works by the contributing authors and had not known the articles in question “lifted” from other works. In light of the information you’ve brought forth, we’ve immediately removed all articles by this author from our Web site and have contacted him for his comments in regards to your expose.

    We care deeply about the creator’s copyright and will not host content that infringes on other’s intellectual property nor promote authors who engage in plagiaristic practices once they are brought to our attention.

    Thank you again for bringing this issue to the forefront, Punya, and for contacting us with your findings.




    Mr. Mishra, you have barely given any of us one work day morning to look into this matter and handle it in the professional manner in which we intend to (your e-mail arrived Sunday evening) before you impatiently blogged on about this matter and acted as if we’re all in a plagiaristic conspiracy ring. You have done a fine job in quickly naming and shaming innocent parties to the “deception” of this author, who in good faith have published his articles like many Web communities do with the agenda only to make this world a more positive and enriching place.

    Your continued assumptions that all Web publishers should respond to you and wrap this issue up all nice and tidy to your satisfaction within 4 hours is absurd. As to our Web site, we’ve acted promptly and taken care of the preliminaries of this issue with a response to you as we saw fit while we await more information. Pretty good for an average dot com Web community not in the business of peer-reviewing articles for professional publications (nor expected). The articles are off line. Don’t hold your breath about not seeing them in a search engine search for quite some time. That might take months to propagate. Be patient, grasshopper!

    We don’t plan in joining you in your naming and shaming crusade, by the way, as our Web site is focused on creativity and kindness. Besides, your words of caution and contempt here logged forevermore into Web history is quite sufficient to alert the world to this great calamity. It’s okay … really… take a deep breath.

    Oh, it’s 1:52 p.m. and just after lunch. Please tell me you went to lunch. And make sure you add a note that Creativity Portal closed this issue within an hour of the opening bell. That’s the fair thing to do, you know.

    Now don’t go expecting such good service from everyone.

    P.S. Get out and enjoy some sunshine today. Autumn is beautiful… 🙂


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