- - -- - 1 NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL OFFICE OF INVESTIGATIONS CLOSEOUT MEMORANDUM 1 I Case Number: A03050027 Page 1 of 1 I i We were informed that five PIS' submitted an NSF proposa? containing plagiarized text3 describing a piece of equipment4allegedly copied from the manufacturer's web site.5 We found similar language on two institutions web sites.6 We asked the lead PI' to provide us with an explanation for the text and, if it had been copied fiom one of the sources, to identify it. The PI stated that the material had been copied, but not from any of the potential sources identified. The text was copied fiom the manufacturer's instruction manual for the instrument.' In the PI'S view, the allegation was frivolous and the verbatim-copied text was not plagiarism because the PI had used the Trademark (TM) and Registered (0)symbols with the name of the equipment. The PI explained that the text was constrained by the extremely technical nature of the description and the PI had not wanted to mislead the reader by substituting other language. The PI added that the proposal's description of a second piece of equipment9also came from the m&ufacturer 's literature. - In response to our inquiry, the PI provided the source documentation for the text describing the second piece of equipment. It is similarly constrained by its highly technical nature. I We concluded that the small amount of copied text is extremely constrained by the technical nature of the description and is not within the portion of the proposal in which the PIS made their argument for NSF support. We concluded that through the process of our inquiry the PI has developed a clearer understanding of how to handle such text. There was no need to pursue this matter further. We strongly encouraged the PI to more c&efully observe the high scholarship standards expected by NSF in proposal submissions. This case is closed and no M h e r action will be taken in this matter. ' Redacted Redacted Redacted Redacted Redacted Redacted ' Redacted Redacted Redacted NSF OIG Form 2 (1 1/02)
Published by the National Science Foundation, Office of Inspector General on 2003-12-02.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)