NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL OFFICE OF INVESTIGATIONS CLOSEOUT MEMORANDUM Case Number: A13020019 Page 1 ofl We received a complaint that one researcher (the subjectl) had plagiarized from another researcher (the researcher 2 ) into a paper (P2) that cited NSF support.3 The complaint noted the researcher had written a paper (P3) 4 that accused the subject of plagiarism. The complaint also alleged NSF program officers acted inappropriately in allowing the subject to serve on a review panel after they were aware of the plagiarism allegation. We learned the researcher had published a paper (Pl) claiming proof of a result. The subject wrote a paper (P2) in which he proved the same result and said he did not follow the researcher's proof in Pl. The researcher responded (P3) by stating the subject had (in P2) merely reproved the result of Pl, using the same key ideas as Pl, so P2 was essentially duplicative of Pl. The subject and the researcher exchanged emails and each wrote additional papers discussing the adequacy of the researcher's proof. Ultimately, the researcher acknowledged the subject for providing him an opportunity to clarifY his original proof. While one could interpret the researcher's statements iri P3 as an allegation of plagiarism, the continuing dialog between them suggests instead that they had a scientific disagreement about the validity and applicability of a proof. It appears they have come to an agreement about the researcher's proof, and the scientific community will ultimately judge whether the subject's proof offers any additional insight. We conclude there is insufficient substance to the allegation of plagiarism. Regarding the subject's panel service, the program officers acted appropriately. The subject is innocent until proven guilty, so may serve on panels. Indeed, it would have been inappropriate for program managers to exclude the subject purely on the basis of an allegation. We conclude there is no substance to the allegation that the program officers acted inappropriately. This case is closed with no further action taken. 2 3The subject's manuscript was uploaded to the acknowledged the work was partially supported by 4 The researcher's manuscript was uploaded to the arXiv This is P3. NSF OIG Form 2 (11/02)
Published by the National Science Foundation, Office of Inspector General on 2013-09-05.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)