Academic research laundering

Outspoken academic Ward Churchill is suing to get his job back. He claims he was let go because of his opinions on 9/11 (you’ll recall he called the WTC victims “little Eichmanns”) while the school says it was for academic misconduct, with offenses that include plagiarism and something that appears to be a form of research laundering. Under cross examination yesterday, Churchill admitted “that he had ghostwritten works for other scholars and occasionally cited them to support his own theories” — something that a faculty committee found clearly violated academic standards.

It gets better. One of the people for whom he ghost-wrote a paper is his ex-wife where he wrote part of her paper, and it was published under her name. Ok, so maybe it isn’t plagiarism, but the problem is that he subsequently cites the paper as an independent source in his own work. Here’s his explanation for why it’s not unethical:

Mr. Churchill said the practice violated no academic standard at the university. And he argued that it was acceptable for one scholar to ghostwrite for another and then cite that work in other writings as long as the second scholar embraced the original premise.

I’m not sure what to make of this — there is no second scholar.

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