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Professor in clear in plagiarism test case  

2006-07-30 01:10:54|  分类: 未来史料 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Professor in clear in plagiarism testcase
Former dissident and lecturer loses hisface-off with powerful academic

Wednesday, July 19, 2006, South China MorningPost
A former Peking University lecturer has lost acourt bid for a public apology and compensation after accusingWuhan University law professor Zhou Yezhong ofplagiarism.
In a decision handed down yesterday, the BeijingNo2 Intermediate Court rejected Wang Tiancheng's claims thatProfessor Zhou copied ideas and large tracts of his published workon constitutional law without giving himcredit.
The case is one of an increasing number ofaccusations of plagiarism and academic misconduct levelled atprominent college professors this year but one of the few to makeit to court.
Mr Wang's suit against the professor was regardedas a test case of how thoroughly courts could safeguard academicintegrity. It generated added interest because Mr Wang was adissident jailed for five years in 1992 and Professor Zhou hasadvised people at the highest levels of the centralgovernment.
Mr Wang lodged the copyright infringement suitagainst Professor Zhou and student Dai Jitao on May 12, accusingboth of deliberately lifting more than 5,000 words in 46 key areasfrom two papers and including the text without references in theirbook on constitutional law published last year by the People'sPublishing House.
He also accused the publishing house of failingto fulfil its duty to ensure the text included accurate referencesand asked the court for 60,000 yuan incompensation.
Professor Zhou's lawyers argued that thecopyright law protected "academic ideas instead of the format inwhich the meaning is expressed".
They said their client and his student did notcopy Mr Wang's articles but referred to and credited a number ofother sources "according to academic criteria".
Mr Wang's papers were already in the publicdomain and did not constitute the major theme of Professor Zhou'sbook, they said.
The court said seven points, or 1,398 words, werebasically the same in Professor Zhou's book. But when set againstMr Wang's 40,000-word papers and the professor's 220,000-word book,the overlaps "constitute a small ratio, do not make up materialcontent and are scattered in various chapters of Zhou'sbook".
"It is reasonable reference to others' worksrather than infringement," the court said.
Mr Wang said yesterday the decision was"ridiculous, disregarded the concrete facts and was politicalrather than legal".
He said the Ministry of Public Security had sentpolice to his hometown in Hunan in June to examine his files andthose of family members, a common practice when the authoritieswanted to detain somebody.

Professor Zhou declined to comment. The judge, GeHong, refused to respond to suggestions that external forces hadplayed a part in the decision.
Peking University law professor He Weifang saidthe Zhou case was regarded as serious plagiarism and the decisionwould have a negative social impact because it dealt a blow toacademics wanting to safeguard academicintegrity.
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