Kansas U. nails bioinformatics faculty members for part in plagiarism

Kansas University has cited two members of its bioinformatics faculty in connection to multiple instances of plagiarism in published work, prompting one of the staffers whose students were plagiarizing to adopt software that checks multiple sources to detect such cribbing, the Lawrence Journal-World newspaper reported.

Mahesh Visvanathan, a research assistant professor in bioinformatics, was given a "censure notice" for using lifted material in four "scholarly works," and the bioinformatics group's director, Gerald Lushington, got a similar notice for knowing about the plagiarism and failing to sufficiently act on that information, according to the newspaper's report. Yet Lushington told the newspaper that Visvanathan's students cited as contributors to his papers had contributed plagiarized material that he used without knowing about the misconduct.

"The fact that it is simultaneously getting easier for people to plagiarize, and harder for their collaborators to spot, does not excuse us from the responsibility for doing our best to detect it and prevent it from getting published," Lushington told the newspaper. "Several of us have learned hard lessons about the necessity of being very vigilant and doing our best to prevent bad text from getting distributed."

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