Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Legislator Ann Kao (高虹安), the party’s Hsinchu mayoral candidate, yesterday defended herself against accusations that her doctoral dissertation plagiarized two studies she coauthored with other researchers.
The Chinese-language Mirror Media earlier yesterday reported that when Kao previously worked at the Institute for Information Industry, she received a subsidy from it to study at the University of Cincinnati, but her doctoral dissertation in 2018 allegedly plagiarized partial content of two previous institute-funded studies that she coauthored and presented at a 2017 conference.
The magazine reported that up to 4,161 words, or 25 percent, of her 16,519-word dissertation were the same as text from the two studies, as well as several pictures and graphs.
Photo: Huang Ching-hsuan, Taipei Times
It asked why she did not gain approval from the institute to cite the material.
Kao yesterday morning shared an e-mail from Jane Strasser, senior associate vice president for research and research integrity at the University of Cincinnati, which said that “the allegations involve self-plagiarism, which is not considered research misconduct.”
The university on Aug. 20 received an anonymous e-mail claiming that her dissertation involved self-plagiarism without citing the original articles and failing to obtain a release agreement from the coauthors, Kao said.
The sender asked the university to investigate the matter, which led to the e-mail from Strasser, which arrived on Aug. 22, Kao said.
Strasser wrote that the allegations “have been made repeatedly and insistently for over a year,” and cited a Graduate School Leadership statement from last year saying that “there is nothing specific to the Graduate School on self-plagiarism, thus this would not be something we would pursue,” Kao said.
“There are no copyright concerns,” and the person in the allegation “has entered the political arena, which may be the motivation for the allegations (or not),” she said, quoting the e-mail.
When she submitted her dissertation in 2018, the university assessed it with SafeAssign, a plagiarism prevention tool, which showed only 6 percent of it matched other sources, Kao said, adding that the magazine’s accusations are malicious.
Moreover, the magazine claimed that the copyright of research reports conducted by civil servants should be owned by the government agency that funded the research, but institute employees are not considered civil servants, she said, adding that an internal investigation the institute conducted last year stated that use of sources in non-profit academic publications is not considered when assessing copyright infringements.
If accusations that her doctoral dissertation was plagiarized continue, she would ask a lawyer to defend her rights, Kao said.
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