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Chess + statistics + plagiarism, again!

In response to this post (in which I noted that the Elo chess rating system is a static model which, paradoxically, is used to for the purposes of studying changes), Keith Knight writes:

It’s notable that Glickman’s work is related to some research by Harry Joe at UBC, which in turn was inspired by data provided by Nathan Divinsky who was (wait for it) a co-author of one of your favourite plagiarists, Raymond Keene.

In the 1980s, Keene and Divinsky wrote a book, Warriors of the Mind, which included an all-time ranking of the greatest chess players – it was actually Harry Joe who did the modeling and analysis although Keene and Divinsky didn’t really give him credit for it. (Divinsky was a very colourful character – he owned a very popular restaurant in Vancouver and was briefly married to future Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell. Certainly not your typical Math professor!)

I wonder what Chrissy would think of this?

Knight continues:

And speaking of plagiarism, check out the two attached papers. Somewhat amusingly (and to their credit), the plagiarized version actually cites the original paper!

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“Double Blind,” indeed!


  1. Steve Roberts says:

    If you look up “Total Variation Denoising” you can easily find the site where the first of the papers is found, its from a series of lecture notes and it pretty clearly states that it is intended as a Tutorial. I don’t think this really qualifies as plagiarism, especially so as it refers back to the original paper. The first “paper” is just an attempt to explain the method of the original via a code example.

    • Andrew says:


      Nobody is suggesting that the first of these papers (the one by Selesnick) is plagiarizing. It’s the second paper (the one by Rao and Rao) that’s plagiarizing: it just copies directly from the Selesnick paper without acknowledging. Just wasting the readers’ time.

  2. dmk38 says:

    Wait a second…

    The 2nd Dr. Rao appears (unless there is an amazing coincidence of names; likely you can calculate odds w/ your longitudinal baby-name database) to have created a super-duper sophisticated machine-learning plagiarism algorithm –but for detecting, not perpetrating it… See also this.

    Could we have a rogue, Rao 9001 Series Plagiarism detector on our hands here?

    • Andrew says:

      Sounds like a “rogue sociologist” to me!

    • jrc says:

      Thank you for introducing us to the International Journal of Innovative Research in Computer Science & Technology:

      “The plagiarism is known as the copying ideas or words from original document without giving any credit to them….Now many students are publishing documents for their academics and authors are publishing many documents and books but many of them are copying text, ideas from other one’s documents without giving any reference or credit to them. This will lose the originality of documents.”

      I might actually prefer “the plagiarism” to real work if my “students are publishing documents for their academics” that read like this.

      Which is worse: academics who publish in fake academic journals to meet the stupid demands of their institution, or the fake academic journals that sprout up to publish this crap?

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