Cornell prof (but not the pizzagate guy!) has one quick trick to getting 1700 peer reviewed publications on your CV

From the university webpage:

Robert J. Sternberg is Professor of Human Development in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell University. . . . Sternberg is the author of over 1700 refereed publications. . . .

How did he compile over 1700 refereed publications? Nick Brown tells the story:

I [Brown] was recently contacted by Brendan O’Connor, a graduate student at the University of Leicester, who had noticed that some of the text in Dr. Sternberg’s many articles and chapters appeared to be almost identical. . . .

Exhibit 1 . . . this 2010 article by Dr. Sternberg was basically a mashup of this article of his from the same year and this book chapter of his from 2002. One of the very few meaningful differences in the chunks that were recycled between the two 2010 articles is that the term “school psychology” is used in the mashup article to replace “cognitive education” from the other; this may perhaps not be unrelated to the fact that the former was published in School Psychology International (SPI) and the latter in the Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology (JCEP). If you want to see just how much of the SPI article was recycled from the other two sources, have a look at this. Yellow highlighted text is copied verbatim from the 2002 chapter, green from the JCEP article. You can see that about 95% of the text is in one or the other colour . . .

Brown remarks:

Curiously, despite Dr. Sternberg’s considerable appetite for self-citation (there are 26 citations of his own chapters or articles, plus 1 of a chapter in a book that he edited, in the JCEP article; 25 plus 5 in the SPI article), neither of the 2010 articles cites the other, even as “in press” or “manuscript under review”; nor does either of them cite the 2002 book chapter. If previously published work is so good that you want to copy big chunks from it, why would you not also cite it?

Hmmmmm . . . I have an idea! Sternberg wants to increase his citation count. So he cites himself all the time. But he doesn’t want people to know that he publishes essentially the same paper over and over again. So in those cases, he doesn’t cite himself. Cute, huh?

Brown continues:

Exhibit 2

Inspired by Brendan’s discovery, I [Brown] decided to see if I could find any more examples. I downloaded Dr. Sternberg’s CV and selected a couple of articles at random, then spent a few minutes googling some sentences that looked like the kind of generic observations that an author in search of making “efficient” use of his time might want to re-use. On about the third attempt, after less than ten minutes of looking, I found a pair of articles, from 2003 and 2004, by Dr. Sternberg and Dr. Elena Grigorenko, with considerable overlaps in their text. About 60% of the text in the later article (which is about the general school student population) has been recycled from the earlier one (which is about gifted children) . . .

Neither of these articles cites the other, even as “in press” or “manuscript in preparation”.

And there’s more:

Exhibit 3

I [Brown] wondered whether some of the text that was shared between the above pair of articles might have been used in other publications as well. It didn’t take long(*) to find Dr. Sternberg’s contribution (chapter 6) to this 2012 book, in which the vast majority of the text (around 85%, I estimate) has been assembled almost entirely from previous publications: chapter 11 of this 1990 book by Dr. Sternberg (blue), this 1998 chapter by Dr. Janet Davidson and Dr. Sternberg (green), the above-mentioned 2003 article by Dr. Sternberg and Dr. Grigorenko (yellow), and chapter 10 of this 2010 book by Dr. Sternberg, Dr. Linda Jarvin, and Dr. Grigorenko (pink). . . .

Once again, despite the fact that this chapter cites 59 of Dr. Sternberg’s own publications and another 10 chapters by other people in books that he (co-)edited, none of those citations are to the four works that were the source of all the highlighted text in the above illustration.

Now, sometimes one finds book chapters that are based on previous work. In such cases, it is the usual practice to include a note to that effect. And indeed, two chapters (numbered 26 and 27) in that 2012 book edited by Dr. Dawn Flanagan and Dr. Patti Harrison, contain an acknowledgement along the lines of “This chapter is adapted from . Copyright 20xx by . Adapted by permission”. But there is no such disclosure in chapter 6.

Exhibit 4

It appears that Dr. Sternberg has assembled a chapter almost entirely from previous work on more than one occasion. Here’s a recent example of a chapter made principally from his earlier publications. . . .

This chapter cites 50 of Dr. Sternberg’s own publications and another 7 chapters by others in books that he (co-)edited. . . .

However, none of the citations of that book indicate that any of the text taken from it is being correctly quoted, with quote marks (or appropriate indentation) and a page number. The four other books from which the highlighted text was taken were not cited. No disclosure that this chapter has been adapted from previously published material appears in the chapter, or anywhere else in the 2017 book . . .

In the context of a long and thoughtful discussion, James Heathers supplies the rules from the American Psychological Association code of ethics:

And here’s Cornell’s policy:

OK, that’s the policy for Cornell students. Apparently not the policy for faculty.

One more thing

Bobbie Spellman, former editor of the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, is confident “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Sternberg was not telling the truth when he said that “all papers in Perspectives go out for peer review, including his own introductions and discussions.” Unless, as Spellman puts it, “you believe that ‘peer review’ means asking some folks to read it and then deciding whether or not to take their advice before you approve publication of it.”

So, there you have it. The man is obsessed with citing his own work—except on the occasions when he does a cut-and-paste job, in which case he is suddenly shy about mentioning his other publications. And, as editor, he reportedly says he sends out everything for peer review, but then doesn’t.

P.S. From his (very long) C.V.:

Sternberg, R. J. (2015). Epilogue: Why is ethical behavior challenging? A model of ethical reasoning. In R. J. Sternberg & S. T. Fiske (Eds.), Ethical challenges in the behavioral and brain sciences: Case studies and commentaries (pp. 218-226). New York: Cambridge University Press.

This guy should join up with Bruno Frey and Brad Bushman: the 3 of them would form a very productive Department of Cut and Paste. Department chair? Ed Wegman, of course.

41 thoughts on “Cornell prof (but not the pizzagate guy!) has one quick trick to getting 1700 peer reviewed publications on your CV

  1. Here is my repost that didn’t post.

    I’m giggling here on my end b/c I predicted that the topic of Robert Sternberg would come up either on this board or on Twitter. I haven’t followed Sternberg’s research since I left Cambridge/Medford, which was 15 years ago. But from the 80’s through 2000 at least, I did. So I have institutional memory of the work not only of Robert Sternberg but of Howard Gardner, David Perkins, Robert Ennis, Raymond Nickerson, D.K Simonton, A. Rothenberg and several other thought leaders in the fields of education, intelligence, and psychology. In hindsight, their viewpoints were very lively and convivial. There was in those years, an enormous output of research of a different variety than what we see today.

    Sternberg had a reputation for bringing in creative talent to the education community. I heard that from a Tufts professor. That was back in late 80’s, presumably.

    I have read considerable # of the scholars I cited above. So i have a sanguine view of the merits of their research efforts. Recall that there wasn’t much emphases on replication, at least in the public intellectual arena. However, some of us have always been concerned with the quality of educational and psychological insights. My concern stemmed from the fact that I knew several psychologists personally and their own personal management of their conduct raised doubts about the efficacy of the psychology field, with some positive exceptions of-course. And I don’t claim to be a paragon of perfection or normalcy. But I recognize that a lot of unhealthy politics go on in different circles. And I have undergone a transformation of my own behavior after seeing my father change from being a wonderful human being to being petty. I was not happy with that change.

    I myself have less interest in whether or not Sternberg self-cites b/c I am, more generally, interested in the merits/demerits of research. An MIT physicist told me that the era of big picture thinking is at an ebb. So I have been keenly interested in why such prominent scientists have made the claim that there is dirth of creativity. These scientists make such a claim based on their own teaching experiences. I doubt that they accessed the works of the academics I cited above.

    Now I don’t have any issue with observers stating that Robert Sternberg has excessively cited his work. But really most prominent academics seemed to self cited when a new niche in a discipline was initiated. Sternberg garnered the animus of some, from what I have heard, for suggesting that there were ‘hidden influences’ corrupting disciplines. Or some similar claim. I don’t know what they mean. You know people have all kinds of rationales for why they may dislike what is being said.

    In short, I am more interested in whether others think that the work of Sternberg or even P. Sack’s work, Standardized Minds.

    • >>My concern stemmed from the fact that I knew several psychologists personally
      >>and their own personal management of their conduct raised doubts about the efficacy
      >>of the psychology field, with some positive exceptions of-course.
      “This”, as I believe the young people on the Internet say. Many psychologists do not behave as if they think psychology is true. Whether this is because they think/know it’s all a scam, or simply because behaviour modification is incredibly hard to do, I don’t know. Maybe we can offer 58 undergraduates the choice between an apple and a cookie to find out.

      • Nick,

        We all learn some bad behaviors which we negotiate through our lives.

        I resort to my ONE BIG IDEA. The prevalence of an ’emotional blackmail’ culture in so many circles I’ve come across. I am being serious and facetious here. But this culture is HUGE from my observation.

        In the late 80’s, I began to notice how critical people were of their family, friends, co-workers. Very rarely did I hear a genuine heartfelt compliment about them. So I began to pay more attention to what was being said. I thought M. Scott Peck developed this idea quite well. He thought that a ‘malignant’ form of self righteousness is hard to treat, a theme he developed in the People of the Lie and, to a lesser extent, in the Road Less Travelled. I characterize it as a form of cognitive dissonance, where people lay the blame on others habitually. They are not reflective or in denial of their own behaviors.

        In these last 10 years, I committed myself to restoring healthy relations with everyone, to the extent that is feasible. And it was the best decision I made. I can be responsible & accountable for my own behavior.

      • “Many psychologists do not behave as if they think psychology is true. Whether this is because they think/know it’s all a scam, or simply because behaviour modification is incredibly hard to do, I don’t know.”

        I have wondered whether it could be the case that psychological science that has relatively more truth-value (or what’s the appropriate word here) is simply not being discussed and/or investigated.

        I have also wondered whether it could be the case that psychological scientists that have relatively more capabilities and/or want to focus on certain research topics are simply driven out of academia, or leave on their own account because they don’t want to be in the kind of environment academia has turned into.

        In combination with all the problematic issues in (psychological) science that have come to light in the past 7 years or so, i fear that this all may have resulted in a general “dumbing down” of both staff and students and/or a focus on “b#llsh#t” or “fantasy” research.

        Regarding your statement above, i therefore also think currently employed staff mostly don’t think/know it’s all possibly a scam.

        In light of this all, i also find it worrying to see that much of the recent replications are (in my view) are only reinforcing the focus on this “b#llsh#t” research, and possibly incompetent researchers. I fear future proposed large scale “collaboration” and “replication” projects will again focus on all the wrong topics, research, and researchers. All of this only reinforces the exact possible problems i alluded to above…

        I fear that the proportion of possibly incompetent staff, and students, and a focus on a certain type of research may have already reached a point of no return in psychology (especially social psychology). This is because i reason chances are that these kinds of people hire the same kind of people as themselves who study the same topics, they may hire the folks that “don’t ask too many questions”, they may teach the new generation of students only a certain type of (fantasy?) “facts”, etc.

        • I have been thinking some more about this whole thing…

          You could possibly solve the problem of 1) possibly too many incompetent students and researchers, and 2) a possible focus on “the wrong” kind or research, by trying to “nudge” folks into research that the few really smart people left in (social) psychology come up with and think is “important” and “good”.

          You could, for instance, try and do this by coming up with a certain specific research format that gives a lot of extra influence to a small group of really smart (circle of?) peer-reviewers and editors in “helping make sure the research topic and question” are “good” and “worthy of study”.

          Or you could, for instance, try and do this by having some sort of “sticker” to be put on a paper that possibly makes everyone “trust” the paper more. If you give editors the chance to manipulate which papers they then subsequently publish in their journals with these “stickers” on them, you could effectively “nudge” folks into paying more attention to the small group of specific research and really smart researchers.

          Or you could, for instance, try and form large-scale “collaborations” of many of these possibly sub-standard researchers but have them follow the small group of really smart researchers. You could, for instance, even try and in turn give them jobs because they surely are the ones who are “improving science”, and “changing the incentives”, or something like that.

          Another way to, for instance, make sure only the small group of really smart researchers influence (social) psychology is to form 2 groups of researchers. One could be the “theoretical” or “original” researchers who use their superior intelligence to come up with the “best” and most “important” research, and have this be carried out and replicated by “practical” researchers or “replicators”. That way, all the resources go to the research that the small group of really smart researchers come up with.

          If you really want to influence (social) psychology (and perhaps even science in general!) in this way you could even set up a center of some sort that comes up with all these things and/or promotes them. Perhaps you can call it “Controllers of Science” (COS) or something like that…

        • “If you really want to influence (social) psychology (and perhaps even science in general!) in this way you could even set up a center of some sort that comes up with all these things and/or promotes them. Perhaps you can call it “Controllers of Science” (COS) or something like that…”

          I have been thinking about this some more…

          If you want to receive lots of money for your center, you could make sure rich and powerful people (e.g. publishing companies) would have something to gain from all your efforts.

          You could, for instance, come up with “TAP-guidelines” (“To Accommodate Publishers”- guidelines) that make sure editors, peer-reviewers, journals, and publishing companies will get to keep all kinds of (unnecessary) special tasks and responsibilities to make sure they get to keep their power and influence and income, and perhaps even expand these things!

          The fact that editors, peer-reviewers, journals, and publishing companies are all part of the exact system that messed things up probably doesn’t matter much, especially if you can make it seem like you are “improving science” and “changing the incentives”! Everyone would probably even think you are doing a “good” thing, and thank you for all your efforts!!

        • “You could, for instance, come up with “TAP-guidelines” (“To Accommodate Publishers”- guidelines) that make sure editors, peer-reviewers, journals, and publishing companies will get to keep all kinds of (unnecessary) special tasks and responsibilities to make sure they get to keep their power and influence and income, and perhaps even expand these things! ”

          I have been thinking about this some more…

          If you want to keep influencing things, and keep receiving lots of money, you also have to make sure you become an intricate part of things in the coming possible future. You could, for instance, try and achieve this by incorporating your proposed “improvements” like the certain specific research format that gives a lot of extra influence to a small group of really smart (circle of?) peer-reviewers and editors in “helping make sure the research topic, question, and method” are “good” and “worthy of study”, and things like the “stickers” into the “TAP-guidelines”.

          Then you only have to get lots of journals on board of the “TAP-guidelines”, and you have essentially made sure you will have influence, and money, for years to come! Remember: you truly deserve your sweet salary, your sweet office with free lunches, your sweet laptops, and your sweet standing desks for all your efforts!

          The fact that you incorporate your own “improvements” into the “TAP-guidelines” that you promote and talk to the media about and have let signed by thousands of journals is totally not a conflict of interest in any way, shape, or form whatsoever!

          Also, the fact that these “improvements” like the special research format, and the “stickers”, have not even been (independently) investigated to see if they are even valid and useful to “improve” (psychological) science before you incorporate them into a thing like the “TAP-guidelines” is also totally not unscientific.

          If anyone would do any of these things, remember this is all totally not unscientific and unethical at all!

        • “If you want to keep influencing things, and keep receiving lots of money, you also have to make sure you become an intricate part of things in the coming possible future.”

          I have been thinking about this some more…

          It would also be helpful if others do (some of) the “heavy lifting” for you. (Young) scientists wanting to be “part of the club”, the media, researchers desperate for jobs, etc. can all help you keep your influence, expand the number of folks helping you out, and help you to receive lots of money.

          You could, of instance, even set up some sort of society and meetings where you ask as many (young) impressionable minds to “help improve matters” by having them come up with all kinds of things in “intense sessions”. That these “improvements” in turn could strengthen your own position is not something you should think about really. Nor should you really think about whether this is all scientifically appropriate, and responsible, behavior.

          You could at these meetings also, for instance, hype up (young) researchers by talking about these things like it’s all “revolutionary”, and that “history will show that we made a difference”, and that they “are part of something big”, and that it’s “not about the individual”, and that “they should think about the collective”. You could even hand out real awards to people they (presumably) should aspire to be like, and have senior people give “inspirational talks”!

          The fact that the vast majority of these (young) researchers will probably never be rewarded for their efforts with a steady job and paycheck, like you just happen to have, doesn’t really matter in any of this. Nor should you have to think about whether it would be ethical to (at least try and) make clear to them that there may be “adverse” effects concerning all their efforts in the sense that some possible future employers may not be on board with all this “improving science” stuff. You shouldn’t really have to think about (your role in) any of this stuff: after all, the (young) scientists are choosing to participate in all of this themselves!

          I am just now realizing that this kind of also makes me wonder if this is (part of) how cults work, especially when lots of young people are involved. If that pondering would make any sense, perhaps such a society should then be called something like the “Society for the Indoctrination of Psychology Students” (SIPS). But of course this would not a cult or something like that. This is all for a good cause, so you have to come up with a different name.

          Another way for others to do the heavy lifting for you is to try and get media attention. You could, for instance, make some sort of database of “your people” (who are of course totally objective, and truly know how to “improve science”) that the media can contact. You shouldn’t really wonder if this is akin to manipulating matters, or simply providing a service for the media.

          Or you could have large scale projects that you know will gather lots of attention, like replicating research that’s almost guaranteed to “not replicate”. This could all possibly increase your chances of getting you media attention, especially if the research you replicate is the kind of “sexy” research that has gotten lots of media attention in the past. You shouldn’t really think about whether it is ethical, or the best way, to use up resources like that (or to keep doing that).

          I guess what i am trying to say with this series of comments is that anything that can be used to “mess things up”, can also be used to “improve matters”. Or vice versa. Or perhaps it could be important to really think about matters, and be critical. Or maybe that’s not the message. Perhaps i don’t really know what the point is i am trying to make. I just had to get this all of my chest, in the hope it might do some good in some way or form helping improve (psychological) science. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do so.

  2. While I can appreciate the criticism of the ‘excessive’ self-citations, I do not understand why there is so little discussion of the merits and demerits of Robert Sternberg’s work. He is one of the 12 or so theorists in the psychology and education fields; others, of his era, are Robert Ennis, Howard Gardner, Raymond Nickerson, D.K. Simonton, David Perkins, and D. W. Mackinnon, etc. When a new niche is emerging in a mainstream discipline there appears to be more self-citation.

    Who are ya gonna turn to in a new niche?

    Sternberg had a reputation for bringing in creative talent into several universities. It’s not as if he is self serving in that way. Infact that is what academics are suppose to do.

    • Given that Sternberg does a fair bit of publishing in intelligence research and cognitive psychology it would be a stretch to claim that he was in a “new niche” when he was publishing.

      • Patrick,

        I was referring to Sternberg’s publications pre-1990. He and the several academics I listed in an earlier post constituted a niche, imo. A plethora of research on human intelligence generated in the mid to late 80’s.

        I am intrigued with his measurement and views of creativity. Very interesting. I don’t know why so much testing needs to be done. But that is Sternberg’s special interest.

        Moreover, when i came to DC, I continued to hear that creative people were sought b/c of the dirth of ‘big’ ideas. The assumption that there were plenty of analytical thinkers. I saw this distinction as a false dichotomy. However I will admit that I continued to hear the same themes and assumptions in international relations for much of my life. So there is type of rumination fielding in this field that is hard to chisel through.

        Let me add that I think Sternberg has put forth some very interesting insights. It’s up to us to evaluate them on their merits/demerits.

        It’s just not my nature to use fundamental attribution as a mainstay in epistemic environment. I have an effort to resist getting suckered into a cliquish mentality. I didn’t want to be mean spirited.

  3. Here’s the thing. In this era of social media, most everyone is being forced to market himself/herself pro-actively. EVERY DAY. So what of that? Should we start keeping tabs of all who refer to their own work on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, Instagram. Seems that we should put this in context.

    Besides the dude came up with some interesting hypotheses. It makes sense to discuss their import or lack there of. Then again I find merit in nearly every thought leader, even if I disagree with their hypotheses in some dimensions.

    Instead there is are so many sarcastic comments. One philosopher has taken a break from Twitter it got so nasty.

  4. I myself lean to David Perkin’s framework for exploring intelligence. I actually don’t agree with the categorization of intelligences in much of the scholarship I’ve come across. And foresee several broad lessons that can be gleaned as an observer of the psychology field. When I get a chance I’ll address them.

    But Sternberg’s views are most interesting and merit greater attention.

    Maybe Robert Sternberg rejection of some manuscripts catapulted ire. But the reality is everyone is being forced to garner attention for their work.

  5. Sameera:

    Fair enough. There are two different issues: (1) the quality of Sternberg’s work, (2) ethical issues with Sternberg’s behavior as author and editor. I agree that issue 1 is more important than issue 2. We can’t ignore issue 2, though, because gatekeepers such as Sternberg can prevent us from hearing about good research by people who are not in their social circle.

    So, yes, we should be able to criticize Sternberg’s behavior as editor and author without losing sight of his research contributions.

    Finally, just to clarify: The problem is not that Sternberg markets himself or that he refers to his own work; the problem is that he’s doing this promotion in a misleading or dishonest way.

    • Thanks for your response, Andrew. My posts were to suggest that there are several different issues that play out in importance [or lack of importance] in different contexts. To date, on Facebook and Twitter, I see the 2nd issue taking prime importance. I disagree with Nick on one count. While Sternberg citations may be characterized as ‘excessive’, I think that most prominent intellectuals do cite their own work quite frequently, PARTICULARLY when they delve into a new niche. On social media this is now commonplace. Each day a thought leader will bring attention to their own work.

      I focus on the content almost exclusively b/c I don’t really know most academics personally to begin with. It’s not my disposition to make judgments unless I have direct interaction with them. I never met Robert Sternberg.

      I had never heard that Sternberg excluded someone of great talent. In fact Sternberg was hailed for expanding criteria for admittance to elite universities in particular. I think Larry Summers had taken an occasion to echo Sternberg’s views on admittance criteria. What may have changed Sternberg’s attitude in these last 15 years, if indeed he did change, I am not privy. I saw three Twitter reference on rejection of some manuscripts. I have not had the opportunity to read them.

      More broadly, nearly everyone wants to be recognized as specially talented. Social media have made self-promotion more prominent.

      • Sameera:

        1. Again, my problem with Sternberg is not the excessive self-citation; it’s the misleading or dishonest way he did it. The most suspicious case was the one where he actively avoided citing his own relevant work, presumably as a way to get a few extra publications.

        2. The way that Sternberg and other gatekeepers exclude outsiders with talent is indirectly. Sternberg edits an influential journal and fills it with papers published by his friends. This reduces the amount of journal space for outsiders. That’s the problem: It’s not that there’s some talented person who Sternberg is knowingly excluding; it’s that the “pal review” system enables the publication of mediocre work by pals, and we never get to see the great stuff that got rejected because the journal editors thought it wasn’t important enough (i.e., there was not enough hype in the presentation) or because there weren’t enough statistically significant (i.e., the authors reported their findings without p-hacking), etc.

        • Andrew

          I reviewed Nick’s analysis. I’m at a loss for words how an expert of ‘contextual intelligence’ managed to use such poor judgment in presenting his scholarship. Obviously Robert Sternberg has paid a price by having to relinquish his editorship.

          I am aligned with Susan Hack’s view that cliques form within academic communities. Members of cliques benefit each other almost exclusively. I am not familiar with the journal of which Robert Sternberg was editor. Journal publication processes have been under scrutiny for quite a long while apparently. I’ve seen criticism of JAMA and BMJ in particular. I hope that the next sets of editors are sensitive to the preferential treatment that some colleagues get. And here, I see criticisms of current thought leaders in psychology and statistics for being cliquish and exhibiting cognitive dissonance.

          In short this competitive environment can bring out the best, good, and worst in us. I am grateful that we have some wonderful humans among us to aspire to.

        • I am pretty well regarded in my little niche field. I am positive that my papers sometimes get reviewed more gently because people think I know what I’m doing (mostly true, but not always). I do not want soft reviews, but it is sometimes unavoidable.

          On the one hand, while they are dangerous and annoying, there may be a certain Bayesian rationale for how this works. If we think that, in general, people who rise in their field are good at what they do, then the prior that their new work is also good is high, and therefore, perhaps requires less scrutiny.

          By the way, I absolutely am not advocating for this approach – but in this era of “way-too-many-papers and way-too-few-competent-reviewers”, it is a little shortcut that I’m sure many use. I used to be associate editor of the main journal in my field. I eventually quit because I simply could not find enough good reviewers for all the articles pouring in. I found myself semi-consciously sending “good” articles to “good” reviewers and vice-versa. Over the 7 years I did this job, my workload ten-tupled (is that a word?) with no change in administrative help.

          In my opinion, the bad reviewer:manuscript ratio is a critical problem. I know it has been discussed in this forum (post-publication review, etc…).

  6. Just playing devil’s advocate: Andrew, don’t you reuse text (perhaps with some minimal changes) from your blog in your popular articles (e.g., in Significance and such like magazines; I think also in scientific articles) without attribution? I always found it a bit questionable to not say something like: “this text appeared originally in a slightly modified form on the blog…”.

    • Shravan:

      It’s tricky, as blogs don’t count as publications in the same way as books or journal articles. There’s also the incremental nature of blogging; I might have 20 blog posts on a topic, over a series of years, and at most I’d cite one or two of these, so no citation can be even close to complete. When I take lots of material from a blog entry and publish it elsewhere, I’ll cite it (or, at least, I think I usually do, perhaps sometimes I don’t get around to it); other times I’ll restrict my citations to the traditional published literature.

    • To me this seems like a difference in kind and not merely in degree. Prof. Gelman is not writing this blog as a publication in the same sense that an article or a book chapter is a publication. The informality of a blog (not to mention the relative un-cite-ability) makes it a completely different case in my eyes. But who knows, it’s more a taste thing I think. I don’t find putting out a first draft of sorts on a blog then polishing it for publication without reference objectionable, but if you do then perhaps there is a good reason I haven’t considered.

  7. Blessed are the methodologists for they birth a thousand new ideas; whereas a single scientist is lucky to bear just one – though he repeateth it 1,000 times.

    It took me a long time to understand this.

    • Klaas:

      Kinda funny when people do this sort of thing. I mean, why bother? But I guess at some point the game (get prominence for yourself get prominence for your students, acquire chits and use these as a means to obtain more chits in the future) becomes an end in itself.

  8. “Hmmmmm . . . I have an idea! Sternberg wants to increase his citation count. So he cites himself all the time. But he doesn’t want people to know that he publishes essentially the same paper over and over again. So in those cases, he doesn’t cite himself. Cute, huh?”

    With apologies in advance to the principle of charity, perhaps arguendo Dr. Sternberg is selflessly sparing his readers from chasing down variants of the article they’re already reading.

  9. Well to beat a dead horse and lead it to water (to mix cliches) I am amazed you didn’t pick up more on the other editor in the volume cited in the PS. Sort of the research version of six degrees from Kevin Bacon (to add in another cliche).

  10. Copypasta is a term for a block of text that has been copied and pasted multiple times. This often leads to a kind of generic or stilted result, or something that is slightly jumbled or disjointed. Copypasta makes its way across a social media platform or forum or an email chain to reach multiple users.

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