Was This Technology historian plagiarized? Sure seems like she was.

Historians in the News
tags: plagiarism, IEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers



For the third time this month, scholars are questioning the integrity of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the world’s largest professional organization for the advancement of technology.

Last week, scholars criticized Alexander Magoun, an outreach historian at the IEEE, for comments he made on the organization's official Twitter account about the work of a female junior scholar that he later admitted he hadn’t read. Some called the comments he made about Google search returns for “white girls” and “black girls” dismissive, inappropriate or racist….

The newest controversy involves allegations of plagiarism. Ahead of Valentine’s Day, IEEE’s news service, The Institute, published an article titled “Did You Know? Computer Matchmaking Started in the 1960s,” about Joan Ball, a little-known English shopkeeper who founded a matchmaking service in England and eventually the first computerized matchmaking system.

The original IEEE post referenced an article in Logic magazine, without naming its author, Marie Hicks, an assistant professor of history at the University of Wisconsin at Madison who uncovered Ball’s story while researching her recent book called Programmed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists and Lost Its Edge in Computing (MIT Press). 

Beyond criticizing the article for failing to name Hicks and note her original work on Ball, readers of the IEEE piece familiar with Hicks’s research also said the writing itself sounded familiar.

For example, here’s what Hicks wrote in Logic: “A ‘people person’ and quick study when it came to character, [Ball] found that when trying to make matches you didn't ask people what they wanted in another person -- you asked them what they didn't want [emphasis hers]. The rest was negotiable. Within a few years, Joan decided to start her own marriage bureau.”

And here’s what the IEEE piece said: “Ball began asking clients what they didn’t [emphasis IEEE's] want in a partner -- assuming the rest was negotiable -- and had them write down their responses in a standardized way that could be compared and quantified. In 1964 she helped design the first computerized matchmaking system.”

Read entire article at Inside Higher ED

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