Edward Wegman

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Edward Wegman is a statistician, a statistics professor at George Mason University, and past chair of the National Research Council’s Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics. He holds a Ph.D. in mathematical statistics and is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and a Senior Member of the IEEE. In addition to his work in the field of statistical computing, Wegman is notable for contributing to the 2006 Committee on Energy and Commerce Report investigation which inquired into the Hockey stick controversy.


Edward Wegman, a St. Louis, Missouri native, received a B.S. in mathematics from Saint Louis University in 1965, he then went to graduate school at the University of Iowa where he earned an M.S. in 1967 and a Ph.D. in 1968, both in mathematical statistics. He held a faculty position at the University of North Carolina for ten years. In 1978, Wegman joined the Office of Naval Research, in which he headed the Mathematical Sciences Division.[1]

Later, Wegman served as the first program director of the Ultra High Speed Computing basic research program for the Strategic Defense Initiative's Innovative Science and Technology Office. He joined the faculty of George Mason University in 1986 and developed a master’s degree program in statistical science.[1]

Wegman is credited with coining the phrase "computational statistics" and developing a high-profile research program around the concept that computing resources could transform statistical techniques. He also has been the associate editor of seven academic journals, a member of numerous editorial boards, and the author of more than 160 papers and five books. Wegman is a member of the American Statistical Association, a former president of the International Association for Statistical Computing, and a past chairman of the Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics for the United States National Academy of Sciences.[1]

Wegman received the 2002 Founders Award from the American Statistical Association, for "over thirty years of exceptional service and leadership to the American Statistical Association."[2]

Energy and Commerce hearing & plagiarism allegations[edit]

For more details on this topic, see Hockey stick controversy.

In 2006 Joe Barton chose Wegman to assist the United States House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee in its inquiry into the "Hockey stick graph." The report was critical of the graph, and Wegman offered testimony criticising the mathematics used.[3][4][5][6][7]

In October 2010, George Mason University (GMU) announced they were conducting a formal investigation into charges of plagiarism and misconduct related to the Wegman Report.[8] In November 2010, USA Today reported that the "review of the 91-page report, by three experts... found repeated instances of passages lifted word for word and what appear to be thinly disguised paraphrases" of wording taken from the book, Paleoclimatology: Reconstructing Climates of the Quaternary, by Raymond Bradley, Director of the Climate System Research Center of the University of Massachusetts, as well as erroneous citations of data.[9][10]

Wegman criticized the "speculation and conspiracy theory" in the original allegations, and said that "these attacks are unprecedented" in his long career.[9] A Nature editorial in May 2011 called the delays in GMU's inquiry "disheartening," as "long misconduct investigations do not serve anyone, except perhaps university public-relations departments that might hope everyone will have forgotten about a case by the time it wraps up," and urged resolution "as speedily as possible while allowing time for due process."[11]

In May 2011 the journal Computational Statistics and Data Analysis retracted a 2008 social network analysis by Yasmin Said, Edward Wegman and coauthors[12] (based on part of the Wegman Report[11]) because the paper used portions of other authors' writings without sufficient attribution.[13] Wegman said that he would never knowingly publish plagiarized material. The lawyer for both authors said they stand by their work.[14]

In October 2011, USA Today reported additional concerns that separate 2009 review article authored by Wegman and Said contained material copied without attribution from Wikipedia. Wegman, his attorney, and George Mason University declined to comment on the allegations.[15]

George Mason University provost Peter Stearns announced on 22 February 2012 that charges of scientific misconduct had been investigated by two separate faculty committees: the one investigating the Wegman Report gave a unanimous finding that "no misconduct was involved" in the 2006 report to Congress. Stearns stated that "Extensive paraphrasing of another work did occur, in a background section, but the work was repeatedly referenced and the committee found that the paraphrasing did not constitute misconduct". The 2008 social network analysis paper was investigated by a separate committee which unanimously found "that plagiarism occurred in contextual sections of the (CSDA) article, as a result of poor judgment for which Professor Wegman, as team leader, must bear responsibility." Stearns announced that Wegman was to receive an "official letter of reprimand", and in response to telephoned questions said the university was going to send the investigation reports to federal authorities. A university spokesman said the reports would not be made public. Bradley said the university had failed to notify him of its decision, and described the split result as "an absurd decision" which would encourage GMU students to think it acceptable to copy work without attribution. Stearns said that "instead of allowing the university process to be completed", which had taken over two years, Bradley had openly discussed the plagiarism. The university was going to consider ways to make investigations more streamlined, and it was not investigating any other complaints about Wegman.[16]


  1. ^ a b c The University of Iowa Alumni Association distinguished alumni award page
  2. ^ ASA Founders Award winners
  3. ^ Committee on Energy and Commerce Hearing
  4. ^ Wegman, Edward J.; Said, Yasmin H.; Scott, David W. (2006), Ad Hoc Committee Report On The ‘Hockey Stick’ Global Climate Reconstruction (pdf), Congressional Report (United States House Committee on Energy and Commerce, published 14 July 2006), archived from the original on 16 July 2006, retrieved 22 October 2012 (View static 404 page)  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  5. ^ Wegman fact-sheet
  6. ^ Wegman's testimony
  7. ^ Transcript of the entire hearing
  8. ^ University investigating prominent climate science critic, USA Today, Oct 08, 2010
  9. ^ a b Dan Vergano (November 22, 2010). "Experts claim 2006 climate report plagiarized". USA TODAY. 
  10. ^ "Raymond S. Bradley". Retrieved 22 January 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "Copy and paste". Nature 473 (7348): 419–420. 2011. doi:10.1038/473419b. PMID 21614031.  edit
  12. ^ Said, Y.; Wegman, E.; Sharabati, W.; Rigsby, J. (2008). "Social networks of author–coauthor relationships". Computational Statistics & Data Analysis 52 (4): 2177–2184. doi:10.1016/j.csda.2007.07.021.  (Retracted. If this is intentional, please replace {{Retracted}} with {{Retracted|intentional=yes}}.) edit
  13. ^ Journal Retracts Disputed Network Analysis Paper on Climate, AAAS Science Insider, 2 June 2011
  14. ^ Climate study gets pulled after charges of plagiarism, by Dan Vergano USA Today, article updated 5/15/2011. Accessed 6/6/2011
  15. ^ Vergano, Dan (October 5, 2011). "More Wikipedia copying from climate critics". USA Today. Retrieved October 12, 2011. 
  16. ^ Vergano, Dan (February 22, 2012). "University reprimands climate science critic for plagiarism". USA Today. Retrieved 23 February 2012. 

External links[edit]