Preface and Acknowledgments



Collaborative Development vs. Plagiarism[edit]

This note is specifically directed towards students and is explicitly intended as an admonition/advice/warning/don't-even-think-of-going-there on the use of OPOSSEM as a guide to the development of academic work.

OPOSSEM is explicitly an exercise in the collaborative development of a text, and as a consequence differs substantially from an individual (or co-authored) exercise such as a term paper or an article. Some text on the site has been created specifically for the project, following the model of academic development that has held for most of the past three centuries.<ref>Though not earlier: scholarship during the first five hundred or so years of the university system followed a pattern quite similar to that of contemporary collaborative research, where manuscripts accumulated multiple levels of frequently anonymous commentary.</ref> However, other parts were initially obtained from various open sources (most commonly, Wikipedia) and subsequently modified. Sometimes these changes are to the point where the original text is almost unrecognizable, at other times the available text was already in a form appropriate for OPOSSEM and little modification occurred. In addition, material that was originally written for OPOSSEM may (or may not) have been substantially edited by others: these edits are recorded in the "History" section of the page but usually will be too complex to construct as a typical academic citation<ref>On some pages, there are commments—these are delineated by <!--...-->—indicating various original sources that has subsequently been extensively modified</ref>.

This is not—we repeat, not—the model to be followed in the construction of an individual (or conventionally co-authored) work of scholarship. OPOSSEM is, shall we say, a different animal. In works that are expected to follow conventional academic attribution norms, all text that is taken from specific sources, including those under open intellectual property licenses such as Creative Commons and GPL, needs to be explicitly cited, even if that work is subsequently paraphrased. Failure to do this constitutes plagiarism; further details on this can be found at [[1]] and in numerous other sources; if you are a student, you would also be advised to check on the specific standards applied by your university.

As we have noted in a variety of places on this site, we intend for all of the material here to have unambiguous intellectual property status. If you find apparent violations of this—that is, instances where you believe the site contains copyrighted material—please let us know via email: admin@opossem.organd we will address the issue. There is also a detailed discussion of various intellectual property issues at the OPOSSEM FAQ [2] and OPOSSEM:Copyrights.


OPOSSEM has received support from various sources. The initial development of the site was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), through a grant administered by the University of South Dakota (SES0968723) and additional conference support provided by an NSF grant to the Society for Political Methodology administered by the University of Kansas (SES0720343). Staff at the ICPSR at the University of Michigan developed the site, and site hosting is provided by the Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship and McMaster University Library. In 2012, the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada will fund a workshop at McMaster to develop additional educational materials to be hosted on OPOSSEM.

In addition to the on-line contributions which are recorded in the "History" sections of the individual pages, OPOSSEM benefited from the participation of a number of individuals at small workshops where much of the original framework was developed. These workshops were organized by Michelle Dion (MacMaster), Bill Anderson (South Dakota) and Shane Nordyke (South Dakota) and included Jan Box-Steffensmeier (Ohio State), Craig Brians (Virginia Tech), Mitchell Brown (Auburn), Emily Clough (Newcastle), David Darmofal (South Carolina), Thomas Ellington (Wesleyan College), James Garand (Louisiana State), Tobin Grant (Southern Illinois), James Honacker (Penn State), Scott Huffmon (Winthrop), Christopher Lawrence (Texas A&M International University), Whitt Kilburn (Grand Valley State), Renan Levine (Toronto), Dave Petersen (Iowa State), Robi Ragan (Duke), Stella Rouse (Maryland), Philip Schrodt (Penn State) and Wendy Watson (North Texas). Additional institutional support and administrative assistance has been provided by Bill Jacoby (ICPSR), Susan Mercer (Institute for Policy and Social Research, Kansas) and Cameron Thies (Iowa).


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