Neri Oxman, a distinguished MIT professor and wife of billionaire Bill Ackman, is under scrutiny for alleged plagiarism in her 2010 doctoral dissertation.

A recent report by Business Insider unearthed passages from Oxman’s dissertation, titled “Material-based Design Computation,” which appear to be directly lifted from various sources without proper citation.

Plagiarized texts

The investigation reveals that Neri Oxman, who has held a tenured position at MIT since 2017, allegedly plagiarized text from two articles written by NYU historian Peder Anker in 1995 and 2006, as well as from a 1998 book by Claus Mattheck, a German physicist.

The revelation comes shortly after Bill Ackman publicly called for the resignation of Harvard President Claudine Gay, citing plagiarism allegations against her.

Just oversight?

Responding to the allegations, Oxman expressed regret and issued an apology for the oversight in her dissertation.

She acknowledged that she should have provided proper citations to sources like Mattheck.

Oxman’s acknowledgment of plagiarism has surprised and let down numerous supporters and colleagues who previously viewed her as a trailblazer and innovator in the realms of architecture, design, and biotechnology.

In a statement, Oxman stated, “As I have dedicated my career to advancing science and innovation, I have always recognized the profound importance of the contributions of my peers and those who came before me. I hope that my work is helpful to the generations to come.”

She also expressed gratitude for her 15-year tenure at MIT, where she obtained her Ph.D. in 2010, became a faculty member in the same year, and achieved tenure in 2017 before leaving in 2020 due to marriage, motherhood, and relocation to New York City.

Academic integrity

The plagiarism controversy has prompted inquiries into the integrity and credibility of Oxman’s work, along with scrutiny of the oversight mechanisms at MIT. The Media Lab came under examination for accepting donations from the convicted offender Jeffrey Epstein.

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