The Conference Board of Canada has issued a response to my posting on its Digital Economy report. The organization defends the report, arguing that there was only one case of a missed citation (which it has corrected) and acknowledging that "some of the cited paragraphs closely approximate the wording of a source document." It claims that it conducted a full review of the various arguments and included "those arguments considered most relevant to the policy under review." Since this is contract research funded by the copyright lobby groups and the Ontario government, the Conference Board refuses to disclose the terms of the contract.
Leaving aside the fact that all the most relevant arguments just happen to come from a U.S. lobby group with direct links to the funders of the Digital Economy report, the Conference Board of Canada has failed to understand the rules associated with plagiarism as a sprinkling of citations is simply not good enough. As the University of Ottawa's plagiarism guidelines (which are mirrored in academic institutions around the world) note "if you use someone else's words, data, etc., use quotation marks and give a complete reference." The Digital Economy report repeatedly used the same or very similar wording to the IIPA document and does not use quotations. Moreover, my posting cited to factual errors contained within the report and the press release. For example, the Conference Board claimed that the OECD concluded that Canada is the world's file sharing capital on a per capita basis. This is simply false as anyone who reads the OECD report will find that it did not reach that conclusion. Nevertheless, the Conference Board has chosen not to respond to this issue.
Admitting an error is never easy, but I would submit that the Conference Board of Canada has compounded its mistake by standing by its report. In doing so, it has done little more than further undermine its credibility. Particularly given that public dollars helped fund this report, Minister of Research and Innovation John Wilkinson should provide his views on whether his government regards this as appropriate use of taxpayer money.
Update (5:15): Brian Jackson of IT Business reports that the Minister's office acknowledges spending $15,000 on the report. It plans to follow up on the issues raised in my post.