Brake Thread

Following my post yesterday, the thread of comments relating to the Mark Brake/University of Glamorgan fraud scandal has been removed from the Times Higher story. However, I was logging the thread until very near the end (in fact, until my own  last comment this morning shortly before the comments were closed). I have posted them on a permanent page here to preserve them, but the page is currently offline pending clarification of copyright issues.

I have no idea why the comments were deleted, but I hope it is a sign that the University of Glamorgan is finally investigating this matter. If they are, I expect this matter to reach a speedy conclusion. If not, I will keep you posted on further developments with this and other matters in due course.

I’ve decided to reduce the amout of blogging I do over the next few days to catch up on paper-writing and a few other things, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing if story stays at the top of the page for now.

7 Responses to “Brake Thread”

  1. ’m not a legal expert, but could the THES have a right to ask you to take down these comments? There is a technical issue and there is a legal issue. Technically, taking them down wouldn’t mean that they disappear completely, as they will be cached somewhere and/or some archival sites (“see the web as it was”) might have them (this is a bit different than posting them somewhere else since the context is the original). Taking them down will make them more difficult to find, though. Legally, just because something is publicly available doesn’t mean that anyone has the right to do anything with it (such as posting large chunks of text somewhere else). (Personally, I think it is good that the comments are still available; I’m curious about the legal position though. Obviously the THES took them down because they don’t want them available; having them available somewhere else might be even worse from their point of view.)

  2. telescoper Says:


    As far as I understand it these comments were contributed voluntarily by members of the public and they did not assign copyright to the THES when they did so. My understanding is therefore that they are in the public domain and it therefore seems to me there is no reason for me not to include them ona free blog.

    The THES gave no reason for removing the entire thread, so I assume they just wanted to make space for other items.

    If the THES asks me to remove them and gives a good reasons, I shall be happy to do so.


  3. Hhmm, yes, maybe they did take them down for some other reason. Your remark implied causality, though—at least that was my impression. (Recent cartoon: A: I used to think that precedence implied causality. Then I changed my mind after taking a course in statistics. B: So the course changed your mind? A: I’m not sure.) If they do ask you to take them down, hopefully you can tell us why and not be prevented from doing so for legal reasons. 🙂

    Somewhat relevant:

  4. Phillip

    Reading the Times Higher terms and conditions I agree with you that the copyright issue is more complicated than I thought. I have therefore taken the thread of comments offline unless and until the matter is clarified.

    I apologize if I have inadvertantly transgressed.


  5. Will Grainger Says:

    It is probably worth making sure that you have an “offline” backup of that page. I don’t know how well stand up to legal threats, but you get what you pay for…

  6. Thanks Will. In fact many people besides me have been logging those comments so they will not be lost. It will be a shame however if the THES has discarded its access logs as the UoG would have needed them for its investigation. That is if it actually intended to have one, which is doubtful.

  7. […] reference. I was worried that the comments might be lost when the Times Higher closed them so I posted them on this blog. I took them offline a bit later because I was worried about possible copyright […]

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