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Tim Rentsch & The Abscissa Book
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Date: 2009-03-08 (13:52)
From: Yitzhak Mandelbaum <yitzhakm@C...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] Re: Tim Rentsch & The Abscissa Book
Dear list,

I strongly advise people to read the letter to which Mr. Rentsch links  
before coming to any conclusions from Mr. Rentsch's quotes.


On Mar 8, 2009, at 4:15 AM, Tim Rentsch wrote:

> Dear Caml-list readers:
> I have just read Jason Hickey's post of 3/6/2009 at the beginning of
> this thread.  Now that Jason has made this a public issue by trying it
> in the court of public opinion I am forced to give a public response.
> Jason's letter is false or misleading in important respects, as
> demonstrated by a letter he himself wrote to my lawyer dated May 19,
> 2008 [ 
> jyh-2008_05_19.pdf].
> In a prior post, Jason claimed not to have been aware of my book.  The
> truth is he and his publisher have exchanged multiple letters with me
> and my lawyer for some time, and they have been well aware of my book
> for roughly the last year, well before it was published.  The clearest
> example is in his own hand.  Prof. Hickey's letter of May 19, 2008, is
> two full pages devoted solely to the subject of my book.  Among other
> things, he stated: "I am pleased that Mr. Rentsch intends to publish a
> book on Objective Caml based on joint work he did with me."  He also
> stated that his publisher's counsel, Kevin Taylor, had "proposed that
> both authors simply publish their own books . . ."
> Jason claims of my book The Objective Caml Programming Language that I
> wrote only chapters 14, 15, 17, and the Appendix, and that he wrote
> everything else.  That claim is false and Jason knows it.  I have said
> all along that my book is based on the joint work that Jason and I
> prepared between 2004 and 2007.  Jason tries to downplay my role in
> the joint work, for example his comment about offering co-authorship
> "on this basis" [for two chapters and an appendix].  In fact what he
> said was "We have to make you a co-author!", or something very close
> to that, and sounded more like it was made out of recognition of the
> amount of work I'd put in, not just specific writings.  Furthermore
> most of the work I did in other parts of the book was done after that
> point, after being made a co-author.
> It appears that Jason is guilty of doing himself what he's accusing
> me of doing, making use of material developed for our joint work
> without my permission.  I've just conducted a very cursory
> examination of Jason's online manuscript.  For example, the earlier
> course notes had no exercises.  A comparison of exercises in his
> manuscript and my book will show similarities in many cases, too many
> to be just coincidental.  I have not received any communication
> either asking me for permission or attempting to make arrangements
> so I could be paid royalties that I'm entitled to for use of
> material developed for the joint work.
> Jason intimates in one posting that my manuscript was deliberately
> withheld from him.  The truth is an offer was made in a letter sent in
> May of 2008 to Kevin Taylor, with a cc to Jason, to provide a copy of
> that manuscript.  No request for any such copy has been received.
> Jason implies in one posting that I asked CUP to delay publication of
> his manuscript until after I reviewed it.  I never made any such
> request, nor did I expect that there would be any delay of this kind.
> I did ask for an advance copy of the manuscript, but on later advice
> decided not to look at it at all, and this decision was communicated
> to CUP by letter in May of 2008 (the same letter mentioned above,
> cc'ed to Jason).  Since that time I'm not aware of any attempt, either
> by Jason or by CUP, to try to get any kind of resolution on the matter
> or to ask about any possibly missing communication.
> There are indications on that Jason may be trying to add to
> a set of comments accusing me of plagiarism;  the charges of
> plagiarism are absolutely false, and Jason knows it.
> The comments above reflect just some of the ways that Jason's remarks
> are false or misleading;  I haven't tried to tabulate them all.  I
> have, to the best of my understanding, a legal right to use material
> from the joint work in the way that I'm using it.  Furthermore I
> invite everyone to compare my book against the earlier 2002 course
> notes, not just at the level of words or phrases, but entire sections
> and chapters, and see for themselves the extent to which I contributed
> not just changes but value to all parts of any earlier material.
> At the end of his posting Jason makes some self-serving statements
> related to further public discussion, moving on, etc.  If he'd really
> felt that way he could have written a short notice saying that he
> would be taking the matter up with his publisher and would let people
> know how things turned out.  Of course, what he really wants is to
> have it both ways -- make public accusations and then stop any further
> public discussion.  I encourage _all_ readers to gather facts on this
> issue on _both_ sides, and convey any opinions to Jason's editor, and
> also to appropriate public forums -- I don't know where else Jason
> might have posted.  I encourage reviewers of _both_ books to report
> all the facts available to them, and for anyone who would recommend
> Jason's book to consider whether they want to be associated with the
> kind of intellectual dishonesty he has displayed in his postings here.
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Yitzhak Mandelbaum