Is it OK to plagiarize ideas and results published in Anti TRIZ-journal ?
Y. B. Karasik,
Thoughts Guiding Systems Corp.,
In 2006 the author of this article published a paper in
Anti TRIZ journal titled
"What is a mono-system, a bi-system, and a poly-system ?", where he broke away with Altshuller's definition
of these systems as consisting of a single object, two objects, and many objects respectively and
defined mono-, bi- and poly-systems
as systems with one primary function, two primary functions and several primary functions respectively.
It was a significant deviation from Altshuller's tacit vague
definition that mono-system is a single object, bi-system is a pair of objects, and poly-system consists of many copies of the same object.
Till then all other authors were just spelling out this definition,
making it explicit.
Four years have not yet elapsed as this month
TRIZ-journal surprisingly published an article by Kai Yang and Hongwei Zhang
titled "Two patterns of evolution for technological systems",
where they combined both definitions:
"A mono-system is defined as a single object with one function.
Take for example a knife, a one-barrel hunting rifle (as far as the barrel system is concerned) and a telescope
(as far as the optical system is concerned).
A bi-system is defined as the combination of two sub-systems whose functions or properties are identical or similar or different or opposite.
A poly-system is defined as the combination of three or more sub-systems whose functions or properties are identical or similar or different or opposite."
There are a few problems with this definition:
- Firstly, they did not cite the source of the definition based on counting functions rather than objects.
Instead they cited a book by E. Rivin and V. Fey, which adheres to Altshuller's
- Secondly, as Genady Filkovsky
had noticed, knife, hunting rifle, and telescope are hardly single objects.
Thus, the above combination of two definitions falls through.
- Thirdly, to say that
bi- and poly-systems are combinations of subsystems,
whose functions or properties are either identical or similar or different or opposite is the same as to say that
bi- and poly-systems are combinations of subsystems, which are either black or not black.
Indeed, the both definitions mean that bi- and poly-systems are combinations of any subsystems.
What is more disturbing, however, is that Kai Yang and Hongwei Zhang borrowed yet another result
from Anti TRIZ-journal without citing it.
Namely, they borrowed the conclusion that for transition to a super
system (or a high-level system, as they call it)
a system does not have to exhaust all venues of its evolution,
that such transition may happen at any stage of a system's evolution.
This result was published in Anti TRIZ journal back in Spetember of 2006 in the
"On logical fallacy of Altshuller law of transition to super system".
But now Kai Yang and Hongwei Zhao tout it as their own.
Here is what they write in conclusion of their article
"Two patterns of evolution for technological systems":
Previously, the transition to a high level system was considered the final evolution stage of a system. It was assumed that the system potential be exhausted on its own level first, after which it is transformed to the high-level system.
Several examples in this paper have confirmed that this transition can happen
at any stage of evolutions and a low-level system may exist in some circumstances even though a high-level system has been developed."
It appears that some people think that it is OK to read Anti TRIZ-journal,
borrow its ideas and results, do not cite the source, and present them as their own.