Fake scienceKim Tae-Kook, a professor at the state-run Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, published the results of his research in the world-renowned journal Science in 2005 and in Nature Chemical Biology in 2006.
But it turns out his research was faked.
Kaist announced the findings of an internal investigation on Feb. 29 that concluded Kim had exaggerated the results of his experiments by manipulating the magnification of microscopic pictures.
The shock is all the greater because these fresh allegations of scientific fraud follow hard on the heels of Dr. Hwang Woo-suk and his fabricated research findings.
Scientific fraud is now firmly entrenched in the public consciousness, and the academic field of natural science, in which Kim conducts his work, has taken steps to ensure better-quality research and more open scientific studies.
Universities have tried to identify problems themselves and they have implemented “self-purification” systems to try to prevent a repeat of the Hwang scandal, despite the recent drama surrounding Kim.
However, the field of social sciences in Korea seems to have a problem and lacks a self-purifying system. Kim Soung-yee, a candidate for Minister of Health, Welfare and Family, plagiarized another scholar’s book and published it under his name.
Park Mi-seok, senior secretary for social policy, released a paper based on a dissertation by one of her students.
The former Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Kim Byong-joon and the ex-president of Korea University, Lee Phil-sang, stepped down from their positions because of allegations concerning plagiarism.
We say that a person who lacks the basic ethics and responsibility required of a scholar and educator is not entitled to be in charge of national administration.
Once plagiarism has been proved, the accused should be purged from public office and academia.
In the United States, Timothy Goeglein, a special assistant to President George W. Bush, resigned on Feb. 29 after evidence came to light that he had plagiarized another person’s material for his newspaper column.
We are still worried that plagiarism is not only a crime committed by some “polifessors” who enter into political circles, but is also a general practice for those to fool others.
We call upon academics in Korea to tighten procedures for ensuring that research is honest.