Seoul school faces another plagiarism scandal

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Seoul school faces another plagiarism scandal

A social welfare expert and professor at Chung-Ang University was fired recently for stealing her Ph.D students’ work on several occasions over the past five years. The dismissed professor reportedly ordered her students to conduct research and published them under her name in academic journals and periodicals.

The actions were revealed when a doctoral student complained to the school last December. The school formed an internal investigation committee to look into the accusation, sifting through the professor’s dissertations and comparing them with some of the students’ papers.

The committee concluded that the accusation was true and decided to dismiss the professor at the end of August. She has appealed to the school for reinstatement, however, contending that her dismissal was “unfair.”

The revelation put the university in an awkward position because it had rated Lee as a top-performing professor. The number of papers published by peer-reviewed journals is one of the major factors in a professor’s evaluation. Many four-year universities have adopted similar faculty evaluation programs since 2009, in a push to keep their faculty members more competitive.

Some education professionals complained that such emphasis on the physical volume of papers has created an atmosphere that contributed to the misconduct.

The university responded that “publish or perish” pressure notwithstanding, the professor’s action was still plagiarism. In a separate matter, two business professors at Chung-Ang are currently embroiled in plagiarism charges, according to media reports.

One professor published a paper in two separate journals in 2010, and another copied the research findings and published a third paper based on those data this year. The second professor argued that the first had agreed to share his findings.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [ejpark@joongang.co.kr]

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