US higher education has degenerated to the point where academic scandals hardly make the news anymore; decades ago, a professor or university president caught plagiarizing was actually a notable event, and today scandals are so common, scandals involving rape, embezzlement, open fraud, or all put together, that the academic frauds of yesteryear no longer rate much. Those of us working in higher ed know about the academic frauds…we also know that it’s hopeless, that nothing will be done if admin chooses to look the other way. So, when we see another professor manipulate his publication numbers through shamelessly getting his name on papers he couldn’t possibly have contributed meaningfully to, we say nothing.
It’s seriously gotten to the point that a 33 page paper can have over 5,000 names listed as contributors, and nobody bats an eye—9 pages of research, 25 small print pages listing alleged authors…more than one unique author for each unique word of research. We’re all part of it, I admit.
I can’t blame this on the student loan scam. No, it’s our fraudulent administration that’s the culprit here. Many of our blustering “leaders” in higher education are academic frauds, completely incapable of standing for the integrity necessary to clean up this part of education. Truth be told, the fraudulent nature of our “leaders’” research is so obvious to our academics, that we “collegially” let it go, in exchange for these unqualified “leaders” not giving much scrutiny to the academic publications.
Another reason this fraud continues is our higher education system is just so huge now; it’s pretty easy to slip under the radar and claim publications that were never actually published, because so many journals have real readership that can be counted on one hand…we all know what’s going on, but it’s huge, and the people in power dare do nothing, lest scrutiny fall on their own frauds. Thus, hope for eventual cleanup must start in a small system and the help must come from outside.
A recent article detailed how over 200 professors in over 50 universities in Korea, a smaller education system by far than here in the US, are going to be prosecuted for plagiarism, in the legal (not academic) system. The perpetrators will likely lose their jobs, at the very least.
I can’t emphasize strongly enough how the corruption at the top spawns corruption everywhere below. We see the frauds running the place, see that our own jobs depend on inflating our publishing numbers as much as possible, and honestly it’s hard to feel like we’re disrespecting academia when plundering fraudsters run academia. The corruption at the top, corruption that seems to have no penalty, inspires the corruption at the bottom:
Most recently, Changwon National University president Choi Hae-bum was involved in a plagiarism scandal as 33 professors from the school took issue with his doctorate thesis. –administrative degrees are as questionable there as here.
If the guys at the top can get away with it, why not everyone else? The modern Korean system, like most every other higher education system on the planet, is similar enough to US higher ed for the gentle reader to get an idea of the reality in the US.
We really are at the point where nobody is putting much effort into covering up the fraud:
The professors, mostly in science and engineering majors, are accused of publishing others’ works under their own names by simply changing the book covers to boost their academic profiles ahead of assessments for rehiring.
How can we faculty laugh at students’ lazy attempts to plagiarize, even as academics can’t be bothered to put more effort into plagiarizing whole textbooks than changing the cover of the book.
Now, realize this can’t be done without the publishers’ assistance, someone has to print those textbooks after all. So, the publishers are in on it too—they sell more books this way, and profits, not integrity, are the sole purpose of publishing corporations. As long as the money flows, publishers won’t complain.
This level of plagiarism also can’t be done without the authors of the original books also consenting—it’s a small world, academically speaking, there’s no way you can get away with stealing whole books like this without someone saying “Gee, your book on the inside looks exactly like the book I was using two years ago, but with a different cover.” So, the authors get paid off:
The original authors also allegedly turned a blind eye to the practice under pressure to maintain a favorable relationship with the publishers for future book deals. Some of them are suspected of having taken kickbacks from publishers in return for keeping quiet.
Now, the reason for the plagiarism is because professors with books on their resume are more likely to get tenure and pay raises and such…and if the administrators were legit, they would have the skills to catch this sort of thing. Higher education administrators are no more legitimate in Korea than in the US, I suspect.
I want to add one more important quote here:
“The practice has been prevalent since 1980 in the publishing sector, but it has never been caught,” said Kim Young-jong from the prosecutors’ office. “We will take stern action against the university professors who have little morality to protect innocent students from them.”
This conspiracy went on for over 30 years.
This conspiracy involved hundreds of faculty members, several large corporations, scores of authors from all around the world, and many students (some of whom had to have been using the older texts with the legit covers), who all had to have known the truth of these books with the suspicious covers.
For over 30 years.
Nothing was done. I promise you, at least a thousand people knew full well about the blatant frauds going on in the Korean higher educational system. And it took over 30 years before news of this open conspiracy finally became documented public knowledge.
Admin: “We have over 1,000 students taking our night courses! We’re growing!”
Me: “Then why is it that the parking lot at night, during class time, has less than a dozen cars in it?”
–I didn’t quite say that last line, but with a 1,000 student names, each receiving a check, dozens of faculty, supposedly teaching the classes, and highly paid administrators, looking the other way, I think this could qualify as a conspiracy. One that anyone with eyeballs could tell was a fraud.
Please, keep this in mind when someone advances a conspiracy theory, you cannot simply dismiss it because “too many people would have to know the truth for such a secret to be kept.” Being in higher education, I’ve seen sufficient mass conspiracies to discount anyone else’s theory simply because too many people would have to be involved.
I’ve discussed many similar “open conspiracies” on this blog and in my book. I’ve tried calling fraud hotlines, writing the governor, and other methods of doing something about the criminal behavior going on in higher education, especially in the community college systems, and accomplished nothing. Perhaps I should ask the legal system of Korea to help me out?