News launch featured in Nature and the press

Owing primarily to the article in Nature, the Integru initiative has been featured in a long number of newspapers and blogs on the same or next day of our public launching last week on Aug 15. On the following day we received a great number of messages with congratulations (thank you!) and were informed about 6 more cases of suspected plagiarism.

Below is only a subset extracted from Google Analytics (and excluding personal blogs).

The Nature article: . . .

Reviews Review 3 Sorin Sorlea, Prof Klara Branzaniuc (Vice-Rector), Prof Constantin Copotoiu (Senate President) et al. – journal paper plagiarism

Page from plagiarism report (Click image to enlarge).

This article was published with the contribution the Vice-Rector (Prof Klara Branzaniuc) and the Senate President of the University (Prof Constantin Copotoiu) – the latter acting as the PhD Supervisor.

Plagiarism of the ‘copy-paste’ type is evident to a large extent, including sources that have been copied incorrectly. The very pronounced similarity between some numerical data is highly suspicious and an extremely serious matter (see data fabrication and duplication) and have cast doubts on the truthfulness of the reported results.

Prof Klara Branzaniuc was at the time of writing and continues to be the Vice-Rector and President of the Scientific Council at the University of Pharmacy and Medicine in Targu-Mures, Romania . . .

Reviews Review 2 Dr Rodica Anghel, media regulations counsellor at the National Audiovisual Council – journal article plagiarism

Page from Plagiarism report

This article was produced by Dr Anghel while still a PhD student and was published in the Romanian Journal of Communication and Public Relation, vol. 11, no. 2 (16), 2009, pp. 109-116 (online, local copy retrieved 6/8/2012). Experts in Media and Education studies confirm that Dr Anghel extensively plagiarised sentences and paragraphs from different sources, without quoting or referencing the copied texts in an ethically accepted manner.

Besides Dr Anghel’s paper, the same journal issue also publishes a 19 pages paper on plagiarism by Octavian Rujoiu: “Academic Dishonesty: Copy – Paste method. Shame and Guilt among Romanian high school students”, p. 45.

Dr Anghel was awarded the PhD title and is, at the time of this writing, Media Policy Counsellor at the National Audiovisual Council of Romania . . .

Reviews Review 1 Dr Victor Ponta (prime minister), PhD thesis plagiarism

Page 47 from V.Ponta's PhD thesis side-by-side with source

This post presents the PhD thesis of the Romanian Prime Minister, Dr Victor Ponta, which includes over 100 pages of copy-pasted material from at least three sources.

A few months ago, this case sparked a debate about whether doctoral theses or journal articles in Law should be exempt from observing ethical norms common in other scientific fields. The case was analysed by 3 committees: the National Ethics Council, the University of Bucharest (which conferred the PhD title in 2003) and the National Council for the Certification of University Titles, Diplomas and Certificates. The first concluded that no plagiarism is noticeable, while the second and third denounced the work as a clear breach of academic standards in the form of plagiarism.

The academic community publicly condemned the misconduct, sought the Prime Minister’s demise and signed several petitions to this effect. The Prime Minister has not, as yet, stepped down, nor was his Dr title revoked . . .

Blog Plagiarism on the rise

Perhaps it is not the plagiarism itself that is increasing, as a phenomenon, but rather it is the concern of mixing genuine research with mediocre writing or fake results. Perhaps what’s changing is the perception. The tolerance of misconduct in research and publishing seems to be on the edge.

Below are only a few links that can give a broad image of the magnitude this subject has gained in the public perception . . .