“[V]arious Spanish media outlets have published at least 10 different examples of material allegedly plagiarized by [Francisco] Suárez, including [from] his own father, Francoist historian Luis Suárez.”

The obsessively plagiarizing president of Spain’s King Juan Carlos University allegedly steals work from his own father (author, by the way, of the “hagiographic entry for Francisco Franco in the 2011 Diccionario Biográfico Español,”), but I’m sure Dad doesn’t mind. (I wonder who he named little Francisco after?) What sort of father would object to his son stealing his work?

I bet Luis stole his work from his father. These legacy things are very Spanish.

Meanwhile, Francisco has refused a request from the regional parliament to testify about the matter. He’s way not in the mood to talk about it.

Neigh-Saying in South Korea

Scrutiny of [a close associate of South Korean President Park Geun-hye] resurfaced in recent weeks due to questions about her daughter, Chung Yoo-ra, who was accepted to an elite women’s college called Ewha University. Her admission raised eyebrows since the university reportedly gave her extra credit for achievements in dressage, or competitive horse dancing. Ewha’s president resigned amid the allegations of preferential treatment.

“In Germany a few years ago, the government forced the resignation of a minister who was a plagiarist. In Bologna, we reward the accused.”

And therefore, as an econ professor at Bologna University announces to his students in a recent letter, “I cannot in good conscience ask you to respect the plagiarism rules which Bologna University allows its own professors to violate.”

Go ahead and cheat: You’re in Italy!


UD admires Lucio Picci. His rage at endemic university corruption has been brewing for so long that it’s bubbled up with something entirely new: An invitation to his students to take their part in the corrupt-from-top-to-bottom world of the Italian university.

Why not? The letter, with its examples of several recent cases of highly decorated Italian professors found guilty of rampant plagiarism but who cares, is attracting a lot of attention, which was no doubt Picci’s plan. Good for him.

Not that the shameless Italians will be moved to change anything here; but the larger world needs to be warned about the farcical Italian university system. There are plenty of other countries where you can study.

Ukraine: The Wonderful World of …


Canada: We Don’t Want to Damage People’s Reputations Just Because They’re Liars and Thieves.

Unlike the US of A, sweet reticent little Canada won’t tell you which of its country’s professors have been found guilty of research fraud. It might hurt their future research fraud prospects.

Ditto for the universities harboring the little fuckers: Might damage the schools’ reputation to have it known that they’re squandering taxpayer money on bullshit research.

Even attempting to report on the problem yields No Comment from the cute shy taxpayer funded agencies which might suffer embarrassment should it be known how their cover-up of Canadian research fraud continues to make Canada safe for research fraud.

“Several sackable offenses”….

…and another article UD found it difficult not to giggle through. (Like this one.)

Highlights from the career of Murdoch University’s Vice Chancellor Richard Higgott:

“[A]ccessed adult websites on his work laptop almost 500 times… When he was asked to return the laptop, Professor Higgott downloaded scrubbing software onto the computer in an unsuccessful attempt to delete all evidence he had accessed the websites.”

In an email to a colleague about the faculty senate, complained about the f***king cheek off [sic] these people”.

In another email to a colleague, wrote of the Chancellor, “I will not spend the next two to three years thinking he is the boss and I must seek approval before I fart.”

Circumvented hiring processes to push through the appointment of a woman who referred to him (again those pesky emails) as

“my dearest Higgy”, “Higlet” and “Your Higginess” and signed off with “xoxo”.

He refers to her as “Honey”, “Capling my luv” and “Capling my dear”.

Your Higginess is good.

Intellectual Evolution of Russia: Descent with Modification

Duma member Igor Igoshin allegedly earned his economics degree by turning someone else’s paper on the Russian chocolate industry into a thesis on meat; the dissertation replaced every mention of “chocolate” with “beef,” “dark chocolate” with “home-grown beef,” and “white chocolate” with “imported beef.” All numbers, charts, and analysis were preserved in their original form. More recently, Dissernet revealed that an oncologist named Yuri Tsarapkin had handed in a medical article about breast cancer that was adapted—data and all—from someone else’s paper on stomach cancer. That paper, which was presented as a study of human subjects, turned out to have been plagiarized from yet another source: a study of cancer in dogs and rats.


UD thanks Jeff.

The Italian University System: A Brief Update

La Sapienza, Rome’s most prestigious university, is plagued by favoritism. In 2010, a third of the faculty counted close family members among their colleagues. Even university admissions are tainted by corruption: Two years ago, a box of university entrance exams at the University of Bari was tampered with before the test, leaving many skeptical of the fairness of the exam. This leaves the education and careers of young Italians up to a corrupt and nepotistic system…

In an interview with Brown Political Review, Beppe Severgnini, one of Italy’s leading journalists, explained that the main issue young people face in their education is a total lack of accountability. “It’s not even possible to translate this word [accountability] into Italian,” Severgnini joked, describing the way that faculty in Italian universities can treat their jobs and obligations with minimal care and face few consequences. Italian students lacking family connections must become independent and resourceful. “In a perverse manner, in those universities it becomes a sort of natural selection,” he said. “I’ve taught in the US, where, whether you’re a better student or a weaker student, there’s a wave that brings everyone out.” But once these talented students make it through the system, many of them leave — particularly those who have already made the jump from the South to the North, where the quality of higher education tends to be higher. “I call it the ‘triple jump,’” Severgnini said. “So they go from Palermo to Rome to Berlin. Or Bari to Torino to Boston. Bang; bang; bang.”

“[I]n a section of her thesis about the characteristics of stem cells, [Haruko Obokata, a now-disgraced Japanese stem cell researcher] had cut and pasted long passages from the National Institutes of Health Web site… Obokata says that she was hurrying to finish her thesis before the deadline, and accidentally bound and submitted a draft rather than the final version. But [a fellow scientist] says that when he confronted her about the plagiarism she said that it was common at Waseda [University], and that a faculty member had told her that no one reads the theses anyway.”

A long New Yorker essay about madly proliferating stem cell research fraud reminds us of PhD protocols at some of the world’s prominent universities:

Cut – Paste – Pass Without Reading

The “Hell to Rhodes”…

… was paved with good intentions.

But no.

Wow. If it’d happened here, at least one person would’ve had a gun and killed him.

Pulendrarasa, [a] French national of Srilankan Tamil origin, raised some questions regarding what was done during Chennai floods, at [a] seminar held at [the University of Madras] recently.

He was beaten up by a few professors and staffs of the University.

“Mr Tomar responded that the university had not denied that he was a student and that ‘there are so many students they could have forgotten.'”

Delhi’s law minister didn’t fake his law degree; his law school simply can’t remember him.

Remembrances of students killed at Garissa University…

… are here.

Cash for Flash

In May 2011, Mr UD went to Jeddah, to review an academic program at King Abdulaziz University. I remember thinking, listening to him talk about the school and Saudi Arabia, that this is arguably the weirdest country in the world. It has money, and seems to want various forms of international legitimacy (for its educational establishment, for instance). Saudi Arabia must look at rapidly progressing China and India and think I’ll have a slice of that…

Yet its deeply, absurdly, repressive culture (Mr UD described the way, as the plane touched down, every woman passenger assumed a funeral pall) makes any form of cultural progress almost impossible.

Saudi Arabia does have one university, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (its only mixed-gender university) that’s getting somewhere.


Most countries do indeed look first at their universities as they seek a voice in the modern intellectual and scientific world; but because Saudi Arabia by definition (it not only lacks a scientific ethos; it is foundationally opposed to a scientific ethos) cannot attract or cultivate world-class intellectuals, it has tried to use its vast wealth to as it were attach academic respectability to itself.

Case in point: The same university Mr UD visited has been throwing tens of thousands of dollars a year at highly cited researchers in the US and elsewhere in order to get them to list an affiliation with King Abdulaziz University. They don’t have to go there or anything; in exchange for the money, they call themselves adjunct professors. They make contact with one or two professors on the campus; they may talk vaguely about scholarly cooperation. But really it’s about cash for flash: You give us your name, we give you $70,000 a year.

It’s also about gaming the international university ranking system:

Citations are an indicator of academic clout, but they are also a crucial metric used in compiling several university rankings. There may be many reasons for hiring highly cited researchers, but rankings are one clear result of KAU’s investment. The worry, some researchers have said, is that citations and, ultimately, rankings may be KAU’s primary aim.

Indeed a Berkeley mathematician describes his shock on seeing that “a little-known university in Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz University, or KAU, ranked seventh in the world in mathematics [in the US News and World Report rankings] — despite the fact that it didn’t have a doctorate program in math until two years ago.”

The adjunct ploy has spawned some busybusybusybusyBUSY professors:

[There’s] Jun Wang, director of the Beijing Genome Institute, whose affiliations are BGI (60%), University of Copenhagen (15%), King Abdulaziz University (15%), The University of Hong Kong (5%), Macau University of Science and Technology (5%). Should he also acknowledge the airlines he flies on? Should there not be some limit on the number of affiliations of an individual?

Take that, Morris Zapp!!


You have to give KAU this: They understand numbers. And they understand human psychology. (As one scientist who went for the deal explained to the Berkeley guy, “It’s just capitalism.” A professor who turned down an invitation from KAU writes, in a comment on the Berkeley guy’s blog, “I got one of these invitations from King Abdulaziz University too and I said ‘No’ to it… But believe me, the offer of $72K ‘easy money’ even made me think for a minute or two before saying ‘No.’ It was tempting! Some people have children to send to school, and their salaries are not enough.”) Maybe for this alone they deserve their ranking.

And he was a terrific dancer

Comparing Adolf Hitler with Josef Stalin, [Humboldt University professor Jörg] Baberowski claimed that Hitler was not “a psychopath, he wasn’t cruel, and he tolerated no mention of the extermination of the Jews in his presence”.

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