Four of them applied for doctoral degrees with fake research articles

Four of them applied for doctoral degrees with fake research articles

Research ethics

4 out of 25 applicants for the PhD in Mathematics at the University of Bergen had false research articles in the publication list.

With so many fake research articles circulating, recruitment work may become more resource-intensive, believes Inga Berry, professor of mathematics at the University of Bergen.

At the end of November last year, Inga Berry, after an initial review, had 25 applicants for the position of research fellow on her desk.

When the mathematics professor at the University of Bergen (UiB) took a closer look at the leaflets attached to the applications, she discovered that four of them contained fake articles on the list, possibly produced by illegal substance factories.

—The articles I discovered are confusingly similar to regular research articles. The structure and content seem acceptable. Many of them have been cited and published in well-known publishers such as Springer, Wiley and Elsevier – and in journals registered in Norway. Channel record.

It's only when you start reading closely that it doesn't make sense, Perry tells Chrono.

One of 25 applicants for a PhD position in the Department of Mathematics submitted a list of 12 scientific articles for submission. When Perry investigated them, she discovered that the whole thing was a scam.

Article mills, or “paper mills,” are illegal businesses that supply fraudulent scientific articles that are arranged for publication in recognized journals. This is a growing problem in the academic world.

Khrono recently revealed that the professor at Høgskulen på Vestlandet (HVL) It must be investigated After allegations of publishing false articles.

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– Writing resources

Inga Perry reported to the college's human resources department, but has not yet received any feedback that she has seen other cases of this type of research fraud, or any other information about the problem.

“It takes a certain amount of time to identify such articles, so it also takes more time and resources to implement the additions,” Perry says.

The mathematics professor also points out that it usually requires the reader to be well-versed in the specific subject area in order to quickly detect fraud in research articles.

However, the risk of hiring candidates who fill the entire list of publications with fake articles, I think is relatively easy to eliminate, while ensuring good quality in expert assessment and interview.

– The biggest problem can be candidates who “inflate” their list of publications and the H factor with this type of article.

Factor H is an indicator that measures publishing activity by the number of publications and citations.

Two percent is fake

Helen Ingerd, Director of the National Research Ethics Committees, has not heard of false research articles appearing in connection with the appointments.

The Investigative Committee, which deals with violations of research ethics standards, did not deal with cases related to counterfeit materials or “paper mill” products.

– At the international level, there are many studies that confirm the problem, and that an estimated 2% of the articles circulating are fake. We do not have figures on its prevalence in Norway. But there's reason to believe the situation is quite similar, says Ingerd.

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Helen Ingerd believes that the volume of fake articles in Norway is about the same as in other countries. Surveys show they make up approximately two percent.

In my country Survey from 2018 Five percent of researchers in Norway responded that they had violated good research ethics at least three times in the past five years.

After the Research Ethics Code entered into force in 2017, requirements for monitoring and detecting research fraud were tightened.

“Institutions have a legal responsibility to train and take measures to ensure ethical research practices and measures to detect research fraud,” says Ingerd.

In 2021 show one Report from the National Audit Office Research institutions have not established a system for training in research ethics. They also did not have a good enough system for detecting potential violations of recognized research ethics standards.

Unknown to UiB lease

Mathematics professor Inga Berry says she believes she is not the only one to have discovered fake essays among applicants for research positions at the university.

On the other hand, Øyvind Friet, deputy dean of research and innovation at the College of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Bahrain, says he is not aware of cases in which false articles have been detected at his college.

– I don't know that we faced this kind of challenge. But it is a problem we have to decide. Frett, who also chairs the college's integrity committee, says this case brings the issue to life.

UiB's Vice-Rector for Research, Benedict Carlsen, is also not aware of cases at the university in which false articles have been discovered, neither in recruitment cases nor in other contexts.

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Math professor Perry says she's also discovered fake essays in the past, but there haven't been many of them.

“I'm probably more interested in this now, especially when it comes to job applications,” says Carlsen, who is also UiB's integrity committee member.

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Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

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