The Ministry of Education discovered 12 cases of misconduct involving 10 professors in which they named their underage children or relatives as co-authors of academic research papers, after looking into 15 universities. The finding was the result of the ministry’s special inspection of research papers published by the 15, including Seoul National University (SNU).
The professors are facing disciplinary action, including dismissal. Among them is Lee Byeong-chun, a veterinary professor at SNU, who was accused of submitting a paper on which his son was listed as a co-author to help him get admitted to Kangwon National University in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province.
It’s surprising that professors have taken advantage of their status to help their children get into universities by listing them as co-authors despite not playing any role in the research. It’s also lamentable that professors representing our intellectual society have betrayed their “conscience.”
The bigger problem is that it’s not easy to penalize professors because their offenses are often detected many years after the fact. Universities make it a rule to scrap data related to admissions after keeping them for four years. Moreover, sanctions are often difficult because of the short statute of limitations on professors involved in irregularities, currently three years.
It is necessary to extend or scrap the deadline to root out such illegal practices.