Pro­fes­sors’ mis­con­duct

The Korea Times - - OPINION -

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.

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