Friday, October 09, 2015

Mass plagiariam of Ph.D. theses

Back in 2007, IPBiz discussed events of copying on college admission essays, with one identical "story" appearing in many essays:

The "red flag" was the appearance of hundreds of applications mentioning "burning a hole in pyjamas at age eight" working with a chemistry set.


Now, in 2015, TimesHigherEd reports on a troubling "extension" of this practice to Ph.D. theses:

Mass-production of PhDs is generally centred in Moscow and St Petersburg, where “conveyor units” were found for “PhDifying” politicians, public officials and teachers, he says.

A series of dissertations on ground beetles identified by Dissernet, all defended at the same university, also exhibited this hallmark of dissertation exchange, Professor Rostovtsev says.

Each of the PhD theses claimed to examine the various beetles found in sand dunes in the same part of Russia, but they all shared the same basic structure, standard conclusion and bibliography, he explains.

“Certainly the arthropoda of each and every dune deserve to be studied. Yet such work is nothing more than that of a research assistant who merely collects necessary specimens, therefore such dissertations are rather poor in terms of contents,” he says.


Of the text --nothing more than that of a research assistant who merely collects necessary specimens --, one ponders the significance of Ph.D. theses based simply on reporting results of surveys.


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