Pre-conference webinars

Pre-conference workshops are open to anyone free of charge. Both workshops will be simultaneously translated to Russian

Policies to Address Contract Cheating

Presenters

    Sonja Bjelobaba, Centre for Research Ethics & Bioethics, Uppsala University, Sweden,
  • Thomas Lancaster, Department of Computing, Imperial College London,
  • Irene Glendinning, Office of Teaching and Learning, Coventry University,
  • Deirdre Stritch, Manager for Provider QA Approval and Monitoring at QQI,
  • Zeenath Reza Khan, Centre for Academic Integrity in the UAE and University of Wollongong in Dubai, UAE.

Zoom meeting

Abstract

Contract cheating (Clarke & Lancaster 2006; Lancaster & Clarke, 2016) represents a major threat to the academic integrity of higher education. Many solutions to contract cheating have been proposed, including legal, technological and pedagogical interventions. An area that is underexplored in the academic literature is the importance of university policies as part of the contract cheating debate.
The proposed session will be run as a panel, with the panelists discussing the type of policies in place to address contract cheating that they are aware of, as well as the need for continuing development of policies to account for emerging contract cheating developments and threats to academic integrity. The panelists are all members of the ENAI Addressing Contract Cheating working group, bringing with them a wide range of different perspectives, including at institutional and national level. The role of wider quality assurance bodies is also represented.
The ENAI working group so far has identified that policies for addressing contract cheating differ greatly across the sector. Some institutions do not yet appear to have policies about this at all. In some cases, this is covered as part of wider policy relating to academic misconduct. The panelists will help to present a picture of how this issue is approached across Europe and beyond, providing guidance that delegates can take back to their own institutions.
Of particular interest to delegates will be a discussion of emerging developments in this space. Some of these have not yet been widely integrated into university policies, but the panelists will share examples from their own experience and research. These include the issue of how institutions could react if they are notified that students are contract cheating, for example by a disgruntled writer. Another instance asks how we can best deal with the situation where a student says they are at risk of blackmail. Should this be used solely as an opportunity to introduce sanctions or is it better to ensure that the student is protected and supported? At what stage does external proofreading become contract cheating and how should university policies address this? Yet a further source of concern surrounds undercover work by some faculty who approach students on social media, inviting them to buy assignments and then reporting them for misconduct. To what extent should such work be considered as detection and where does this cross a line?
Ideally, institutions should develop a strategic approach for instilling a culture of academic integrity across their whole community (Bretag & Mahmud, 2016). The panel aims to provide guidance and engage delegates in discussing ways to develop associated policies and procedures, to encourage more consistency of approaches across the higher education sector globally.

Reference list

Bretag, T., & Mahmud, S. (2016). A Conceptual Framework for Implementing Exemplary Academic Integrity Policy in Australian Higher Education. In T. Bretag (Ed.), Handbook of academic integrity. Singapore: Springer Singapore. pp. 463-480
Clarke, R. & Lancaster, T. (2006). Eliminating the successor to plagiarism? Identifying the usage of contract cheating sites. In: Proceedings of 2nd plagiarism: Prevention, Practice and Policy Conference 2006. Newcastle, UK: JISC Plagiarism Advisory Service
Lancaster, T., & Clarke, R. (2016). Contract cheating: The outsourcing of assessed student work. In T. Bretag (Ed.), Handbook of academic integrity. Singapore: Springer Singapore. pp. 639-654

Publication and research integrity: Does it matter where you publish your research?

Workshop organisers

  • Irene Glendinning, Coventry University, UK
  • Salim Razi, Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Turkey
  • Sonja Bjelobaba, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • Shiva Sivasubramaniam, University of Derby, UK
  • Milan Ojstersek, University of Maribor, Slovenia

Zoom meeting

Abstract

The content of this workshop has high relevance to anyone involved in academic research and publishing. Despite several recent publications with excellent guidance aimed at students (Eaton 2018), academics, researchers and publishers (Binning et al., 2018; COPE, 2017, 2019; Moher et al., 2017a), the vast industry of academic publishers, journals, conferences and events that are either fraudulent or of questionable value and quality, continues to thrive and proliferate (Macháček & Srholec, 2021).
In the dual interests of both caution and convenience we will use the abbreviation PPJs+ (potentially predatory journals plus) in this abstract to encompass all aspects of this phenomenon.
Some of the researchers who publish in and disseminate through PPJs+ do so knowingly, as a speedy way to boost their publication count, typically to satisfy perverse incentives for promotion, to qualify for a bonus (Moher et al., 2017b; Rui, 2015) or to remain in their current precarious teaching job (Glendinning et al., 2018). However, many students and researchers, and both experienced and inexperienced academics, make use of PPJs without appreciating the full implications (Sanders, 2021). Sanders highlights that those with limited understanding have no idea how to recognise a PPJ, nor do they understand the risks to themselves and others from patronising them. Indeed, despite the popularity of some PPJ blacklists (such as Beall’s list [2021] and Cabells Predatory Report), it is well understood that, for various reasons, no blacklist can include all PPJs (e.g., emergence of new PPJ+, disagreements about how to categorise). Conversely, white lists are also problematic as many journals with questionable publishing practices are included in reputable citation indexes, such as Scopus or even Web of Science.
To be clear, the risks from PPJs+ include, but are not confined to: diverting public funds into the pockets of unscrupulous fraudsters, damaging individual and institutional reputations by claiming credit for publications in discredited journals, waste of personal effort and research by publishing in a journal that is poorly curated and inaccessible to other researchers, devaluing public trust in science if a research paper is not adequately peer reviewed, misleading other researchers attempting to build on unreproducible or fake results. However, a word of caution is in order here, it must be noted that some of the points listed in the previous sentence can also apply to papers published in highly ranking reputable journals.
It is well understood, including from recent analysis conducted by Macháček and Srholec (2021), that publishing in PPJs+ and citation of articles published in PPJs+ are more prevalent in some countries, such as Balkan countries, Russia, Italy, China, India (Abalkina 2021; Glendinning et al., 2018; Moher et al., 2017b), than in others. However, this is a truly global problem, no country is immune, therefore helping to address PPJs+ is the responsibility of everyone involved in academic research.
It is clear that more needs to be done to stem the high demand for such services. The most obvious first step is to raise awareness, starting with people already interested in and committed to academic and research integrity. Accordingly, the ENAI working group IN_A_DIP (Integrity in academic dissemination and publishing) is focused on improving understanding of this phenomenon by designing materials and running workshops to highlight this phenomenon and the dangers and consequences to research and academic publishing globally.
This workshop will introduce the ENAI working group IN_A_DIP and the focus of its work. Links to useful materials will be provided that are available for free. Practical examples of how PPJs+ operate, deceive and market their services will be used to highlight how to distinguish between genuine and disreputable services.
This is a vast subject area, so we will not have time to cover everything of interest, but we will try to leave participants with something they can directly use for their own benefit or teach to their students. The expectation is that what is learnt from this workshop will spark an interest in finding out more.

Reference list

Abalkina, A. (2021, Feb 4). Unethical practices in research and publishing: Evidence from Russia. The Scholarly Kitchen. https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2021/02/04/guest-post-unethical-practices-in-research-and-publishing-evidence-from-russia/?informz=1
Beall’s List. (2021, Feb 5). Beall’s list of potential predatory journals and publishers. https://beallslist.net/
Binning, S. A., Jutfelt, F., & Sundin, J. (2018). Exorcise citations to the ‘living dead’ from the literature. Nature, 558, 189. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-05386-5
Cabells. (n.d.). Predatory reports. https://www2.cabells.com/about-predatory
COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics). (2019, Nov). Discussion document: Predatory Publishing. https://doi.org/10.24318/cope.2019.3.6
Eaton, S. (2018). Avoiding predatory journals and questionable conferences: A Resource Guide, University of Calgary. https://cutt.ly/Zl2Rl5R
Glendinning, I., Orim, S., King, A. (2019). Policies and Actions of Accreditation and Quality Assurance Bodies to Counter Corruption in Higher Education, published by CHEA / CIQG 2019. Executive summary, full report: https://www.chea.org/quality-assurance-combatting-academic-corruption-resources
Macháček, V., & Srholec, M. (2021). Predatory publishing in Scopus: Evidence on cross-country differences. Scientometrics. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-020-03852-4
Moher, D., Galipeau, J., Alam, S. et al. (2017a). Core competencies for scientific editors of biomedical journals: Consensus statement. BMC Med 15( 167) https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-017-0927-0
Moher, D., Shamseer, L., Cobey, K. D., Lalu, M. M., & et al. (with 30 authors). (2017b). Stop this waste of people, animals and money. Nature, 549, 23-25. https://www.nature.com/news/stop-this-waste-of-people-animals-and-money-1.22554
Sanders, D. A. (2021, Feb 3). We must clear out the rubbish fouling up the scientific pipeline. Times Higher Education. https://www.timeshighereducation.com/blog/we-must-clear-out-rubbish-fouling-scientific-pipeline

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