Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Black markets for academic work, not just for homework anymore

Inside Higher Ed lets you know where you can buy a Ph.D. dissertation...and Clarivate (which publishes the Web of Science) let's you know where you can buy co-authorship in an already accepted academic paper. And the WSJ reveals that some students complain to the Better Business Bureau about sub-par contract cheating services.

Ukraine hosts 46 firms selling ghost-written dissertations
In 2009, there were 16 firms that sold completed dissertations; in 2016, the number nearly tripled to 46 registered enterprises.
By Ararat L. Osipian

"An entire market emerged in Ukraine that offers ghost-written dissertations for a price. This market consists not only of individuals, but somewhat remarkably, also officially-registered firms. In 2009, there were 16 such firms; in 2016, the number nearly tripled with 46 registered enterprises that sell completed dissertations. Their clients lack time and knowledge, but certainly not money. Ukraine is a country with high levels of human capital but low average household incomes. This keeps dissertations reasonably priced and affordable to corrupt state bureaucrats and businesspersons. Highly educated academics earn additional income by producing dissertations for sale."

Protecting the integrity of the scientific record from a new kind of academic misconduct

"At the Web of Science Group, we pride ourselves on protecting the integrity of the scholarly record. We are champions of high editorial standards and research practices, and our global team of in-house, publisher-independent editors are experts in their subjects.  So we are ever-vigilant to trends in unethical research practices, which pose a growing threat to legitimate scholarship worldwide.  Recently, we uncovered a new trend which we think is important to bring to light for wider discussion and action.
Our team in Russia received a tip from the local research community to a new form of publication fraud. The tip led to a website,  http://123mi.ru  set up by unscrupulous operators to serve as a virtual marketplace where authors can buy or sell authorship in academic manuscripts accepted for publication. This kind of peer-to-peer sharing, in “broad daylight” is not something we’ve seen before – so we conducted a quick analysis of the site, and its data, before taking swift action to alert our friends and colleagues in the scientific community.
"The geography of transactions covers primarily the post-Soviet area (Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine), but there are authorships sold outside of that region, notably to the United Arab Emirates, China and the UK."

And then there's homework...this from the WSJ

Schools Fight Websites That Sell Homework Help
Hundreds of sites claiming to offer tutoring services are often selling completed assignments to students
By Tawnell D. Hobbs, Aug. 12, 2019 

"The practice, sometimes called contract cheating by educators, was initially targeted at students in college but has since spread to include high-school students, according to a review of websites offering the service.
"A Wall Street Journal review of 100 websites offering tutoring help or writing services, or both, found they promise custom high-school and college work. Some websites offer to run work through anti-plagiarism programs to prove it is original.
"Seventeen states outlaw selling written work to another for academic credit, said Dr. Bertram Gallant, a board member of the International Center for Academic Integrity, a consortium of academic institutions and individuals focused on integrity in academic communities. But enforcement is difficult since the location of the sites can be hard to determine, she said.

Several sites reviewed by the Journal let students put the work out for bid. “Often, customers may have two or more writers bidding on their project, so before selecting a writer, customers can check the different writers’ ratings and reviews,” said Avery Morgan, spokesman for a site called EduBirdie that launched in 2015 and specializes in essay writing.
"Students unhappy with cheating websites cite missed deadlines and subpar work, according to complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau and online reviews. Some students also allege that tutors demanded more money than agreed upon and made threats."

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