European Network of Academic Integrity events in Slovenia, September 2017

Partners of the European Network of Academic Integrity (ENAI) have met in Slovenia and offered three workshops in Maribor and a conference in Ljubljana (conference video) to interested parties (13-14 September 2017). The network is currently funded as an Erasmus+ project (12 partners from 11 countries, 2016-2019) and promotes integrity in the whole academia and supports higher education institutions collaborating in academic integrity. The founding members knew from previous research that there are differences in handling plagiarism among countries. Bologna Process has enhanced student mobility, academic integrity should be at the standard level at Bologna participating institutions. ENAI will produce educational materials for higher education institutions, teachers and students, as well as a toolkit for cross-sectoral cooperation.

ENAI also follows the examples of the International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI) and the Asia Pacific Forum on Educational Integrity (APFEI). ICAI developed the Scorecard for Academic Integrity Development (SAID), together with Irene Glendinning from Coventry University. SAID enables the assessment of institutional strategies and procedures, and benchmarking with other institutions.

National accreditation should oversee academic integrity. Its importance in education and research should be acknowledged, and effective institutional strategies adopted. Students need to be educated in academic integrity early, not as late as during doctoral studies. Besides policies, infrastructure, support and proportional penalties for plagiarism are needed.

Similarity detection software reveals similarities of a text with other sources. Similar text is highlighted and percentage of similarity given. Similarity might be an indicator for plagiarism. A crosscheck by the lecturer is needed to determine whether the highlighted text is correctly cited or it is plagiarised.

A new kind of misconduct has emerged. Companies (so called essay mills) or individuals write a final work of studies as a service which the student pays and submits the work as his own (i.e., contract cheating, also called ghost writing). The Czech presenter estimates that the annual turnover of the contract cheating market in Czech Republic is more than 7 million EUR. A lecturer should recognise signs showing that work was not written by the student himself.

Open Science Slovenia infrastructure is composed of a national platform, repositories of universities, a common repository for research institutes, and other archives. Detection of content similarity is enabled for all texts, deposited into repositories (e.g., final works of studies, research publications, study literature). Legal provisions for final works of studies were adopted at universities that determine the procedures for content similarity detection.

Higher education institutions are invited to become members of ENAI. The 4th International Conference Plagiarism across Europe and Beyond: Fostering academic integrity, through consistent and transparent approaches will be held in Ephesus, Turkey, from 9 to 22 May 2018.

Mojca Kotar

Mojca Kotar, Assistant Secretary General of the University of Ljubljana in the University Office of Library Services. OpenAIRE National Open Access Desk for Slovenia.

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