June 20th, 2019, University of Bucharest Journalism Dept. Lecturer and journalist Emilia ŞERCAN won the European Network for Academic Integrity's (ENAI) award for her work dealing with Academic Integrity.
The award was announced at Mykolas Romeris University (MRU) in Vilnius during the Conference Plagiarism Across Europe and Beyond, hosted by MRU. There were 5 other nominees.
The other 5 candidates were: Dr. Gabor Lazlo from National University of Public Servicces in Hungary; Dr Zeenath Khan and her colleague Dr Sabiha Mumtaz from the University of Wollangong in Dubai; Dr Karl-Gerhard Strassl and Dr Martina Baraville from The University of Music and the Performing Arts in Vienna, Austria.
According to Dr. Julius Kravjar (of the Slovak Centre of Scientific and Technical Information in Bratislava, Slovakia), “her fearless, steady and unceasing fight against academic misconduct in Romania” was ample justification for her nomination. The impact of her activities as both journalist, author and academic exposed malpractice including nepotism and plagiarism in doctoral education. Among her reports was the news that 20 high-ranking public figures in Romania had been granted PhD awards based on plagiarised theses. Her revelations have led to positive changes nationally in the way PhDs are managed, from admissions policy to supervision and defence of the thesis.
Emilia Servan’s book, FABRICA DE DOCTORATE sau Cum se surpa fundamentele uni has been published (2017, ISBN 978-973-50-5776-3, 210 pgs.) In English it is called DOCTORAL FACTORY or How to Destroy Fundamentals of a Nation and analyses and investigates the higher education sector in Romania.
The 20 cases of plagiarism in PhD theses included a vice prime-minister, two ministers of Education, a minister oh Heath, a minister of Interior, a minister of Defense, the deputy general attorney of Romania, the chief of the General Anticorruption Directorate, the Head of Legal Department of the Romanian Intelligence Service, the Head of the Judicial Inspection, a prime minister adviser, members of the Romanian Parliament, prosecutors, judges, police officers, top civil servants.
Her investigations resulted in a many positive changes in Romania:
– Doctoral legislation has changed, becoming much stricter – the criteria for enrolling to doctoral studies have changed and the criteria for defending the doctoral theses have changed;
– The national committee for checking plagiarism allegations in doctoral theses (CNATDCU) was re-established in 2016 (abolished in 2012);
– More than 10 doctoral titles were withdrawn by CNATDCU;
– Tens of doctoral dissertations were rejected from all Romanian universities for poor quality (before 2010 – 2015 no doctoral thesis was rejected);
– The number of people who have obtained doctoral degrees has fallen by half in the last three years compared to 2015;
– Mandatory academic integrity courses have been introduced in all Romanian universities starting with 2018 academic year by decision of the Minister of Education.
For more info, contact Irene Glendinning, the vice-president of the ENAI Board (Ireneg@coventry.ac.uk).
Details about Emilia can be found here: http://www.fjsc.unibuc.ro/cadre-didactice/emilia-sercan