Sunday, November 3, 2013

Dr. Z fights corruption and plagiarism in Russia

[I'm posting some oldish news that need documenting -- dww]
The German daily newspaper Die Welt published an article by Julia Smirnova on August 23, 2013 about "Dr. Z.", a scientist who is fighting corruption and plagiarism in Russia. A Swedish blogger reported on one of his revelations in February 2013, giving Russia today from February 22 as his source, but unfortunately no links to such an article can be found.

Andrej Zajakin, according to Smirnova, is a physicist who has lived in Spain for the past six years, doing research at the University of Santiago de Compostela. Using the pseudonym "Dr. Z.", he has been publishing extensive documentation of corruption in Russia. In February the Russian blogger Aleksej Navalnyj revealed that the politician Vladimir Pechtin had lied to voters by stating that he did not own foreign property when he actually owned a house in Florida. Pechtin was forced to step down. Navalnyj gave Zajakin as his source.

Zajakin is one of the persons behind Dissernet, a site that documents corruption and plagiarism in dissertations. The site is in Russian, but is said by Smirnova to have documented plagiarism in over 100 dissertation, including Russian politicians such as Pavel Astachov (children's rights commissioner), Olga Batalina (member of parliament), Vladimir Burmatov (member of parliament), Vladimir Gruzdev (governor of Tula Oblast), and Oleg Kowalyov (governor of Ryazan Oblast). The plagiarism documentations are linked from the page http://www.dissernet.org/expertise/ and use a similar type of documentation as is found at the German VroniPlag Wiki:
Plagiarism documentation at http://www.dissernet.org/expertise/kozlovaa2005.htm
The German online portal Spiegel online also published an interview (in German) with Andrej Rostovzev, one of the Dissernet scientists, in April 2013, in which he explains that this site is not organized as a wiki, but only permits vetted individuals to contribute to the effort. I don't speak Russian, but I would be happy to offer guest blogging privileges to anyone who would like to report on the progress being made by this group.

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