Thursday, June 10, 2021

ECAIP 2021 - Day 2

European Conference on Academic Integrity and Plagiarism 2021

Day 0 - Day 1 - Day 2 - Day 3 

Ready to get started on Day 2!

Today's keynote is by Erika Löfström (University of Helsinki): Supervision as an arena for teaching and learning academic integrity and research ethics.

The focus is on PhD supervision, and it is important to see that there is a difference between academic integrity and research ethics. She is using "supervision ethics", although there is also ethics in it.  Supervision is an activity nested in the research community, it is rooted within various contexts of a scholarly community - teaching about how to do research, learning how to do research. In a supervisory relationship, PhD students learn disciplinary traditions, practices, cultures and norma, including ethical codes, norms and practices of how the research community deals with ethical issues (Kitchener, 1992). 

What are the challenges? The supervisor has a variety of role expectaions to juggle, they have to deal with the difference between the professional and the personal relationship. A supervisor is a person with power, how available are they? How hard to they push? Do students become overly reliant on their supervisor?

There are many ethical tensions that arise: distance vs. approchability, having a relationship but not too deep and private, needs of the group vs. of the individual, direct instruction vs. the student's independence. This relationship develops the ethical awareness and ethical problem-solving skills in the student. [I suppose this is just like children learning from their parents, and in Germany the supervisors are called Doktorvater or Doktormutter.] 

Different supervisor profiles for teaching academic integrity: Some supervisors teach rules and values, some are the gatekeepers who make it easy for students to do the "right thing", some are social reformers, others emphasise sutdent responsibility, and some are skill builders.

There are ethical issues in supervision that may become ethical problems: inadequate supervision, abandonment, intrusion of supervisor views and values, abuse, exploitation, dual relationships, encouragement to fraud, authorship issues. Kitchener's ethical principles in research: Respect for autonomy, doing no harm, benefitting others, being just (being fair and objective), being faithful (keeping promises, being honest and truthful). They found instances of problems with these principles described by PhD students in both the natural and the behavioral scienced.

They found wide differences between supervisors and PhD students in their experience of ethics issues (Erika Löfström & Kirsi Pyhältö, Ethics in the supervisory relationship, 2017, Studies in Higher Education).

Her message: Ethics of supervision contributes to the doctoral students' learning environment. There are systematic issues, however, those problems can only be solved on another level. 

I chaired the next session, so no time to comment on it. Presentations were from:

  • Developing a centralised online case management system to support academic integrity breaches at an Australian university, by Andrew Kelly & Diane Ingram
  • Ethical and privacy considerations of the marketing tactics used by some academic assignment providers: a case-study, by Robin Crockett & Rachel Maxwell
Andrew spoke about the centralized system his university has developed [I want this for my university!], Robin presented some absolutely shocking screenshots of paper mills approaching students looking for customers and misrepresenting what they are offering.

The next session I attended was a workshop by my colleagues Dita Henek Dlabolová & Tomáš Foltýnek on "Interpreting text-matching software similarity reports". She noted before the start that the workshop was intended to be for newcomers, and here were so many experts on the topic showing up. That chased a few people off :)  They first presented our recent work in the ENAI TeStoP group, published online. They put together two reports, not from a specific system but combining elements of many, and sneaking quite a lot of issues that arise in reports into them. The reports sport the same value, but the question is: which one is plagiarism and how did you determine it? There were very well constructed to provide lots of talking points, and talk we did!

Thomas Lancaster & Benjamin Dent were next on my list, speaking about "Academic Ghost Writing and Contract Cheating Provision Observed on a Freelancing Website." Ben had hoped to be there, but was unable to attend, so Thomas presented. He started with a current newspaper article from the Birmingham Post about  Dr. Elizabeth Hall, who ran an essay mill for years. Thomas published his first paper on contract cheating 15 years ago together with Robert Clarke. Thomas and Ben collected data from a freelancing site over a few years and did a bit of machine learning advanced statistics on it, looking for how many offers were made, average price, etc. Thomas theorizes that some essay mills are themselves outsourcing writing the paper to OTHER essay mills! The requests for help came mostly from India, US, UK. The bid winners came from Kenya, Pakistan, and India. Ghostwriting is called "academic writing" in Kenya and is considered respectable work. They gathered statistics on all sorts of aspects of the work, the topic, the kind of work, the prices, etc. Some customers even recorded the audio feedback given by the supervisor and sent it on to the "freelancer" to be incorporated into the next version!

I had to take a university meeting during lunch, so I didn't hear the lunch talks.

After lunch Inga Gaižauskaitė coordinated a panel on "Academic integrity in Secondary education". Panel members were Charlotta Rönn (Sweden), Mustafa Yunus Eryaman (Turkey), Brenda M. Stoesz (Canada), Vilda Kiaunytė (Lithuania), Zeenath Reza Khan (UAE). Zeenath noted that some friends of her children have their parents helping them. Brenda noted that she has heard from so many professors that found their first-year students without skills in good academic practice. She has also seen targeted ads in school-age children for contract cheating, who do not know how to deal with them.  Charlotta learned from ninth-graders how they were forming groups on social media to work on material that was supposed to be individual assessments. The pupils noted that they started this in the sixth grade, the first year they are formally graded in Sweden. This is a generation that grew up sharing on the Internet! Mustafa is specialized on evidence-based research about K-12 issues of academic integrity. This field has grown quite fast. Many pupils believe cheating is the norm, that they must cheat to succeed. Up to 95% of pupils have admitted to cheating at least once. Vildas laptop died on her :( so she was unable to speak.

Zeenath noted that the parents have to be educated as to what their role should and should not be. Charlotta notes that the curriculum designers were probably not aware of how much work is going on outside of school. Brenda says that administrators, teachers, and parents need to be involved. 

I then needed to interrupt my attention to deal with the news rushing in that the former German Minister for the Family, Franziska Giffey, has had her doctorate revoked by the FU Berlin on the grounds of plagiarism. This is the second round, the first time they evaluated it, only a reprimand was given. Giffey stepped down as minister a few weeks ago, apparently because she saw this coming. Some journalists needed fresh quotations, although they have been collecting them for weeks.

Next session was Anna Abalkina from the FU Berlin on "Do hijacked journals attract dishonest authors?" She wished to open a discussion about hijacked journals. They mimic legitimate journals and copy their metadata (ISSN, titel) to cheat potential authors. They collect fees via a cloned, alternative web site. It is a million dollar business that exploits the open access model. She has identified more than 200 cases during the last 10 years, but the lists are not updated and many have managed to work their way into the Scopus (and other) scientometric databases.

Sometimes the web sites of journals are hijacked and many papers "published" on that site. This can sometimes be seen in a 10-fold growth in the number of papers from one year to the next. She found 7 such journals on Scopus just in the past week. There are many similarities to predatory journals, but also a few differences in the area of intellectual property rights. Publishing in a hijacked journal is not considered to be published. She has even seen the same paper published by different authors in different hijacked journals. She looked for plagiarism in articles published in hijacked journals. She used Urkund, but manually checked the text similarities. (There were a lot of false positives). She is currently finished with about 60 % of the data. Various types of plagiarism have been found. For example, 41 % of all papers attributed to Usbekistan were found to be non-authentic. 

Clara Locher (University of Rennes, France) then spoke on work she did with Alexandre Scanff, Florian Naudet, Ioana Cristea, David Moher,  & Dorothy V M Bishop on: ‘Nepotistic journals’: a survey of biomedical journals. She reported on the Didier Raoult controversy about the hydroxychloroquine study. The focus is not on the study itself, but on the peer-review process. In this study, one of the authors is editor-in-chief of the journal that published the paper. [Ah, I saw a lot of that studying plagiarism in medical publications. Glad to have a good name for it!]. They found a few others with short acceptance times that included authors who are editors or editors-in-chief for the journals that published the papers. In one journal they found around 33 % of all published articles including at least one editor amongst the authors. Drilling down they found a number of journals for which the most prolific author is on the editorial board. The goal is probably to game productivity-based metrics, which itself affects promotion, tenure, and grant funding. PPMP: Percentage of papers by most prolific author. The publication lag is interesting to look at, as the most prolific author often publishes faster than other authors. And these authors have a higher H-index. 25 of the 60 most prolific authors were even editors-in-chief!

Iosif Peterfi spoke about 'Blockchain based “Proof of eXecution”'. In my opinion, anything that states that is uses "blockchain" doesn't actually need it, so I was curious as to what this was supposed to be. He used a lot of the very short time available with a Mentimeter getting the audience of 8 persons to find words to define 'decentralization' and 'blockchain'. The rest was basically advertising for his company (which I won't name here) and had very little to do with academic integrity, although he did use the term occasionally. 

I stuck around for Julia Priess-Buchheit & Marie Alavi speaking on "Do students transitioning to university justify their scientific practice in a different way than established students at universities? A quantitative study on justification patterns in research integrity", from the path2integrity group at the Coburg University. Do students at higher university level use more "Scientific Common Sense" (SCS) when justifying their scientific practice than students transitioning into higher education institutions?  They had 614 participants, but found no markable difference between students transitioning and established students. They justified their own or others scientific practice very similarly. Established students are, however, more confident when justifying with SCS.

In the evening we had a gala dinner with another pub quiz, awards for the best hat, best dress, best food, and then the ENAI awards. I am so honored to be awarded the activism award! And Teddi Fishman was given the Tracey Bretag Award, so very, very fitting. I hope to have a list of all the awards tomorrow, I'm terribly tired and heading for bed.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please note that I moderate comments. Any comments that I consider unscientific will not be published.