Representatives of the Office got familiar with methodologies for the assessment of contract cheating

On 19–21 June, the Ombudswoman for Academic Ethics and Procedures Loreta Tauginienė and the Senior Specialists Kamilė Kapočiūtė and Regimantas Juras took part in the 5th International Conference “Plagiarism Across Europe and Beyond” and the 3rd International Conference  “Shaping Ethics in Academia and Society”. This year, Mykolas Romeris University arranged a joint conference attended by about 150 researchers, representatives of ministries of education and science and other interested participants from all over the world.

The Ombudswoman for Academic Ethics and Procedures gave a welcome speech to the conference participants and briefly reviewed the ethical infrastructure situation at the national level. The Ombudswoman also inquired about the possibilities of effectively enforcing Article 123 of the Code of Administrative Transgressions. This Article of the Code provides for fines for the submission of ghost-written research and study papers to higher education and research institutions, preparation, hand-over of such papers and advertising of contract cheating. Researchers and companies offering text-matching systems have introduced their solutions for facilitating the detection of contract cheating, some offering to use stylometry and others – steganography. It was also noted that regardless of the methods used to search for signs of contract cheating, it is important to provide for a term of storage of research and study papers.

The conference discussed the concepts of academic ethics. Event participants unanimously agreed that using a single plagiarism detection programme was insufficient as most of them are complementary. There is also a lack of empirical data on the extent of dishonest behaviour in academia. In response to this need, and in order to provide an objective assessment of academia’s level of understanding of academic ethics, the Office plans to monitor the state of research ethics starting next year.