Mass-produced PhDs at heart of academic fraud ‘plague’

A new study says the extraordinary scale of PhD fraud in Russia can be attributed to the reproduction of near-identical doctoral dissertations within universities, writes Jack Grove for Times Higher Education.

With more than 3,500 falsified theses identified by the anti-plagiarism group Dissernet in the past two years, PhD forgery is now an “integral part of Russia’s statehood”, rather than a “fringe phenomenon”, according to the analysis published in Higher Education in Russia and Beyond, a quarterly newsletter published by the country’s National Research University Higher School of Economics.

But its author and Dissernet’s founder Andrei Rostovtsev says that it is wrong to think about plagiarism in Russia in the same way as in Western Europe or the US. This type of fraud can be achieved when dissertations defended at one university department (for instance, sociology) are passed to another PhD candidate at another department (economics) and defended after a few words are changed, he explains.
Full report on the Times Higher Education site