April 28, 2010

Tokyo Univ. to crack down on plagiarism in theses

The University of Tokyo will overhaul its thesis examination process and throw the book at anyone found to have plagiarized other people's work, according to the university president.
The tighter screening and tougher penalties come after the university last month effectively dismissed a Turkish assistant professor and revoked his doctorate after finding he had falsified his academic credentials and plagiarized major portions of his doctoral thesis.
The university had never previously revoked a doctorate degree it had conferred.
University President Junichi Hamada told The Yomiuri Shimbun that the university had simplified its screening and background checks of people applying for degrees in recent years.
"This is an unbelievable situation. We'll pinpoint where the problem lies and make the results of our review public," he said.
The university has established an investigation committee and is questioning teachers and officials who screened the researcher's thesis about their examination of his academic record and thesis.
On March 2, the university revoked the doctorate in engineering that had been conferred in March 2003 to Serkan Anilir, an assistant professor at the Graduate School of Engineering.
Anilir, 37, had plagiarized about 40 percent of the data and other parts of his thesis, according to the university.
Anilir also had falsely claimed to have graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology in the United States and Istanbul Technical University in Turkey.
According to the university, Anilir admitted in February that he had plagiarized theses.
He was given the equivalent of a disciplinary dismissal.
A woman who had been Anilir's manager told The Yomiuri Shimbun that he has returned to Turkey. She declined to comment further.

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