September 13, 2011

Paper mill websites increase in Turkey

Çağla Pınar Tunçel - Hürriyet Daily News
Academics have decried the rise in the number of Turkish “paper mill” websites offering to write theses for students, yet company officials have defended their business, saying they are legal even as scholars warn of the ramifications.
“Our company, which is run by academics, provides translation service and ensures that the text conforms with linguistic terminology while writing the thesis,” one company official told the Hürriyet Daily News on condition of anonymity.
The official said the business was legal because his company only provided thesis “consultancy” and paid tax, but added that many other disrespectful companies were becoming involved in plagiarism as they wrote the theses.
But Bertil Emrah Odar, the dean of Koç University’s Law Department, told the Daily News that the businesses, which offer unique and personalized content, were entirely illegal and could result in the student who bought the paper becoming the subject of an investigation by either the Higher Education Board, or YÖK, or university administration.
“An academic may lose his title in the event of plagiarism,” she said. “If the person is a member of an association, for instance a doctors’ or lawyers’ association, then the group may decide to ban the person from the occupation forever.”
According to Ali Çarkoğlu, an academic at Koç University, said that even if an investigation did not result in any punishment, a scholar thought to have bought an article would likely be ostracized by the academic community.
The cost of purchasing such material ranges between 5,000 and 20,000 Turkish Liras, depending on certain criteria, such as whether the work is a Master’s or a Ph.D. theses, whether there were any surveys conducted or whether there are any foreign sources, Doğan news agency, or DHA, reported Monday.
Requests to write theses are usually rejected if there is less than eight weeks left to finish the work, while the clients are also required to transmit all interviews with thesis advisors to the consultancy businesses, according to reports.
Most writers refuse to do any work for less than 1,000 liras, or pen any theses for less than 3,000 liras. Reports indicate that many customers are attendees of private universities, while students who are employed in a job are also more likely to use such services.
Following negotiations, some 20 percent of the price is paid by the clients at the beginning of the work, while another 20 percent is paid after the draft theses are finished. The rest of the amount is paid after the work is finally completed, according to reports.
Many of the enterprises work with around 300 to 400 expert personnel who specialize in about 200 different topics, reports said.

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