Romania’s new government was thrown into turmoil last week after its education and research minister, Ioan Mang, was accused of extensive plagiarism in at least eight of his academic papers.
The allegations first began circulating on 7 May, just hours after Prime Minister Victor Ponta, a Social Democrat, announced the appointment of Mang and other ministers of the new government. Last week, former prime minister Emil Boc, of the Democratic Liberals, called for Mang’s resignation, dramatically waving the allegedly plagiarized articles and the original papers in front of television cameras.
The scandal has dismayed many Romanian scientists, who are already nervous that the incoming centre-left coalition government might reverse some of the energizing reforms that were introduced by the previous centre-right coalition to improve the country’s sluggish research system.
The radical education and research laws approved last year were designed to introduce competition for positions and research funds, and to eliminate endemic nepotism and other corrupt practices in Romanian academia (see Nature 469, 142–143; 2011). That government also passed a new anti-plagiarism law, which created a Research Ethics Council comprising high-ranking scientists selected by the research minister, and stated that any academic found guilty of such misconduct would automatically lose their job. >>>