21 March 2019

South Africa: NWU Finds Evidence of Plagiarism Against Two Staff Members, Ten Let Off the Hook

Two staff members at North West University (NWU) have been implicated in a prima facie case of plagiarism and misrepresentation.

The two have been instructed to refund the institution for fees paid for the publication of the implicated article.

This comes after an anonymous group accused 21 academics (staff as well as former staff members) within the institution of plagiarism.

In a 14-page letter, the group called on the university to reveal the details of an investigation into a plagiarism probe, asking for, among others, the names of any academics who may have been found guilty of wrongdoing, News 24 earlier reported.

"On May 10, 2017, the North West University received allegations of plagiarism against some of its academics from the Council on Higher Education (CHE).

"These allegations were viewed in a very serious light, especially when media articles were published in July of the same year that implicated other members of staff than those the university became aware of through the CHE," Director of Corporate Communications Louis Jacobs said in a statement on Wednesday.

The university did not find prima facie evidence of plagiarism against ten persons still employed by NWU.

A total of five other staff members were found guilty of misconduct. This investigation, however, still needs to be extended.

"Owing to the fact that the technical report pointed to alleged networks of possible academic collaboration among groups of researchers, the panel advised that the technical investigation be extended.

"The follow-up technical investigation has been concluded and would now be made available to the subject-matter expert team that would need to consider the report and would report accordingly to the external review panel," Jacobs explained.

The institution also found evidence against another implicated staff member, which pointed to plagiarism and falsification relating to an article written before the staff member's employment at the institution.

"Against the background of the preceding, the panel advised the vice-chancellor to note the evidence. The executive dean who reported the case has been informed of the advice by the external review panel," Jacobs added.

The university says there was evidence against three remaining people, who have since left the institution, relating to academic misconduct, including plagiarism.

"If proven true, the involved parties will be dealt with in accordance with university disciplinary measures.

"Council also extended its appreciation to management for the rigour displayed in handling the matter," Jacobs concluded.

Source: News24

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