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[Opinion] Professor vs. Plagiarists

Posted August. 03, 2006 03:05,   


A professor of a university in Seoul who taught nearly 30 years sent an e-mail to his acquaintance, a reporter from Dong-A Ilbo. The reporter shared the e-mail, thinking it was worth reading for anybody. It said: “I was aware that some immoral professors publish the same article twice in different magazines and plagiarize students’ papers. But I did not think that this practice was authorized as the norm in academics. I thought such unethical professors never sleep well in fear of being caught.”

Kim Byong-joon argued, regarding his misconduct of paper plagiarism and republishing of the same work, “With the standards that the media use, no professors can be appointed Minister of Education.” On this remark, the professor said in his e-mail “It is equivalent to defamation for professors who have never even imagined of committing such fraud.” He went on to say that “Kim should be brought to account. He claims he had apologized. Yet if there was misconduct that requires apology, there should be atonement. He keeps saying he is not responsible for this because his assistant teacher and clerk did the work. Then what does ‘the person in charge’ need to apologize for? How irresponsible is he? If everything is done as Kim did, social science cannot be recognized as a discipline. Scholars who regard plagiarizing students’ works as filing for a bankruptcy feel the stunt occurred in a totally different world,” said the professor. The professor described Kim shameless and said the academia dubbed Kim as brazen-faced.

In regard to granting a doctorate to a district chief who placed a hundred-million-won research order, Kim said before the education committee “I received the research order not from the chief of Seongbuk District but from Seongbuk District office.” If his logic works, a doctorate is granted from the university, thereby a professor does not need to explain that. Representatives of the ruling and opposition parties were even more pathetic since they were unable to take issue with Kim’s absurd remark during the committee meeting. Kim said as if he is the victim of misinformation of the media. Yet, the intellectuals like the one who sent the e-mail perceive the absurd.

Hwang Ho-taek, Editorial Writer, hthwang@donga.com