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Head of State-run Agency Copies Articles

Posted January. 31, 2007 07:09,   


On January 29, Dong-A Ilbo’s headquarters received a phone call reporting that an essay similar to one of Dong-A Ilbo’s columns was shown in another newspaper: “Science of Currency” in an Korean economic daily. The essay introduces a foreign currency depicting the portrait of a famous scientist and appreciates the Korean 10,000 bill featuring “Hon-Cheon-Ui,” an astrological device of the Joseon Dynasty on the back of the note.


The essay was posted on the A35 side of the economic daily’s January 26, 2007 issue. Its introduction is the same as this newspaper’s column on the A 35 side, December 27, 2006 issue: “Let’s print a portrait of our scientists in our new currency under ‘Science World’ section.” The column’s 11th sentence was the same: “Many European countries created currencies printed with scientists’ portraits to show their respect after they had felt their great contribution to national development.” In the essay in question, “guk-ga (country in English)” was changed into “guk-ga-dl (countries in English)” and “felt” into “recognized.” In this way, the first five sentences were exactly the same.

Moreover, it copied five sentences from “Park Seok-jae’s Story of Astronomy” from the JoongAng Daily columns (September 9, 2006 issue), two sentences from a Yonhap news article (January 18, 2007 issue), and seven sentences from “National Affairs’ Briefing” (November 9, 2004) in Government Information Agency (GIA) portal site.

Compared to original writings, the 23-sentence essay has 20 sentences that are nearly identical to this newspaper’s column and other articles. Only three sentences are unseen in other articles, which mean 130 out of 1,300 characters.


The essay was written by Yoo Hee-yeol, chairman of the Korea Research Council of Fundamental Science & Technology (KRCF), a ministry-level position. According to people involved, Yoo had drafted the writing when he was the head of Korea Institute of Science & Technology Evaluation and Planning (KISTEP) before he took office in KRCF on December 24, 2006.

He sent the printed draft to a team leader and ordered him to finalize it. The leader said, “I just put several sentences of Dong-A’s column into the draft’s intro. I don’t know how the rest of them contain the same lines from other articles.”

Yoo said in a telephone call with a Dong-A reporter on Tuesday, “I wrote the intro. Regarding the end of the essay, I referenced data from a person who has a better knowledge on astronomy than me.” When asked about whether another person wrote the intro, Yoo changed his words, saying, “I wrote the intro after consulting with my staff.

Who is Yoo Hee-yeol?-

He worked in the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), headed the National Science Museum (from April 1996 to March 1998), and served as deputy minister of MOST (from April 2001 to July 2002).

He was referred as a candidate for the minister of MOST after he had served as a special policy advisor for Roh Moo-hyun’s presidential campaign in 2002.

KRCF was under the presidential National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), which was founded in 1999. KRCF oversees five state-run research institutes of science and technology including the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST).