Emilia ŞERCAN of University of Bucharest, (Faculty of Journalism and Communications Sciences, Department of Journalism), was confirmed as the winner of the 2019 award for services to Academic Integrity, conferred by the European Network for Academic Integrity (ENAI).
The award was announced on Wednesday 20th June 2019 at the Conference Plagiarism across Europe and Beyond, hosted by Mykolas Romeris University, Vilnius, Lithuania.
Emilia’s nomination triumphed, despite a strong field of 5 other nominees, because of her exceptional track record in successfully challenging corruption in higher education in Romania.
The other five candidates for the award were Dr Gabor Lazlo from National University of Public Servicces in Hungary, Dr Zeenath Khan and her colleague Dr Sabiha Mumtaz from University of Wollangong in Dubai, Dr Karl-Gerhard Strassl and Dr Martina Baraville from The University of Music and the Performing Arts in Vienna, Austria.
According to Julius Kravjar (of the Slovak Centre of Scientific and Technical Information in Bratislava, Slovakia), “her fearless, steady and unceasing fight against academic misconduct in Romania” was ample justification for her nomination. The impact of her activities as both journalist, author and academic exposed malpractice including nepotism and plagiarism in doctoral education. Among her reports was the news that 20 high-ranking public figures in Romania had been granted PhD awards based on plagiarised theses. Her revelations have led to positive changes nationally in the way PhDs are managed, from admissions policy to supervision and defence of the thesis.
Emilia’s book FABRICA DE DOCTORATE sau Cum se surpa fundamentele unei natii (2017, ISBN 978-973-50-5776-3, 210 pages, In English: DOCTORAL FACTORY or How to Destroy Fundamentals of a Nation) analyses and investigates the higher education sector in Romania.
– The 20 cases of plagiarism in PhD theses included a vice prime-minister, two ministers of Education, a minister oh Heath, a minister of Interior, a minister of Defense, the deputy general attorney of Romania, the chief of the General Anticorruption Directorate, the Head of Legal Department of the Romanian Intelligence Service, the Head of the Judicial Inspection, a prime minister adviser, members of the Romanian Parliament, prosecutors, judges, police officers, top civil servants.
Her investigations resulted in a many positive changes in Romania:
– Doctoral legislation has changed, becoming much stricter – the criteria for enrolling to doctoral studies have changed and the criteria for defending the doctoral theses have changed;
– The national committee for checking plagiarism allegations in doctoral theses (CNATDCU) was re-established in 2016 (abolished in 2012);
– More than 10 doctoral titles were withdrawn by CNATDCU;
– Tens of doctoral dissertations were rejected from all Romanian universities for poor quality (before 2010 – 2015 no doctoral thesis was rejected);
– The number of people who have obtained doctoral degrees has fallen by half in the last three years compared to 2015;
– Mandatory academic integrity courses have been introduced in all Romanian universities starting with 2018 academic year by the Minister of Education’s decision
Please contact Irene Glendinning, the vice-president of the ENAI Board (Ireneg@coventry.ac.uk) for more details about the award.
Details about Emilia can be found here: https://www.fjsc.unibuc.ro/cadre-didactice/emilia-sercan