Romania’s national students’ union says that it has successfully lobbied for the introduction of mandatory academic ethics courses for master’s and doctoral students.
It has warned that plagiarism is on the rise in the Romanian education system, and there have been a string of scandals where politicians have been accused of having plagiarised PhDs.
In 2016, the National Alliance of Student Organisations in Romania drew attention to academic fraud in the country with a report that warned that the country’s academic image was being severely damaged.
It demanded harsher punishments for those caught, evaluation of doctoral schools and the end to a bizarre Romanian law that allows prisoners to shorten their sentences in return for writing scientific papers.
At the end of January, the Romanian Ministry of National Education ordered universities to introduce compulsory academic ethics and integrity courses for postgraduates for the next academic year – although they will remain optional for undergraduates.
The national students’ union is still calling for “extremely harsh sanctions” for plagiarism, as well as “institutional mechanisms to prevent and detect plagiarism through educational programmes”.
Accusations of plagiarism have become a regular fixture in Romanian politics since the journal Nature accused the then prime minster of copying part of his law doctoral thesis in 2012. He had to hand back the qualification after the University of Bucharest found him guilty of plagiarism.
The former acting prime minister was also found to have plagiarised after an investigation by a journalist.