Fighting Fraud Together
(June 15th, 2017) A new European network tackling scientific misconduct was launched in May. Will it be a step forward to academic integrity?
With more and more cases of scientific misconduct hitting the news, the scientific community is becoming well aware of how this could negatively impact the public’s confidence in science. Academic integrity is now a hot topic in many universities not just in Europe, but around the world, and these organisations urgently need to develop effective policies to combat these cases of misconduct. As a way to provide a place for discussion, the European Network for Academic Integrity - or ENAI for short - was officially created on 22nd May 2017.
Their objectives include ways to develop best practices in the management of academic integrity and to provide a central point of reference where these issues can be discussed. “Students’ efforts are unified all over Europe by the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS), but there is no unification from the point of view of academic integrity”, say President Tomas Foltynek and member of the Auditing Group Dita Dlabolova, as a way to explain the need for this organisation.
“There are many universities in many countries who take academic integrity seriously, have good politics or approaches. And there are many other universities, who are looking for solutions, advice or good practice. The aim of ENAI is to bring such institution together and provide them a platform for cooperation, sharing experience and learning from each other”.
ENAI is also keen to be seen as a know-how platform, where members can have access to teaching materials, guidelines for academic integrity and contact experts on these issues. Any higher education institution or any organisation engaged in education in any way can become a member, independent of size, status (private or public) and even members from outside Europe are welcome. Members get many benefits, including access to resources and online training, as well as the use of ENAI’s consultants and experts.
The highlight of their activity will be in the form of an annual conference, where participants will share good practices, discuss their issues and learn from each other. As one of their first actions, ENAI has just recently organised the 3rd International Conference “Plagiarism across Europe and beyond”, which took place only three weeks ago in Brno, Czech Republic. In addition, for those interested, next year’s conference is already set for May 2018 in Ephesus, Turkey. Overall, these conferences aim to be a forum for sharing best practices and experiences surrounding academic integrity, as well as analyse ways to prevent academic misconduct, such as detection of plagiarism and the impact of text-matching software.