Romania: reform could lead to more academic plagiarism
In Romania, a bill presented to parliament by the country's new government has sparked outrage. Under the draft law the National Council for the Accreditation of Academic Degrees (CNATDCU) is to be dissolved and civil liability for plagiarism is to expire after three years. The Romanian press is convinced that the controversial reform proposals are motivated by the plagiarism accusations against Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă.
Flouting principles to cling to power
In a commentary on Deutsche Welle's Romanian service, journalist Sabina Fati says:
“The prime minister has allowed the law granting amnesty to plagiarists to go through. He is willing to torpedo all the key pillars of the state to save his own skin. He has no problem betraying the principles he should be defending, and he is surrounded by an army of politicians, officials and military officers who keep him in line. Little does he know that if he loses power, these same people will drop him like a hot potato. Which is not to say that he will have to pay for his plagiarism, for interfering with the judiciary, or for making a mockery of his own career.”
We will all become potential thieves
Spotmedia is concerned about the consequences for academia:
“A general amnesty on plagiarism in academic texts would raise the warranted if unjustified suspicion that all academic work in Romania is plagiarised. To save the one, two, three or however many people it is who need saving an entire country will have to pay with their correctness and honour: university professors, lecturers, students who didn't leave the country after leaving school. We will all be seen as potential thieves, and a crime that can potentially go unpunished here will be treated in Western academic circles as what it is: intellectual property theft.”