Bloggers said that teaching ethics and having authorities act on plagerised materials will help stop the growing problem.
By Bedrana Kaletovic for Southeast European Times in Sarajevo -- 23/03/13
The law calls for those who obtain degrees by plagiarism to be stripped of their academic credentials and face criminal charges. [Bedrana Kaletovic/SETimes]
Experts said that attaining academic degrees by means pf plagiarism, and subsequently receiving employment and promotions, has increased in the Balkans, but the problem has not been adequately addressed.
"Fact is, there is more plagiarism and copy-paste production of scientific works. A direct byproduct is academic hyperinflation -- a higher number of master's and doctorate graduates, which lessens the quality of the scientific community and the environment in a broader sense," Sejn Husejnefendic, assistant at the philosophical faculty in Tuzla, told SETimes.
Croatia, Serbia, BiH and Montenegro have dozens of univeristies and faculties to educate students in multiple languages.
"This means that somebody can take a work published in Croatian or Serbian several years ago, adapt it to the rules of own language, change the title or maybe a few parts and that would be enough, an instant master's or doctor's work," Hujenefendic said.
Bloggers said they are aware of numerous cases of plagiarism and those who engage in it often obtain employment in a city other than their own to reduce the chance of being disvcovered.
"It is a deep, horrible and shameless fact that books and [scientific] works are being published without an independant, multifaceted, often anonimous, recension. You just go to a right place, pay and print out," Natasha said.
"But the main reason for the disruption in scientific development in every regional country is not a problem of plagiarism but of financing and investment in higher education," Imenjak said.
Most bloggers, however, said plagiarism should be treated as any other form of theft, though they recognise the pressure of modern life to satisfy requirements and obtain employment.
"In the 21st century, an intellectual is a person with a doctoral degree, one who speaks two world languages and has references of worldly published materials. But a person [can pretend to] analyse and criticise an issue with which they have nothing to do with. Only here can such individuals get promoted directly from being a farmer to a professor," Mustafa – Bato said.
Referring to a November 2012 case at Croatia's Police Academy in Zagreb where authorities investigated two instructors suspected of assisting with the plagiarism of 26 thesis papers, Antun urged governments to teach the public ethics as a societal baseline of conduct.
"My parents always taught me to be honest and to not lie. Today, I see that the graduate receives the copy and it is [not considered] immoral," Antun said.
Society must begin sanctioning plagiarism as called for by the law, according to Enes Osmancevic, professor of communication at the University of Tuzla.
"Unfortunately, the existing programmes by which plagiarism can be identified are not used, nor do authorities act when a possible plagiarised work is pointed out," Osmancevic told SETimes.