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In Nigeria, a battle against academic plagiarism heats up

[Source : http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/06/nigeria-battle-against-academic-plagiarism-heats]

Six years ago, Emmanuel Unuabonah, a chemist at Redeemer's University in Ede, Nigeria, read a scientific paper that made him feel "betrayed." A colleague from Germany had shown him the study, which was published in a Nigeria-based journal. In it, four Nigerian researchers presented data copied from a paper by the German researcher as their own. Although Unuabonah had nothing to do with the blatant plagiarism, "I felt humiliated," he recalls. "It was not good for the image of Nigerian science."

The experience led Unuabonah to become a leader in a growing movement to combat academic plagiarism in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation and home to more than 150 public and private universities and colleges. Since 2012, the Nigerian Young Academy (NYA)—an off-shoot of the Nigerian Academy of Sciences (NAS) for scientists younger than 45 that Unuabonah helped found—has made educating academics about the pitfalls of plagiarism a major focus of its work. The group will hold a session on preventing plagiarism in August at its annual meeting in Ondo City, Nigeria. This past February, a record 350 participants showed up for a daylong, NYA-run plagiarism workshop, and the group soon hopes to arrange at least six more, one in each of Nigeria's six geopolitical regions.

The fledgling group, which has just 36 members, is also encouraging universities to make greater efforts to detect plagiarism—such as by installing software that can detect plagiarized material—and to penalize those who copy. Last year, NYA itself ejected a member for plagiarism, and it has formally made improper copying a dismissible offense.

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