Roundtables held with public universities on "Academic (Dis)honesty in Albania: Concerns About Plagiarism"
Between May and December 2016, a series of roundtables on Ethics in Research has been organised at public universities around Albania, namely the University Aleksandër Xhuvani, Elbasan, University Fan S. Noli, Korçë, University Ismail Qemali, Vlorë, University Luigj Gurakuqi, Shkodër, and the Universitety Aleksandër Moisiu, Durrës. During these activities, a policy paper titled Academic (Dis)honesty in Albania: Concerns about Plagiarism was authored by members of the Young Researchers Club, Mr Besfort Lamllari, Ms Gentiola Madhi and Ms Miada Shpuza.
The purpose of these activities was to present the main findings and recommendations deriving from the analysis undertaken by young researchers, as well as to promote constructive debate among researchers and university management structures.
The policy paper examines legislation on higher education, copyright and plagiarism. By double checking plagiarism programmes and manually examining 64 scientific works, including five doctoral theses, the study assesses the most common forms of plagiarism, and how widespread it is in academic research. A questionnaire completed by 65 faculty members from public and private universities in Tirana, Durres, Elbasan, Shkodër and Vlorë helped identify some of the causes of plagiarism amongst academic staff, and their perception of the severity and spread of this problem. Moreover, the study pays special attention to the problem of self-plagiarism, also identified in the works submitted for double-checking for plagiarism.
A total of 150 participants attended the events, including professors, students and university management representatives. The policy document was well-received by members of top management of all five universities. At the University of Korça it was the chancellor himself, Prof. Dr. Ali Jashari who moderated the discussion. Also, Deputy Chancellor Prof. Dr. Bilal Shkurtaj from the University of Vlorë, and Deputy Chancellor Prof. Dr. Lekë Sokoli from the University of Durrës addressed the audience and actively participated in the discussion.
Students were a vital part of the discussions. They unanimously agreed that the topic of plagiarism is seldom broached in their everyday academic life. They agreed they resorted to plagiarism when doing their research work, but they also highlighted the fact that professors accepted the papers and even gave them high grades.
More details on the analysis along with the recommendations provided by the Policy Document can be found here, and the discussion points raised during the round tables are contained in the report here.