Following is a question by the Hon Emily Lau and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur K C Li, in the Legislative Council today (July 2):
Regarding plagiarism committed by the academic staff of University Grants Committee-funded institutions, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council whether they know:
(a) the mechanisms adopted by such institutions for handling complaints about plagiarism;
(b) the number of such complaints received by each institution in the past three years;
(c) the average length of time taken for investigating such complaints;
(d) the number of complaints found to be substantiated in the past three years, the names of those academics found to have committed plagiarism, as well as the actions taken against them; and
(e) the measures that the institutions have taken to curb plagiarism?
(a) All the eight University Grants Committee (UGC)-funded institutions have established mechanisms, procedures and guidelines for handling complaints about plagiarism. Although there are variations in the details, in general, the institutions will set up inquiry panels for investigation and disciplinary committees for conducting hearings to determine the appropriate disciplinary actions.
(b) In the past three academic years from 1999/2000 to 2001/02, the eight UGC-funded institutions had altogether recorded six complaints about plagiarism by academic staff. The detailed breakdown by institution is at Annex I (pdf format).
(c) On average, about 2.25 months were spent on the investigation of each complaint.
(d) Among the six cases, five of them were substantiated. The concerned institutions have taken appropriate actions against the academic staff, details of which are summarised at Annex II. The institutions consider it inappropriate to release the names of the academic staff concerned.
(e) As reflected in the above statistics, the situation about plagiarism has not been serious in the UGC sector. Nevertheless, the institutions consider plagiarism a serious misconduct. They have published guidelines or handbooks on their policy in respect of plagiarism. Codes of practice and policies on academic integrity are promulgated among all members of the academic staff. For transparency, the disciplinary procedures are also made known to all members of staff.
End/Wednesday, July 2, 2003