Corruption, the Lack of Academic
Integrity and Other Ethical Issues
in Higher Education: What Can Be
Done Within the Bologna Process?
Transparency International (TI), an NGO working on corruption worldwide,
commonly deﬁnes corruption as “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.”In
higher education, however, corruption also encompasses “the lack of academic
integrity.”The second deﬁnition applies to both public and private institutions,
since what they both offer—education—can be construed as a public good.
Corruption might be perceived or it might not; in higher education, however, this
differentiation is less relevant (Heyneman 2013). Along with the kinds of monetary
and non-monetary corruption that can be found anywhere in society, such as cor-
ruption in procurement and favouritism in hiring and/or promoting employees,
corruption in higher education can implicate the students themselves, thus exerting
an inﬂuence over the next generation (Denisova-Schmidt 2016a,b,c,2017a,b,c,
2018a,b; Denisova-Schmidt and de Wit 2017).
While corruption in higher education is not a new phenomenon, its unprece-
dented dimensions, the growing challenge of mitigating and preventing it in many
academic systems as well as its international aspect are rather new. Can corruption
be exported and/or imported with the rise of mobility among students and faculty
and the internationalisation of educational institutions? Are universities prepared to
deal with actors from endemically corrupt societies? What tools and best practices
E. Denisova-Schmidt (&)
University of St. Gallen (HSG), St. Gallen, Switzerland
Boston College, Boston, USA
©The Author(s) 2018
A. Curaj et al. (eds.), European Higher Education Area: The Impact of Past
and Future Policies, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-77407-7_5
are particularly effective in increasing academic integrity? Or is it an irreversible
process? How can the latest research contribute to the policy debate within the
The paper is structured as follows: ﬁrst, I discuss the current trends in the general
research on corruption and its implications for higher education within the Bologna
context, then I give an overview of some successful tools for mitigating academic
dishonesty and discuss the challenges of their implementation.
Corruption Research as a Field of Study
What is “corruption,”really? Scholars and practitioners often work with deﬁnitions
developed by international organisations such as the World Bank, United Nations
(UN) and its sub-structures, as well as Transparency International (TI):
“[Corruption is] the abuse of public ofﬁce for private gain”(World Bank
“[Corruption is] the misuse of public power, ofﬁce or authority for private beneﬁt through
bribery, extortion, inﬂuence peddling, nepotism, fraud, speed money or embezzlement”
“Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain”(Transparency International
In spite of some slight differences in wording, the idea is approximately the
same: something that was previously “public”becomes “private”, often in an
improper way. How does this relate to higher education? While some might argue
that these deﬁnitions apply to public universities only and do not cover private ones,
these deﬁnitions, in fact, relate to both public and private institutions since what
they both offer—education—is a public good. More concretely: Imagine a student
writing a term paper. He or she plagiarizes, which is to say, he or she copies and
pastes text from other sources without acknowledging them. The student submits
this paper and receives a grade for it. This is fraud—one form of corruption. Taking
it a step further, let’s say that the faculty member who is responsible for grading this
paper chooses to ignore the plagiarism. In this case, the faculty member is misusing
an entrusted power for private gain, in the broader sense (Denisova-Schmidt
2017a). Faculty members do not necessarily have to be bribed to do it; their reasons
might vary, from being overloaded with other duties to the lack of time to inves-
tigate. Some scholars often do not dare to call it “corruption”and mitigate this small
“sin”by referring to it as “student dishonesty”,“academic dishonesty”,“cheating”,
or just simply “plagiarism”(s. e.g. Curtis et al. 2013; Golunov 2014; Curtis and
62 E. Denisova-Schmidt
Vardanega 2016; Chapman and Linder 2016; Denisova-Schmidt 2016a;
Denisova-Schmidt et al. 2016a). The challenges of deﬁning “corruption”might also
be explained by the fact that corruption is a crime. Some scholars might consider
only those activities to be corrupt that have been proven as such by a judge;
otherwise, they might refer to the presumption of innocence. Depending on the
national context, even an obvious bribe cannot be easily judged to be a bribe, as an
advantage caused by this bribe still has to be proven, among other things.
Table 1 Selected examples of corruption in higher education
The offering, promising, giving, accepting, or soliciting of an advantage as
an inducement for an action that is illegal, unethical, or a breach of trust.
Inducements can take the form of gifts, loans, fees, rewards, or other
advantages (taxes, services, donations, etc.)
Examples A student bribes a professor to change a grade in his/her favour; a faculty
member bribes a ghostwriter for his/her own publication; university
administration demands bribes from service suppliers
A secret agreement between parties, in the public and/or private sector, to
conspire to commit actions aimed to deceive or commit fraud with the
objective of illicit ﬁnancial gain. The parties involved often are referred to as
Examples Faculty members ignore or pretend to ignore students’academic
Faculty members are involved in “citation”cartels: citing each other’s
works/journals without necessity;
Administration chooses the winner in an open tender, based on a prior
Conﬂict of interest
A situation where an individual, or the entity for which this person works,
whether a government, business, media outlet, or civil society organisation,
is confronted with choosing between the duties and demands of their
position and their own private interests
Examples A high-ranking ofﬁcial responsible for accreditation is placed in charge of a
university, for which he and/or she recently worked;
A professor grades his/her nephew/niece or supervises a thesis written by
A university manager responsible for catering buys food from his/her
Patronage: a form of favouritism in which a person is selected, regardless of
qualiﬁcations or entitlement, for a job or government beneﬁt because of
political afﬁliations or connections
Nepotism: a form of favouritism based on acquaintances and familiar
relationships whereby someone in an ofﬁcial position exploits his or her
power and authority to provide a job or favour to a family member or friend,
even though he or she may not be qualiﬁed or deserving
Corruption, the Lack of Academic Integrity and Other …63
Corruption is typically used as a generic term for a wide range of actions, including
favouritism, nepotism, advantage granting, cronyism, and many other activities.
Table 1illustrates some other types of corruption as well as some examples from
the higher education sector. All these types might be judged differently depending
on the perspective (insiders or outsiders) and the national/cultural context.
Corruption in Bologna Countries
Virtually all forms of corruption are prevalent in the Bologna countries. According
to a 2015 survey conducted in Ukraine, for example, every second student reported
an experience with bribery at university (Denisova-Schmidt and Prytula 2017).
According to Guardian Data, the number of cheating incidents involving technol-
ogy (mobile phones, smart watches, etc.) at UK universities increased by 42%
between 2012 and 2016. In 2016 alone, 25% of students caught cheating used
various electronic devices (Marsh 2017). Cheating and plagiarism might happen
Table 1 (continued)
Examples A student is admitted, or a faculty member is hired/promoted, based only on
his/her personal connections and/or family relations; academic achievement
and other relevant competencies are not considered
To cheat: the act of intentionally deceiving someone in order to gain an
unfair or illegal advantage (ﬁnancial, political, or otherwise)
Examples A student cheats on his/her written assignment, or a faculty member
plagiarizes in his/her paper;
A staff member falsiﬁes an admission application;
A signiﬁcant amount of a research grant goes to other purposes than what is
indicated in the research proposal;
Universities expect a contribution from students receiving ﬁnancial support
Any activity carried out to inﬂuence a government or institution’s policies
and decisions in favour of a speciﬁc cause or outcome
Examples Some industries support research projects expecting positive and/or
promising outcomes for their products/services
An individual who moves back and forth between public ofﬁce and private
companies, exploiting his/her period of government service for the beneﬁtof
the companies he/she used to regulate
Examples An inﬂuential government ofﬁcial opts for employment as a university rector
Source Updated and expanded version from Denisova-Schmidt 2017a
The Anti-Corruption Plain Language Guide. TI. 2009. http://www.transparency.org/whatwedo/
64 E. Denisova-Schmidt
among scholars, too. The Austrian Agency for Research Integrity reported about
several recent cases, including double submission of the same proposal or
authorship conﬂict. The latter case was a conﬂict between a PhD student and her
supervisor, which made it impossible for her to defend her dissertation in Austria
(“Research Integrity Practices in Science Europe Member Organisations”2016). In
2016, the Ministers of Education of Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia,
Russia, and Ukraine were all implicated in conﬂicts of interest. In addition, some or
all the deputy Ministers of Education in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Croatia, Moldova,
Serbia, and Ukraine, as well as some members of the cabinets in Armenia and
Kazakhstan, have also been accused of having conﬂicts of interest. These ranged
from an active for-proﬁtafﬁliation to an expectation of going through the “re-
volving door”into a salaried or shareholder position at a university after leaving the
public sector. For-proﬁtafﬁliations with universities were also common among
lower-level heads of departments for higher education in Armenia, Azerbaijan,
Moldova, Russia, and Serbia, as well as among education-focused legislators in
Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Moldova, Serbia, and Ukraine
(Milovanovitch et al. 2018). Milovanovitch et al. (2015) claims that the hiring of
faculty members and staff in Armenia is often based on personal relationship rather
than on merit; in addition, dismissals of academic staff might occur due to their
activism in ﬁghting for their rights or their membership in the political opposition.
Dissernet, a community of Russian activities ﬁghting plagiarism in academic
writing, including dissertations, created a ranking of university rectors with ques-
tionable academic backgrounds who sought to exploit monetary interests in their
positions by employing friends and relatives as employees and/or subcontractors.
Some social groups—women, for example—still face several career disadvantages
in academia. While there is an increasing trend toward gender balance at the
bachelor, master and Ph.D. levels in many countries, the number of female
researchers holding top-level positions remains signiﬁcantly low, for example, in
2013 in Cyprus (10.8%), the Czech Republic (13.1%), Lithuania (14.4%), Belgium
(15.6%), the Netherlands (16.2%), Luxemburg (16.5%), Estonia (17.2%), Germany
(17.3%), the United Kingdom (17.5%), Denmark (19.2%), Switzerland (19.3%),
France (19.3%) and Greece (19.6%) (She Figures 2015). The reasons for this might
vary from traditional gender roles in the respective societies to a lack of knowledge
of how to develop an academic career more strategically to—in some cases—sexual
harassment, including the refusal to provide favours in exchange for career
Rectory: prizvanie i biznes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xNWeAjSLsY.
It should be mentioned that this topic still remains taboo. The “MeToo”campaign might
encourage some victims not to feel alone in their situations and even to act. Recent cases discussed
in the media include the court decision against Siegfried Mauser, ex-rector of the Mozarteum
University Salzburg and ex-president of the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich,
who was found guilty of sexual harassment and rape (Rost 2016; Wimmer 2017).
Corruption, the Lack of Academic Integrity and Other …65
The geography of the violence of academic integrity is wide; the scope and the
techniques might vary, as might the courage of all involved actors to talk about it
openly. Some scholars argue that the current situation in many countries leads to
“academic collusion”(Titaev 2012), or situations in which almost all of the
stakeholders involved in academia might occasionally pretend to teach, carry out
research, or study due to high pressure. The following example demonstrates the
challenges of this phenomenon.
Favouritism Versus Strong Social Ties
The situation in which a (new) faculty member is hired and/or promoted based on
his/her personal connections and/or family relationships and not on his/her aca-
demic achievement or other relevant competencies is called “favouritism”—or
corruption, according to TI. Should any personal and/or family relationships be
banned per se in university employment decisions? I am familiar with a case that
happened at one Russell-Group University in the United Kingdom, where a new
faculty member was indeed not hired because his brother had already been working
for the same institution. In Germany, on the other hand, according to Kehm, it is
almost impossible to get a university professorship without personal networks. This
informal “… support is never made public and never openly discussed but will be
able to topple ranking lists of candidates established by search commissions”
(Kehm 2015, p. 130). The competition is very high: for every ﬁve successfully
there is only one vacant post (Müller 2017). Stipulating
the fact that the lack of a formal habilitation might be compensated by a “habili-
tation equivalency”, the situation is even more drastic. More inﬂuential people in
academia tend to help (young) colleagues for many reasons: one of them might
belong to the same research school and/or share similar research ideas and a
willingness to continue the work on a particular research topic. But even powerful
networks cannot always guarantee a job. A search commission might favour an
average candidate over an excellent one in order not to be swayed by the fame of
this great researcher when he or she becomes a colleague, or they might decide on a
candidate with less informal support in order to spite the personal networks of other
competitors (Denisova-Schmidt 2017c). Nevertheless, it is important to have a
network and sometimes even belong to the “correct”political party or church. In
2007, for example, Alfred Scharenberg claimed that he was not appointed as a
professor of political science at the Free University of Berlin due to his activity in
The habilitation is a formal requirement (but not a guarantee) for a full-professorship position at
German universities. The search committee might consider candidates who are “habilitation
equivalent”, however. In some ﬁelds such as engineering or economics, a habilitation is not
required anymore (cf. Kehm 2015).
66 E. Denisova-Schmidt
the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation (cf. e.g. FU Berlin 2007; Kirchgessner 2007;
Moreover, Ulla Wessels sued the University of Erlangen-
Nuremberg in 2012 for not hiring her as professor of philosophy because she was
not Catholic (cf. e.g. Scherf 2012; Auer 2015). While this seems to be an open
secret in Germany, the importance of social ties and loyalty in academic life is often
stressed explicitly in other countries, as, for example, in Russia (cf. Yudkevich
2015) or the practice of cooptation in France.
Anti-corruption Research and Anti-corruption Measures
A great deal of contemporary research into corruption assumes that corruption can
be deﬁned and quantiﬁed clearly, thus allowing it to be combatted successfully (for
a contrasting view, see Ledeneva 2009,2013; Barsukova and Ledeneva 2014;
Denisova-Schmidt et al. 2016b; Ledeneva et al. 2017; Denisova-Schmidt and
Kryzhko 2018). In such theoretical approaches as the principal-agent (Klitgaard
1988) and rent-seeking models (see Graeff and Grieger 2012), corruption is often
deﬁned by researchers as a “deviation from the norm”that can to be eradicated.
There are, however, other approaches that examine corruption in its own indigenous
context, where it might be considered as a “norm”. These approaches are particu-
larly useful in endemically corrupt countries (see, for example, Mungiu-Pippidi
2011; Rothstein 2011), where the ﬁght against corruption is often more difﬁcult
since it is deemed to be a collective action (Marquette and Pfeiffer 2015). When
people believe that corruption is already widespread, it can even lead to more
corruption (John et al. 2014; Corbacho et al. 2016). In Ukraine, a country with a
high rate of corruption, two recent experiments have shown that anti-corruption
campaigns can actually have the opposite effect: rather than reducing corruption,
such campaigns might, in fact, promote it. Examining the effectiveness of
anti-corruption measures at state universities in Lviv, Ukraine, a pair of recent
studies (Denisova-Schmidt et al. 2015; Denisova-Schmidt et al. 2016a) indicated
that young people with previous experience with corruption at university level were
not inﬂuenced by anti-corruption campaigns based on TI materials, though these
students still often judged corruption in negative terms (corruption is “bad”or
corruption is a “crime”). For those students who had not encountered corruption at
university, however, the studies showed that anti-corruption programs can have the
opposite effect: students are able to learn new cheating techniques, and their
assumptions about the widespread nature of corruption are conﬁrmed. Marquette
and Pfeiffer (2015) argue that anti-corruption measures often fail not because the
theories they are based on (i.e., the principal-agent or collective action models) are
inadequate (Persson et al. 2013; Mungiu-Pippidi 2011), but rather because such
The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation is a German organisation afﬁliated with the political party The
Corruption, the Lack of Academic Integrity and Other …67
measures do not allow for the fact that corruption can be a necessary instrument that
helps people deal with the problems of everyday life, particularly in an environment
of weak institutions. Therefore, those who make policies need to recognize the
important role corruption plays and develop equally effective alternatives to replace
it. This consideration would boost the efﬁcacy of anti-corruption measures signif-
icantly (Denisova-Schmidt and Prytula 2016; Ledeneva et al. 2017).
Remedying Corruption Within the Bologna Process
In order to combat this corruption, the faculty should present their assignments and
expectations more clearly to the students, stipulating their educational and cultural
backgrounds. In some cultures, for example, students might have a different concept
of the term “plagiarism”: some material might be widely considered to be common
knowledge and, therefore, does not need to be cited properly. While editing three
with young Russian authors (undergraduate and graduate students), my
colleague and I observed that some of them simply copied and pasted without
acknowledging any sources, especially when describing the state of research. One
student even argued, “this is only theory”. Only after some discussions with those
students did we realize the problem: Russian students need to be taught such basic
concepts as a precise deﬁnition of plagiarism in their academic writing courses. One
of the useful arguments here might be mentioning several recent examples of
high-proﬁle politicians accused of plagiarism during their university years and the
consequences on their professional future.
Additional courses on academic integrity
might increase students’awareness signiﬁcantly (Curtis et al. 2013). Faculty
members should serve as role models, however. If they also cheat, they might not be
able to demand the opposite behaviour from their students. A large number of
(external) proctors for supervising examinations might be an effective remedy, as
well as the use of randomized seating and several versions of the same examination
(if possible) to prevent copying from a neighbour (Denisova-Schmidt 2017a).
Denisova-Schmidt, E. and Leontyeva, E. (2012a), Korrupciia v povsednevnoi zhizni, biznese i
kul’ture. Vzgliad rossiiskikh studentov (Corruption in Everyday Life, Business and Culture.
A Russian Student Perspective), Europäischer Hochschulverlag, Bremen; Denisova-Schmidt, E.
and Leontyeva, E. (2013a), Korrupciia v Rossii: aktual’nye tendencii i perspektivy. Vzgliad
rossiiskich studentov (Corruption in Russia: Current Trends and Outlooks. A Russian Student
Perspective), Europäischer Hochschulverlag, Bremen; Denisova-Schmidt, E. and Leontyeva, E.
(2013c), Siuzhety o korrupcii v rossiiskich ﬁl’mach i serialach: Vzgliad rossiiskich studentov (The
Representation of Corruption in Russian Movies and Sitcoms: A Russian Student Perspective),
Europäischer Hochschulverlag, Bremen.
Just to name a few examples: German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg in 2011,
Hungarian President Pal Schmitt in 2012, German Education Minister Annette Schavan in 2013
and Romanian Minister President Victor Ponta in 2016.
68 E. Denisova-Schmidt
In addition to training and raising awareness, creating appropriate policies and
procedures on academic integrity might be another very important step for orienting
all of the involved stakeholders: students on what is right and what is wrong, as
well as faculty members and university administration on what to do in detected
cases of academic dishonesty. The University of St. Gallen (Switzerland), for
example, deﬁnes in its regulations academic dishonesty as follows: “falsifying a
candidate’s own or another candidate’s examination paper, using or making
available inadmissible aids or information, failing to comply with general or
speciﬁc instructions for the conduct of the examination or arrogating other people’s
intellectual property (plagiarism)”(Examination Regulations 2014). Even attemp-
ted dishonesty might be punished. The punishment might include a reduced grade
or grading with the lowest possible mark 1.0 (inadequate) or some other sanctions
including removal from the university. Sanctions for misconduct and malpractice
might be an effective remedy among scholars, as well. The survey report “Research
Integrity Practices in Science Europe Member Organisations”(2016), for example,
recommended that sanctions be applied for individuals as well as for institutions.
Depending on the national context, sanctions against individuals might be covered
by (a) employment law, ranging from a written letter of reprimand to dismissal; by
(b) civil law, such as ﬁnancial penalties for copyright infringement or repayments of
received funds; and/or by (c) academic policies or professional standards, whereby
the tools might include withdrawal of a degree, academic title, or licence, as well as
exclusion from membership in an academic society, team, or pool of future grant
applicants. Sanctions against institutions are also possible, though uncommon,
“because usually it is an individual who has transgressed, not the institution”. These
sanctions might include repayment of a research grant or a ban on further funding
(often for a limited period of time). These issues might be outsourced or they might
be regulated by a third agency, as in Austria, for example, with the Austrian Agency
for Research Integrity (OeAWI).
Many national governments have implemented programs to promote women in
academia, from mentoring to fellowships and vacancies for female researchers only.
The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), for example, has offered the Marie
Program (2001–2016) “for female doctoral students and postdocs
in Switzerland who had to interrupt or reduce their research activities due to family
Since 2017, the SNSF has continued its support for female
scholars through the new PRIMA (Promoting Women in Academia) program for
Marie Heim-Vögtlin (1845–1916) was the ﬁrst female Swiss physician.
Corruption, the Lack of Academic Integrity and Other …69
“excellent female researchers from Switzerland and abroad who aspire to a pro-
fessorship in Switzerland”.
Two additional programs for female researchers are
named after Lise Meitner (1878–1968), an Austrian-Swedish physicist; these are
administered independently by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF)
and the German
Max Planck Society,
both with the goal of addressing gender inequality in aca-
demia. Several universities have established career paths for women only; in the
Netherlands, these include, for example, the University of Groningen, offering
Rosalind Franklin Fellowships, or the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft),
providing highly qualiﬁed women with the Delft Technology Fellowship.
It is crucial to acknowledge this problem and not to treat it as the elephant in the
room. General research on corruption suggests not ﬁghting corruption in general but
rather focusing on speciﬁc malpractices (cf. Shekshnia et al. 2017). The German
Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), for example, established the Akademische
Prüfstelle (APS) in 2001 in Beijing to prevent Chinese applicants from coming to
German universities with fake diplomas. The agency is responsible for validating
certiﬁcates awarded in China and assessing young people in appropriate discipline.
Now German, Austrian, Swiss, and Belgian universities require this document for
Chinese applicants. The UK battle against plagiarism might consider this as another
ongoing successful example. The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education
(QAA) recently published a report on the “growing threat to UK higher education from
custom essay writing services”or “essay mills”. The agency develops concrete actions
to be taken against companies providing such services. Inspired by the experience of
New Zealand, which has ﬁned and even frozen the assets of essay mills, QAA suggests
the introduction of the same procedure. Milovanovich et al. (2015) in their study on
academic integrity in Armenia suggest ﬁrst to look at a single case of suspected
integrity violation, then describe and determine the factors that create incentives for the
integrity violation and, based on this analysis, develop pointers for action. The
researchers name two main reasons for the widespread cheating among Armenian
students: “the lack of intrinsic motivation to study”and “overloaded and/or outdated
study content”and argue that, by addressing these two issues, cheating might decrease.
Some measures might be easily implemented, so why have not all universities
within the Bologna process done it? Why do not all universities clear procedures
and policies on the ethical behaviour? Why do not all universities use
anti-plagiarism software programs and take legal actions against companies pro-
viding questionable services? Some of the measures might be costly. Take for
example the use of anti-plagiarism software in Ukraine: a company offering such
For more about the “Lise Meitner Programme”, see https://www.fwf.ac.at/en/research-funding/
For more about “The Lise-Meitner excellence programme”, see https://www.mpg.de/11767653/
70 E. Denisova-Schmidt
services currently charges 1 hryvnia per page
; therefore, many universities can
only afford to check bachelor/master/Ph.D. theses (if at all) and not term papers.
Some measures mean more additional resources and/or obligations for already
overworked faculty members and university administrations. Some measures might
not be implemented yet due to weak management, while other measures might be
not implemented concisely. Corruption seems to be a very effective tool to respond
to massiﬁcation, falling or insecure ﬁnancial support, and growing competition
among institutions on the national and international levels, as well as to the
increasing demands on university researchers and instructors. Tackling these issues
might be a good and effective strategy for tackling corruption.
The negative consequences of corruption in higher education are particularly
severe: in their last formative years, students consciously and/or unconsciously
learn that corruption is widespread and even “normal”—behaviour that these young
people might transfer to their future professional lives (Heyneman 2013;
Denisova-Schmidt 2013,2016a,b,c). No one should ever wonder if graduates in
medicine would become involved in promoting drugs without evidence, if man-
agers would cheat and steal, or if lawyers and bankers would develop new schemes
for tax evasion and fraud. Universities should incorporate ethical issues into their
curricula and certainly act ethically and transparently themselves, as was suggested
in the Poznan Declaration—“a formal statement aimed at mainstreaming ethics and
anti-corruption in higher education”endorsed by 68 member universities of
Compostela Group of Universities, the World University Consortium, the World
Academy of Art and Science and TI. The decision-makers within the Bologna
process should support and encourage exchanges on this topic among all involved
stakeholders on practical issues, as well as more reﬂection and research on blind
spots and borders between legal and illegal, good and bad, acceptable and unac-
What can educators and decision-makers within the Bologna process learn from
general corruption research? First of all, many anti-corruption reforms failed not
because they were based on inefﬁcient theories, or because the involved stake-
holders lacked the courage to implement the new reforms, but because the
decision-makers did not consider the functions that corruption might serve, espe-
cially in weak institutional environments. In higher education, corruption might
often be considered an effective tool to address the challenges of massiﬁcation,
internationalisation and shrinking ﬁnancing. Hence the latter issues should be
considered when developing anti-corruption strategies and measures within the
higher education sector. Secondly, such measures should not attempt to address
The current average monthly salary in Ukraine is 750 hryvnias (about 275 USD).
Corruption, the Lack of Academic Integrity and Other …71
corruption in general, but rather focus on speciﬁc practices, such as the recent
initiatives of the UK government to hinder the operations of essay mills within the
country or the “old”practice developed by the German Akademische Prüfstelle
(APS) of checking the creditability of Chinese students applying to study in the
German-speaking countries. Such remedies might have a controlling function, as in
the case of anti-plagiarism software programs, or a preventing function, as in
training on academic integrity. Last, but not least, it is crucial to start addressing this
phenomenon using all the available resources within the Bologna process, to admit
its existence and scope and to work together to mitigate it.
Auer, K. (2015). Verfassungsklage abgewiesen: Süddeutsche Zeitung, 3 November 2015. Retrieved
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neformal’nykh praktik: razlichiya v podkhodakh autsaiderov i insaiderov [From Global
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Ekonomiki, 2, 118–132.
Chapman, D. W., & Lindner, S. (2016). Degrees of integrity: The threat of corruption in higher
education. Higher Education, 41(2), 247–268.
Corbacho, A., Gingerich, D. W., Oliveros, V., & Ruiz-Vega, M. (2016). Corruption as a
self-fulﬁlling prophecy: Evidence from a survey experiment in Costa Rica. American Journal
of Political Science, 60(4), 1077–1092.
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