In Nigeria, a battle against plagiarism heats up

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  29 Jun 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6396, pp. 1384-1385
DOI: 10.1126/science.360.6396.1384

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


An effort to curb plagiarism is emerging 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 offshoot of the Nigerian Academy of Sciences for scientists younger than 45—has made educating the nation's academics about the pitfalls of plagiarism a major focus of its work. In August, at its annual meeting in Ondo City, the group will hold the latest in a series of workshops on preventing plagiarism; this past January, a record 350 participants showed up for a similar NYA workshop at Covenant University near Lagos. The group is also encouraging academics to make greater efforts to detect plagiarism—such as by installing software that can detect plagiarized material—and impose stiffer penalties on those who copy. Last year, NYA itself ejected one member for plagiarism, and it has formally made improper copying a dismissible offence. There's no conclusive evidence that plagiarism is more common in poorer nations like Nigeria than in wealthier countries. But a 2010 survey of 133 Nigerian scientists found that 88% believed plagiarism and other forms of misconduct were common at their institutions, that offenders were rarely caught, and that punishments were too light.