Racket science: how cheating SA academics snaffle research millions
Crooked researchers who game the system corrupt the aims of research funding and soil the names of varsities
When South Africans talk of corruption we refer to a speeding motorist who bribes a traffic cop, a municipal manager who flouts the tender regulations or a politician who appoints a family member to a department he oversees. Nobody talks about academics whose three common tasks are to teach, conduct research and do community service. Today I wish to lift the lid on one of the most disgraceful forms of fraudulence in higher education, something called academic corruption.
There is no direct money given to lecturers for teaching or community service but there are billions spent on research, and this is where the academic vultures circle to make a killing off taxpayer monies. In fact, for 2018 research publications the government’s department of higher education and training (DHET) will pay out approximately R2.3bn to universities; the state subsidy payments come to an institution two years later, so the 2018 subsidies are paid in 2020. Put simply, the more academics in one university publish, the larger the slice of the subsidy pie that comes their way.
So what do researchers do to lay their hands on as much of this money as possible?..