In fact, there is reason to think that the actions of the Russian Academy is only scratching the surface of the scientific publishing scandal. In 2013 a group of Russian academics founded an organization called Dissernet which uses plagiarism software to identify fake papers. It identified thousands of papers which had been plagiarized:
In March 2018, for instance, Dissernet, a network aimed at cleaning up the Russian literature, identified more than 4000 cases of plagiarism and questionable authorship among 150,000 papers in about 1500 journals.
And Russian authors frequently republish their own work, says Yury Chekhovich, CEO of Antiplagiat, a plagiarism detection company. In September 2019, after sifting through 4.3 million Russian-language studies, Antiplagiat found that more than 70,000 were published at least twice; a few were published as many as 17 times.
The academic fraud goes well beyond the publication of plagiarized scientific papers. It also implicates thousands of dissertations for which people were granted advanced degrees in everything from medicine to economics:
In 2018, Dissernet used anti-plagiarism technology and found that 7,251 Russian degrees had been awarded for plagiarized or dubious work in the previous four years, including 529 medical degrees. Most were in economics, teaching and the law…
In 2016, Dissernet reported that 1 in 9 members of the State Duma, or lower house of parliament, had dubious degrees. A year earlier, it exposed Duma’s then-chairman, Sergei Naryshkin, now the director of foreign intelligence, for plagiarizing more than half of the pages in his economics doctorate.
Naryshkin just shrugged off the accusations and never lost his degree.
The evidence suggests that people are literally buying research papers and, in some cases, selling access to have their names appear on papers that have been accepted for publication.
Anna Kuleshova, the Russian Association of Scientific Editors and Publishers, told the Post that for a time you could buy stolen research with ease but now it’s a bit more expensive, as much as $1,600 per paper. “There are many professions where this has become the norm. There are so many pseudo-experts who are not real experts,” she said.