Additional researchers in South Korea have included the names of school-aged children on scientific papers when they did not contribute to the work, Nature News reports. It adds that the addition of the children's names appears to be as part of a bid to improve their chances of securing a university placement.
According to Nature News, this practice was first uncovered in late 2017, but appears to have been going on since about 2007. After that initial case was uncovered at Seoul National University, an investigation found 82 academic papers with co-authors who were children, though about half those papers included students who had taken part in research experiences — but half had not.
Investigations by the education ministry and universities have now identified nearly 800 publications with co-authors who are children, Nature News reports. It adds that of these, about 550 have been reviewed to find 24 papers with suspect authorships. Seventeen researchers have been implicated in the process, it adds, noting that most of the children involved were the researchers'.
The Times adds that the implicated researchers could face penalties ranging from a one-year ban on state-funded research to dismissal, and the students involved could have their university placements rescinded.