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Honesty, scientific integrity needed in granting of professor titles



Scandals are commonly seen every year when professor and associate professor titles are granted, which raises doubts about the qualifications of scientists and the talented of the society.

Honesty, scientific integrity needed in granting of professor titles

Professors and Associate Professors, in principle, are better than others in their disciplinary field. They have many years of scientific research and lecturing, and adhere to academic ethics.

Under the Prime Minister’s Decision 37/2018, the criteria candidates must have to be granted the titles of Associate Professors and Professors are very clear.

Candidates must have ‘internationally published scientific articles’, not just ‘scientific articles or scientific research’ as stipulated in the old regulation.

Candidates for professor must be the first author of at least five scientific articles, while candidates for associate professor title must have at least three articles published internationally in ISI/Scopus journals or other journals stipulated by the State Professorship Council.

Though the regulation is very clear, scandals about disciplinary integrity arise every professorship title granting season. Many candidates are denounced for publishing scientific articles in disreputable journals, or ‘predators’ (a person pays money to be able to have articles published), not the journals in the list set by The State Professorship Council.

A group of scientists has sent a letter of denunciation to the council, naming five candidates for associate professor and professor titles in economics who published articles in so-called predators. They claim that the candidates cannot satisfy the requirements to be granted the titles.

N.L.M, a candidate, said that he has 43 scientific articles published I Vietnamese and international journals, of which eight articles were internationally published in prestigious journals.

However, in the letter of denunciation sent to the local press, all the eight articles cannot meet the requirements as there are problems in disciplinary integrity. The author of the articles ‘plagiarized’ himself: the articles published in international journals have content the same as the articles in Vietnamese language published in domestic journals.

The author has also been found using articles of foreign authors, changing some words, re-drawing charts and then publishing in international journals.

The letter of denunciation pointed out that N.L.M cannot meet the requirement on having three internationally published articles to be granted the title of associate professor.

Prof Nguyen Viet Anh, Chairman of the Professorship Council in Construction – Architecture, said he has received the denouncement against N.L.M four times over the last two years.

Another example of the violation of scientific integrity is N.M.T, a candidate for the professor title in philosophy-politics-sociology.

According to Ngo Viet Trung, a member of the Professorship Council in Mathematics, the candidate published articles in dubious international journals. 

T has an article, ‘Preventing and Combating Political Opportunists in Vietnam Today’ published in the Turkish Journal of Computer and Mathematics Education, a journal with very low quality.

The editorial board of the journal has four people, headed by Dr Dinh Tran Ngoc Huy, who introduces himself as Professor in banking and finance in HCM City. The three other members have expertise I engineering or finance, which have no relation with mathematics education and computing. They do not work in Turkey.

Meanwhile, Associate Prof Nguyen Duc Trung, Vice Rector of the Banking University of HCMC, affirmed that Dinh Tran Ngoc Huy is now a postgraduate of the school and is never a lecturer of the school. The man set up a website and invited people to publish articles on the website with the price of VND12-14 million.

N.M.T also has other articles published in other journals with no clear origin, or journals with no editorial board.

For example, one of the articles was published on PalArch about Archeology in Egypt and Egyptology, and editor-in-chief and deputy editor-in-chief are Thai people who don’t have deep knowledge about archeology.

The question is why these candidates, who are scientists with high qualifications, did not realize that these were fake or low-quality journals but let other people like Huy cheat them.

Scientific integrity

For a long time, scientific integrity has been a pressing concern in the academic world and public opinion. Plagiarism, impersonation, and counterfeit degrees are all burning issues in society.

The words ‘tien si dom’ (fake PhD), ‘giao su rom’ (fake professor) and ‘lo ap tien si’ (doctor incubator) have become popular.

The Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences in 2015 and 2016 produced 700 doctors and 2,811 masters, which means that the ‘incubator’ produced one doctor and four masters. At the academy, a professor acted as advisor to 12 postgraduates and there was a PhD of economics who gave advice in education management.

Plagiarism, fake diplomas, fake PhDs and fake professors need to be considered a form of academic corruption. This type of corruption pushes back the country’s scientific development.

In recent years, the Party and State have clearly shown strong determination to strictly punish corruption and wrongdoing in the country. Hundreds of officials and generals have been facing criminal proceedings.

However, no case of academic corruption has been dealt with strictly and properly. The case of Dong Do University selling degrees was brought into light, but only the seller was published, while hundreds of degree buyers and the accomplices have not been sanctioned. 

Nguyen Nguyen



Over 41,500 workers lose jobs in Vietnam in latter half of 2022



Some 1,235 enterprises in Vietnam are facing difficulties in production, affecting 472,000 workers, and more than 41,500 people have had their labor contracts terminated since the middle of the year, according to the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor.

These figures are drawn from a statistic conducted by the confederation in 44 provinces and cities across the country during the half-year period.

Of the 41,558 people who lost their jobs, nearly 30,300 were female workers aged 35 or older, and more than 9,400 were pregnant and raising children under one year old.

The job cuts occurred mainly in textile, garment, footwear, and wood processing enterprises as they lacked foreign orders, faced increasing input costs and declining consumer demand from major markets such as the U.S., the EU, and Japan, according to the confederation.

The union forecasts that those difficulties will last until the middle of 2023, leading to more layoffs and reductions in working hours, and seriously affecting workers’ income.

The agency also does not rule out scenarios where business owners run away, owe salaries, social insurance and other benefits, or purge workers over 35 years old from their companies to recruit younger people at lower pay.

By the end of November, there were 144 collective work stoppages in industrial parks, export processing zones, and economic zones, an increase of 53 times over the same period in 2021. 

The main reason is that wages and benefits were cut while workers had lost income during the two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Phan Van Anh, vice chairman of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor, asked trade unions to proactively urge enterprises to pay unpaid wages and reward employees at the end of the year.

Trade unions must also negotiate with employers to arrange working time to minimize job loss, especially for female workers aged 35 years old and in difficult situations.

On October 26, the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor announced a plan to give support totaling VND500 billion (US$20.2 million) to workers in celebration of the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday, which will begin in the latter half of January.

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Boy dies after school lunch in south-central Vietnam



Police in Binh Dinh Province, south-central Vietnam are investigating a case where a five-year-old boy in Hoai An District died after having lunch at his kindergarten on Tuesday.

Teachers at Tang Bat Ho Kindergarten prepared T.H.A. and his classmates for a nap after lunch at around 11:25 am on the day, but later found that the five-year-old was still awake and showed unusual signs indicating poor health, Mai Van Len, a local official said on Tuesday evening.

The teachers immediately took A. to Hoai An District Medical Center for emergency treatment and informed his family of the incident. 

However, A. was determined to have passed away before reaching the medical center at around 12:00 pm the same day.

Authorities are investigating the cause of his death.

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Indian senior executive gets 15 years for embezzling $78,000 in Vietnam



A Vietnamese court has sentenced an Indian man to 15 years in prison for embezzling nearly US$78,000 from a Vietnam-based subsidiary whose parent company is an Indian firm where the man was deputy general director.

Defendant Soumyodiptha Saha, 35, an Indian citizen, received the jail term at his first-instance trial held at the People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City on Monday.

The man was found to have appropriated the aforementioned amount from Ho Chi Minh City-based B9 Beverages Co., Ltd., whose parent company is B9 Beverages Pvt. Ltd. headquartered in India, according to the indictment.

In 2019, B9 Beverages Pvt. Ltd. recruited Saha and appointed him deputy general director in charge of finance affairs, whose duties were to control financial transactions related to the  company’s subsidiaries in other countries, including B9 Beverages Co., Ltd. in Vietnam.

The Vietnamese subsidiary opened an account at Standard Chartered Bank (Vietnam) Limited in Ho Chi Minh City, for its payment transactions, in 2009.

As a senior executive in charge of accounting affairs of this subsidiary, Saha was authorized to approve payments of under $10,000 at his discretion using this account.   

Taking advantage of this privilege, from August 30 to October 28, 2019, Saha transferred a total amount of more than VND1.9 billion ($77,930) worth of 27 transactions from the account to an account held by a Vietnamese woman, Nguyen Song An, at Techcombank in Vietnam.

An left Vietnam in March 2020 via Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City after withdrawing the entire amount in her account. 

When Saha’s act of embezzlement was discovered, the man told investigators that An is his wife and they married in India in 2019.

At the trial, Saha declared that he and his wife were quarreling in January 2020 when he went to Vietnam and revealed to An the origin of the money he had transferred to her.

The man added that they have since lived in separation, without his knowing about her whereabouts. 

Saha told the court that he did not intend to appropriate his company’s money but he only “borrowed” it to help his wife to repay her debts, Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper cited the foreigner as saying.

After Saha was prosecuted, Saha’s mother in India repaid all the appropriated money to the aggrieved party, B9 Vietnam Company, which confirmed the repayment and later filed a petition with the court to waive its claim against the Indian man. 

Judging that the foreigner’s act has seriously violated the rights and interests of B9 Beverages Co., Ltd. that is under the protection of the laws of Vietnam, the trial panel finally decided to impose the 15-year jail term.

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