13 September 2017

Press Statement on Citation Stacking by GERAK

10 September 2017

The Malaysian Academics Movement (GERAK) is appalled to read of the reported enforced practice of citation stacking in Malaysia’s premier university, the University of Malaya (UM). According to news reports, academics in UM are being forced to cite their colleagues in their research papers in order to gain points for university ranking. This is being done by making such citations a requirement for their annual KPI.

This is a serious infringement of their academic freedom to do research and to publish their work. GERAK stresses that the university cannot and must not dictate who should be cited. Academics should be free to cite anyone whose work is relevant to their research, wherever they may be.

What is more shocking is that the university is now trying to justify the forced citation by saying it is a common practice among academics in other universities. No, it is not. At least not by academics who are ethical professionals. 
The simple rule of thumb is that authors/researchers should cite sources they consider pertinent to their work. It would be nice if the citation is of the work of their colleague. But it must NEVER be a requirement stipulated by their department, faculty or university. Failure to cite a colleague must never be cause for the imposition of penalties by any university.
In the case of UM, the embarrassment caused by this incident has spread beyond Malaysia, with scientific data base, Retraction Watch, reporting and commenting on this incident (
http://retractionwatch.com/2017/08/22/one-way-boost-unis-ranking-ask-faculty-cite/).

Whatever the UM authorities imagined they could profit from citation stacking evidently has been lost. Instead, this latest flub by the UM authorities will most likely lead to further embarrassment for UM internationally. And a further blow to its reputation. 

GERAK urges UM (and all other Malaysian universities) to immediately remove forced citation requirements in the annual KPI of academics. There are many other, more honourable, ways to assess academic performance. 

UM must also provide logical explanations to the wider academic community – and Malaysians in general - for this fiasco and not simply make up pathetic excuses. Or else heads must roll.

GERAK maintains that to ensure the highest standards of integrity are upheld, other Malaysian universities must also not issue such directives.

On behalf of GERAK,

Rosli Mahat
General Secretary
Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia (GERAK)

Tel: +60166205242

24 August 2017

FMT: Look beyond yourselves, university prof tells academics

“The problem is that these people are thinking of it as a job instead of thinking of it as their calling,” he said. 
“You’re an academic. You hold the country in your hands and you can change the direction of the country, but you don’t realise that. 
“All you care about is your own financial state, but everyone is concerned about that including the ‘pisang goreng’ seller. 
“What makes you different from the ‘pisang goreng’ seller? You’re in a position to change the country, he’s not.”

04 August 2017

Why academics are losing relevance in society – and how to stop it

"Unfortunately, many excellent scientists are poor communicators who lack the skills or inclination to play the role of educator to the public. Further, we are not trained nor are we given proper incentives to do it. And for that reason, surveys find that many academics do not see it as their role to be “an enabler of direct public participation in decision-making through formats such as deliberative meetings, and do not believe there are personal benefits for investing in these activities.” As a result, we focus inward to our own research communities and remain disconnected from important public and political debate going on around us." ........... The Conversation

http://theconversation.com/why-academics-are-losing-relevance-in-society-and-how-to-stop-it-64579

03 August 2017


MOVE supports EI call for the release of Muitaba'a Al Sweikat from Saudi detention

Education International Young SDG Advocates Workshop, Brussels, Belgium July 17-19, 2017
MOVE representative: Robert Jeyakumar, assistant secretary (front, third from left)

https://www.ei-ie.org/en/detail/15259/Young-education-unionists-determined-to-take-the-lead-on-future-of-quality-education

06 July 2017

Media Statement

The Malaysian Academic Movement (Pergerakaan Akademik Malaysia, GERAK) is alarmed by the reported mishandling of the recent sexual assault cases involving two international exchange students in University Malaya. In representing an institution of higher learning, the University Malaya management is responsible for not only ensuring that academic standards be met but also for providing a conducive and safe environment for learning. It is, thus, of paramount importance for an academic institution to handle such cases professionally and ethically.
Undoubtedly, it is important that due process be followed. Nonetheless, this need not be at the expense of denying the rights of a complainant to lodge a police report. A sexual attack is traumatic for any victim as it violates their bodily integrity. The victim is made even more vulnerable by the institution when it fails to protect him/her or provide proper redress.
GERAK urges the University of Malaya management to fulfill its pledge to take such cases seriously, investigate the cases thoroughly, and, if the perpetrators are found guilty, mete out sentences that reflect the severity of the offenses. Sexual assault cases cannot be willed away by sweeping it them under the carpet. This will only send the wrong message that the university only cares for its name and reputation but not the well-being of its very own staff and students. This will also send a wrong signal to perpetrators or potential attackers who will be emboldened to carry on such offenses. It is only when proper and effective measures are taken to prevent and remedy such cases that potential attackers will be deterred and the campus community be reassured that their safety is of utmost concern to the University Malaya management.
GERAK also calls for an investigation into the mishandling of the sexual assault cases to send a message that University Malaya does not condone such unethical and unprofessional action in the name of the University. The alleged sexual assault victims deserve no less than that and it is proper that if the said officers are found to have erred in their actions, the university would be responsible enough to offer an apology to the alleged sexual assault victims who were twice victimized - first, by the perpetrator and, second, by the very institution that is supposed to protect him/her. The university management should expect no less from the members of its community that they be responsible members of society.