I read Daniel’s LIBOR for the universities? with great interest, not least because I think the central thesis…

Bankers have had their day under scrutiny. But so have Members of Parliament (expenses scandal). So have journalists (phone hacking). So has the Church (paedophilia cover-ups). So has the BBC (ditto). This isn’t a specific issue about financial sector corruption. It’s a general trend, one of gradual social re-assessment of whether the fiddles and skeletons of the past are going to be tolerated in the future.

…is spot on, even translating it across the Atlantic.

However, I think his LIBOR comparison is a bit too literal, his scandals in potentia all hinging on system-gaming. In the U.S., kiting of research assessment and post-grad employment is small beer. Senior faculty claiming authorship is already regarded as a personal rather than systemic crime. U.S. New and World Report is simply making the previously tacit prestige ranking visible to the public. (I forget if it was Billy the Kid or Sun Yat-sen who said that academic politics is so vicious because the stakes are so low, but they both had a point.)

Nevertheless, I think there is a scandal brewing, though, like all academic change, it is moving slowly. That scandal is tied to growing realization that professors do far less teaching than the average citizen imagines.
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Hiding in Plain Sight (I)

by Maria on June 8, 2015

Daniel wrote recently about prima facie scandalous behaviours in academics, drawing a parallel with banking cultures pre-Crash. Pointing out that while activities like taking credit for grad students’ work or blatantly gaming independent review mechanisms may in some cases seem rational and even acceptable behaviour within certain academic circles, once these things are exposed to the light of day as, say LIBOR rate-fixing was, they appear rightly scandalous. Heads roll. It’s only a matter of time, therefore, before UK academics join the police, journalists and politicians and find the ‘but everybody does it’ excuse does not wash when you’re on the front page of a newspaper.
One commenter in that long, long thread asked how something can become a scandal when everyone already knows about it. Something everybody already knows about is the very definition of a scandal.

Let me draw your attention to some things that everybody knows or knew about. [click to continue…]