Wageningen University punishes professor who gave undue credit to Saudi university
A professor of food quality at Wageningen University has been reprimanded, and will also lose his chair for a period of two years. While he was employed at Wageningen, Vincenzo Fogliano named a university in Saudi Arabia as the primary employer in academic publications.
The country approached researchers and made payments for this distinction in order to rise in prestigious scientific and academic rankings. De Volkskrant published an article about the practice at the beginning of the month, and named Fogliano and others in their report. The University of Wageningen then started an investigation.
The university’s rector magnificus, Arthur Mol, said in a statement that he is shocked and disappointed. "Fogliano was warned in 2018 about this type of transaction. He nevertheless [again] adjusted his affiliation. He acted incorrectly and thus inflicted damaged on the integrity of science at Wageningen University & Research. That cannot be without consequences."
Fogliano will remain a professor, but if he makes another mistake he will be fired, said Mol. The rector magnificus also serves as the vice-president of the university’s executive board.
Saudi Arabia has approached at least six scientists at Wageningen, but only Fogliano responded, the university said. In his scientific articles he wrote that he worked for King Saud University in the Saudi Arabia capital of Riyadh. Such articles are used to measure a university’s influence.
Wageningen University said it has received a total of 146,000 euros from King Saud University. That money was to be used to have a PhD student conduct research into the quality of food.
There are no indications that Fogliano himself accepted money, according to Wageningen University.
Reporting by ANP