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The high price of academic writing

A COMPANY in central China's Hubei Province is being investigated for selling academic articles - some of them plagiarized, today's Beijing Times reported.

The company, in Hubei's provincial capital Wuhan City, recruited more than 80 writers from more than 10 provinces to help write academic articles for clients and then have them published in academic journals.

But because there is no law governing plagiarism and the sale of academic writing, the local market watchdog has had to charge the company with illegally running a business beyond its permissible limits.

The Wuhan Youda Company was launched in February 2006 and was registered to provide consulting services for culture, education, computers and networks.

Wuhan's Hongshan District market watchdog officials were alerted of the company's operations after receiving a complaint from a college student surnamed Liu from the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Liu said she spent 1,200 yuan (US$175.54)to buy a thesis from Youda. But her tutor refused to pass her after finding out that the thesis was an assembly of information copied from online sites and books.

In a raid on the company, officials saw more than 10 people in the office offering academic articles on phone and online.

The company was very popular with students and teachers who needed academic reports to pass tests for graduation and professional assessments.

In April, it sold 122 academic papers created by more than 30 writers. One of the writers who contributed 20 of the articles had earned 7,690 yuan, officials found.

The company used a detailed workflow chart to operate each order.

The prices varied according to the difficulties of the articles.

A paper for college graduates would cost about 1,000 yuan while a thesis for postgraduate graduates would be sold from 3,500 to 5,000 yuan.

An extra fee of 1,000 yuan was charged for an article that would be published on an ordinary journal, and there was a charge of 2,000 yuan for publication in a core journal.

Youda has close contacts with more than 200 academic journals nationwide, including those involved in education, computers, architecture, technology, social sciences and medicine.


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