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Saudi University Targets Dutch Academics to Boost Reputation

Part of Wageningen Campus.Photo: Vincent via Wikimedia Commons

Dutch academics have also received lucrative offers from Saudi Arabian universities with the aim of boosting their international rankings. Reported by Volkskrant Saturday.

El Pais reported last week Spanish academics are paid by Saudi universities to lie about their major affiliations and boost their positions in influential Shanghai rankings.

Wageningen University has now launched an investigation into the allegations after it emerged that two Dutch researchers had agreed to the US government’s offer. King Saud Universitysaid VK.

Dutch biologist Jan Willem van Groenigen, who did not follow up on the approach, told Volkskrant that he had been offered €70,000 personally and €50,000 for research. “In the email, they were talking about collaborating in a completely different scientific field than I am,” he is quoted as saying.

According to Van Groenigen, all he had to do was change the name of the institute where he worked most frequently (Wageningen University) to KSU and make KSU its first three-yearly publication. All I had to do was post it on

Volkskrant said several of Van Groenigen’s colleagues were also contacted by KSU and made similar offers that were rejected. Two researchers accepted the offer, according to the paper.

One, food technologist Vincenzo Fogliano, told VK that he had named KSU as the main employer.Highly Cited Researchers List” From 2018 to 2020, he was conducting research with a university following a contract with Saudi Arabia. He said his money was sent to Wageningen and not paid to himself.

“I recognize that it’s a gray area, and I understand that my colleagues would rather not do it,” he said. Plus, I can pay for research and PhD students with that money, so I think it’s worth it.

Fogliano told the paper Wageningen gave the deal permission. The university told his VK that it had launched an investigation.

Former Utrecht professor Teun Boukout also said he had accepted the Saudi offer and received “a lot of money”. He said the money enabled him to continue his studies after his retirement.

KSU did not respond to Volkskrant’s request for comment.

journal science Reported in 2011 Saudi universities, including KSU, offered money in exchange for academic prestige.

https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2023/05/dutch-academics-targeted-by-saudi-university-to-boost-its-reputation/ Saudi University Targets Dutch Academics to Boost Reputation

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