Indonesian university dean dismissed, barred from teaching, asked to apologize

Kumba Digdowiseiso

Kumba Digdowiseiso has been dismissed from his position as dean of the economics and business faculty at the Universitas Nasional (UNAS) in Jakarta, Indonesia, following an investigation into claims he used the names of other academics without consent on papers with which they were not involved. 

Digdowiseiso had already announced his resignation from the university on April 19, a week after Retraction Watch reported several researchers from the Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) were accusing Digdowiseiso of using their names on papers without permission

At the time, the university’s official account on X had reposted Digdowiseiso’s response to our report in a now-deleted tweet from April 11. In the tweet, Digdowiseiso wrote that after an internal meeting with UMT, the institution decided the authorship allegations were “a personal issue” and therefore didn’t need “further intervention/action from both universities or even faculties.” Another UNAS tweet from April 14 that is still online does not include this paragraph. 

Now, a team UNAS formed to investigate the issue the same day he resigned found several “incriminating” factors and concluded Digdowiseiso “committed a misconduct of academic ethics, scientific propriety, as well as integrity violation as a lecturer,” according to a university press release. The team recommended his dismissal from his position as dean, and has barred him from lecturing at UNAS for a maximum of three years. 

Digdowiseiso had previously contested our reporting as “one-sided” and said publishing it, as well as his photo, without his permission was “completely wrong.” 

According to the press release, Digdowiseiso will be required to publicly apologize to the affected lecturers at UMT, remove their names from the implicated papers and pursue retractions for those articles. The affected UMT researchers we had previously spoken to have not responded to requests for comment. 

The investigating team opted against harsher penalties, on the grounds this incident was his “first offence and [he] never has been found to commit any other violations.”

They added they may review the decision if Digdowiseiso shows “good academic ethics”. The press release also stated Digdowiseiso did not include the flagged papers in his application for a professorship. 

After we asked him to comment on the developments, Digdowiseiso wrote: 

I am unable to comment on the results of the TPF [the investigating team formed by UNAS] and Chancellor’s decisions. You may request information from UNAS as an institution, which I am unable to provide.

TPF only contacted me for explanation once, on April 27, 2024. The clarification lasted three hours, and TPF did not ask for any additional information. TPF then summoned witnesses and reported the findings to the Chancellor.

Throughout the development of this case, I did not speak to the media and protected UNAS as an institution because I wanted the issue to be settled properly.

I have submitted an application to become inactive as a permanent lecturer at UNAS on May 14, 2024. Moreover, in compliance with the Chancellor’s direction, I already apologized to UMT for procedural errors and miscommunication in a letter dated May 22, 2024.

Finally, I ask that you not escalate this problem because we want to resolve it appropriately.

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2 thoughts on “Indonesian university dean dismissed, barred from teaching, asked to apologize”

  1. Goodness. It took all that embarassing coverage in Retraction Watch & also in the media for this guy’s university to finally do something about this problem. I really feel for the junior faculty at the other university whose names were used on papers without their consent. And now they will have retractions associated with their names, which will appear potentially as black marks against them. All because they did the right thing and had the courtesy of meeting with a guest from another university… Wow. Just wow.

  2. We wander why ,what prompted an educated pe
    Rson to do what he did.n the consequences are devastating ..,not worth at all.journalist should dwell into this

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