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Online term paper writing service believes impersonator used Alberta minister's name and credentials

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Alberta minister Demetrios Nicolaides in April, 2020. Image: Demetrios Nicolaides​/Facebook

An online custom term paper writing service called UnemployedProfessors.com says it now believes a contract writer listed on its website under the name and credentials of Alberta's minister of advanced education is an impersonator.

After references to the "unemployed professor profile" in the name of Demetrios Nicolaides cropped up on Twitter Saturday, Nicolaides tweeted that "I appreciate this false information being brought to my attention. I will be contacting the website to flag this fraudulent activity."

The website's administrator responded to a query from AlbertaPolitics.ca Sunday night saying the site was contacted by two individuals about Nicolaides' name and, "so far we believe that the person on the site was impersonating this individual."

"We requested couple of documents from both parties and so far it looks like the person who was registered on our site as a prof was perhaps impersonating someone else through the credentials he listed," the message, signed "Admin," continued.

UnemployedProfessors.com says on its website that "we only hire current and former academics or graduate students who teach their own classes; all with advanced graduate degrees."

It also promises, "All of our ghost writers' credentials are objectively verified prior to their acceptance."

The message said, "we are going to investigate further," but "for now" the name of the unemployed professor on the page has been changed from Demetrios Nicolaides to "PROF WILFRED."

As of last night, though, the page was posted on UnemployedProfessors.com under the new name but was otherwise unchanged and still using Nicolaides' credentials.

Whoever the author of the "ghostwritten" papers was, he or she seems to have received mostly good reviews from customers between June 2019 and last week. Only a couple of employed professors seem to have flagged their unhappy students' offerings as plagiarism.

The service, which says its writers bid on work requests submitted by customers, costs US$10-25 per page for term papers, dissertations and other research documents. Needless to say, such an approach to research is frowned upon in academic circles.

Nicolaides' credentials are posted on his LinkedIn account.

In addition to his University of Calgary undergraduate degree completed in 2006, he has a master of arts degree in peace and conflict studies granted in 2009 by the European Peace University, a private institution in Stadtschlaining, Austria, and a PhD in political science from the University of Cyprus.

In July 2013, according to the European Peace University's Wikipedia entry, the institution's private-university accreditation was withdrawn by the Austrian government's academic accreditation body. A link on the Wikipedia page to a website for the institution indicates it is now operating in Costa Rica.

The University of Cyprus in Nicosia, capital of the island republic in the eastern Mediterranean, is according to its Wikipedia page mostly restricted to Cypriot citizens or those with at least one parent of Cypriot origin. A small number of positions "can be claimed by Greeks of the Diaspora" and others.

Typically, unlike their counterparts on this continent, European doctoral students only write a dissertation and are not normally required to fulfill additional course requirements, pass comprehensive exams or teach undergraduate students.

David Climenhaga, author of the Alberta Diary blog, is a journalist, author, journalism teacher, poet and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions at The Globe and Mail and the Calgary Herald. This post also appears on his blog, AlbertaPolitics.ca.

Image: Demetrios Nicolaides​/Facebook

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