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Assistant finance professor leaves SMU after allegedly making false claims about academic writing

SINGAPORE — Singapore Management University (SMU) is reviewing its vetting procedures on academic writing after an assistant professor of finance was found to have falsified academic claims.

Assistant finance professor leaves SMU after allegedly making false claims about academic writing
A photograph of Ms Margaret Zhu, a former assistant professor at SMU, from her LinkedIn page.

SINGAPORE — Singapore Management University (SMU) is reviewing its vetting procedures on academic writing after an assistant professor of finance was found to have falsified academic claims.

According to an SMU spokesperson on Friday (May 6), Ms Margaret Zhu's employment with the university ceased with effect from May 1.

"The university had sought to validate some concerns we had in this particular case and we concluded that some of the individual’s academic claims were not accurate," said the spokesperson. 

The university did not say if Ms Zhu had resigned or was fired. 

When TODAY tried to view Ms Zhu's academic profile on Friday, the page was unable to load.

According to Ms Zhu's LinkedIn page, she joined SMU in July 2021, and was formerly an assistant professor of finance for The Chinese University of Hong Kong from September 2019 to July 2021, and an assistant professor for City University of Hong Kong from August 2011 to August 2019.

Ms Zhu's departure from SMU was first reported by The Business Times on Friday. 

She had allegedly lied about receiving conditional acceptances for two papers, titled "Real Effects of Corporate Hedging" and "Corporate Derivatives Hedging in the Past Two Decades", from the Journal of Finance and Review of Financial Studies respectively.

However, emails between blogger Christopher Brunet and the two publications revealed that Ms Zhu's papers had not been accepted by either.

Mr Brunet had first brought to light Ms Zhu's falsified claims after a tip-off from a thread on Economics Job Market Rumours, according to The Business Times.

The Chinese University of Hong Kong, where Ms Zhu was previously employed, has also removed mentions of the two publications she previously claimed to have been conditionally accepted.

The SMU spokesperson said: "SMU adheres to strict standards in its faculty hiring processes as the quality of faculty at SMU is paramount to the university’s efforts in delivering a high-quality SMU education and conducting leading-edge research. We expect faculty to demonstrate integrity in their conduct.

"SMU will review our vetting procedures on academic writing and address any gaps to prevent such incidents from recurring."

TODAY has sought comment from Ms Zhu.

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