Volume 12 Issue 1 (2016)
Viewpoints & Discussion

Shadow Scholars and the Rise of the Dissertation Service Industry: Can We Maintain Academic Integrity?

Jeffry L. White
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Published April 21, 2016
  • dissertation consulting,
  • thesis consulting,
  • ghostwriting,
  • shadow scholar,
  • academic fraud,
  • plagiarism,
  • academic integrity,
  • graduate education,
  • research education
  • ...More


Notable interest was generated when Dave Tomar’s book, The Shadow Scholar: How I Made a Living Helping College Kids Cheat, was first published. While ghostwriters and paper mills have long been part of the academic landscape, a far more ominous enterprise has appeared that targets master’s and doctoral students seeking assistance with their theses and dissertations. This essay proffers a number of questions for consideration about the services these consulting companies are marketing on the Internet to students across the globe. The article illuminates a rising phenomenon and the potential effects on scholarship, faculty, and universities. It will be of interest to anyone interested in the implications for research education.