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Imagine a Nobel laureate willing to review research-grant applications for Romania. She or he would first need to learn Romanian, to produce a letter of permission to participate from their university president or department chair, and to upload a declaration on Romania’s platform for grant reviewers (www.brainmap.ro) confirming that they have committed no ethical misdemeanours in the course of their duties in the previous 5 years. These strictures can only lead to the further marginalization and inbreeding of a research system that is hobbled by plagiarism, paltry funds and brain drain.