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Javadekar warns against plagiarism in research, introduces new policy

The Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Shri Prakash Javadekar addressing at the convocation ceremony of the TERI University, in New Delhi on November 04, 2016.

If any research scholar plagiarizes research work or paper, they will have to pay a heavy price. If the plagiarizer happens to be a teacher, they may also lose their jobs. The University Grants Commission (UGC) has issued a notification titled “Promotion of Academic Integrity and Prevention of Plagiarism in Higher Educational Institutions Regulations, 2018”, according to which, if a research paper is found to contain plagiarized content, the teacher will be sacked and the scholar’s registration will be cancelled – even if the degree has already been awarded.

The University Grants Commission

The notification says that if the content in the PhD thesis of a scholar is found to be plagiarized, his registration may be cancelled. In such cases, the teacher concerned may also lose his job. The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) has approved the notification issued by the UGC. The UGC had issued the draft regulations in September last year.

Teachers to be reined in

The regulations quantify plagiarism. If the plagiarized content is less than 10 per cent, no penalty will be imposed. If such content is above 10 per cent but less than 40 per cent, the scholar will have to submit a revised copy within six months; if it is more than 40 per cent but less than 60 per cent, they will be debarred from submitting a revised copy for a year. In case it is more than 60 per cent, registration will be cancelled.

If plagiarism is proved after the degree is awarded, the degree may be put in abeyance for a stipulated period.

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A report noted that in reply to an RTI query, the HRD ministry has revealed that Dr Chandra Krishnamurthi, former vice-chancellor of Pondicherry University; Prof Vinay Kumar Pathak, vice-chancellor of APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University; and Dr Anil Kumar Upadhaya of a Varanasi-based University have been found guilty of awarding fake PhD degrees.

Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar speaking at a convocation

In case of a member of the faculty of an institution of higher learning, if the plagiarized content is between 10 and 40 per cent, he will be asked to withdraw the manuscript submitted for publication and will not be allowed to publish any work for a minimum period of one year. If the plagiarized content is between 40 and 60 per cent of the work, he will be asked to withdraw the manuscript and will not be allowed to publish any work for a minimum period of three years. He will also be denied the right to one annual increment and not be allowed to be a supervisor to any MPhil or PhD student for a period of two years. If the plagiarized content exceeds 60 per cent, the faculty member may be placed under suspension or his services terminated.

The notification says that the universities will train students, scholars and the faculty to use certified plagiarism detection tools.

Also Read: How effective is government’s PhD criterion for university teachers going to be?

The Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar indicated in June that the ministry was going to take tough measures against plagiarism in research. He said that no one could be allowed to use someone’s PhD thesis to complete their own theses. He said as such cases were growing, the government had decided to use “Turnitin” software to clamp down on plagiarism; this software would be provided free to all the universities and would also be made available on the UGC website. He also added that under the Imprint Scheme, research projects would be awarded to private universities too.

(Translation: Amrish Herdenia)


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