Rejecting charges of plagiarism in a paper co-authored by him, prominent scientist C N R Rao today said it was an instance of ''copying'' of a few sentences of text.
"This should not be really considered as plagiarism, but an instance of copying of a few sentences in the text," Rao, Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister, said.
Editorial office of Advanced Materials, which published the paper 'Infrared Photo-detectors Based on Reduced Graphene Oxide and Graphene Nanoribbons' on July 22, 2011, has sought clarifications about "possible overlaps" between it and a paper published in Applied Physics Letters in April 2010.
Besides Rao, the paper has been authored by Indian Institute of Science student Basant Chitara, L S Panchakarla of Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research and IISc Professor S B Krupanidhi.
The clarification was sought by Advanced Materials in a July 28, 2011 letter to Rao and Prof Krupanidhi.
Objecting to the use of the word "plagiarism", Rao said the "copying" took place "because of Chitara".
The student had apologised for copying the sentences, Rao told PTI.
He said the apology was sent long ago soon after the paper was on the Internet but the Editor decided to publish the paper since the scientific content was good.
Chitara had copied one sentence about the advantage of using solution processed material and another on description of a well-known equation from the literature, he said.
"I myself had written to the Editor that it was best to withdraw the paper," Rao said.
He said the paper was written by Prof Krupanidhi and he did not go through it and had no control on the issue.
"I did not directly produce the manuscript which I normally do... The paper seemed perfectly alright except that later we found that in the introduction and in the description of an equation, a few sentences had been taken from a paper published already," he added.