Serious penalties for plagiarism in research

Panel set up by UGC

 In a major effort to discourage researchers from plagiarism, a high-level committee has suggested severe punishments including salary cuts and even dismissal in the case of a university faculty. 

The panel, set up by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and headed by former Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur director Sanjay Dhande, is finalising regulations including punishments for plagiarising doctoral and post-doctoral thesis and academic papers by students and teachers of institutions, sources told Deccan Herald. 

“Before submitting doctoral or post doctoral thesis as well as research paper for publication in journals, students and research scholars will have to undertake in writing that their work is original and free from any plagiarism. The draft of the thesis of a student will only be read by the supervisor concerned after they take such an undertaking,” sources said. 

If a plagiarised paper appears in a journal with the name of the research guide as one of the co-authors, then even the supervisor can be punished. 

The panel will recommend use of software to identify plagiarism in thesis, several of which are currently available in the market. 

The Dhande panel is likely to finalise the regulations along with penal provisions for both “minor and major” cases of plagiarism and submit it before the UGC for its approval within six weeks, sources added. 

The panel has identified four different sets of plagiarism prevalent in higher education sector. “One is where some sentences are cut and pasted without acknowledging the author from where it has been lifted.

The second level is where diagram, bar card, pie-chart and thematic (graphics and visuals that go with a paper) are copied without taking the permission from the original author or the publisher,” sources said. 

Lifting data from another published work and incorporating them in their papers and claiming conclusions and discoveries made by other researchers as their own are the third and fourth levels of plagiarism, sources added. 

“So the crime is there. But, there has to be different punishment for different level of offence. It cannot be same for all. The Committee is working on it,” sources said. 

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