CSIR scientific fraud shocking

CSIR scientific fraud shocking

A case of scientific fraud which has come light in a Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) laboratory has again highlighted a serious problem that exists in many research and academic institutions. The case also had a positive side because the CSIR took strict and immediate action against those involved in fake research and professional misconduct. A senior scientist and his doctoral student in the CSIR’s Chandigarh-based Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH) were found to have cooked up research data and published papers based on them in international journals. After the fraud became known, three papers have been retracted and others are expected to be retracted. The CSIR did well to summarily dismiss the scientist and to deny him his pension benefits. Though it may have been the student who actually faked data, created results and wrote papers based on them, the research was done under the professor. His knowledge of and even connivance in the fraud has been established.

The case has raised many issues which need to be addressed by India’s science research institutions. It is believed that such fraudulent practices are not uncommon. Some years ago, a professor of geology in Punjab University had planted fossils, stolen from a museum, in the Himal-ayas and claimed to have discovered them. There are other cases too. Instances of plagiarism are much more common both in science and humanities. Doctoral theses of even senior academics have been found to have stolen material from unacknowledged sources. All this creates doubts about the genuineness and credibility of research undertaken in the country. This affects not only the country’s image but hurts the prospects of honest and serious students. The IMTECH fraud was detected by a US scientist in whose lab the student who committed the fraud went for further research.

The editor of one of the journals which published the papers has said it is not always easy to detect fabrication of data. The fraudulent papers had been peer reviewed by experts and have been published since 2013. But it is true that sooner or later such fraudulent conduct would be exposed and those involved in them would have to pay
the price. Personal honesty and integrity are important not only life but in the pursuit of professions too. More effective institutional mechanisms in academic and research institutions are needed to supervise the work of students and others and eliminate the chances of cheating. This is all the more important because the country has to improve its standards of higher education and research.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)