UGC comes up with tough norms for plagiarism

Plagiarism will now cost a higher education student dear with the University Grants Commission (UGC) coming up with regulations providing for the cancellation of such student's registration to research level programmes in cases where more than 60% of the content of their thesis and dissertations are found to have been similar to somebody else's work.

Faculty members of the universities and colleges would also not be spared. They will face cut in their annual increment and even lose their job if they are found guilty of plagiarism in the publication of academic and research papers.

The higher education regulator notified the UGC (Promotion of Academic Integrity and Prevention of Plagiarism in Higher Educational Institutions) Regulations, 2018 on Friday. The regulations come into effect from July 23.

Plagiarism in research and other academic works is believed to be rampant in the country, even though the number of proved cases of such academic misconduct has been very low.

The UGC regulations seek to deal with the menace of plagiarism in higher education and research with an iron hand and promote academic integrity in the country's universities and colleges.

While the regulations make it mandatory for all higher education institutions to use a software to detect plagiarism before submission of the papers, it provides for the award of varying degrees of punishments to those found guilty of plagiarism.

In case of a student's thesis and dissertations having more than 10% to 40% contents similar to that of somebody else's work, he or she has to submit a revised script within six months. A student “shall be” debarred from submitting a revised script for a period of one year if the similarity in the content is above 40% to 60%.

“In case of similarities above 60%, student's registration for that programme shall be cancelled,” the regulations provide.

In case of more than 10% to 40% plagiarism in academic and research publications, the faculty members and researchers concerned will be asked to withdraw their manuscript.

In case the plagiarism is above 40% to 60%, the faculty member or researcher concerned “shall be” denied a right to one annual increment. They will also be barred from being a supervisor to any new Master’s, MPhil, PhD student/scholar for a period of two years.

If the plagiarism in the papers are found to be more than 60%, the teacher or researcher concerned will be denied two successive annual increments. They would also be barred from being a supervisor to any new Master’s, M.Phil., PhD student/scholar for a period of three years.

“In case the level 3 offence (more than 60% plagiarism) is repeated, the disciplinary action including suspension/termination as per service rules shall be taken by the HEI,” the UGC regulations provide.

If the charge of plagiarism is proved against a teacher or a researcher on a date later than the date of benefit or credit obtained through the publication, his or her benefit or credit “shall be” put in abeyance for a period recommended by Institutional Academic Integrity Panel and approved by the head of the institution concerned.

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