Researchers who indulge in plagiarism may lose their registration and teachers who do so could lose their jobs.

 

With University Grants Commission (UGC) approving a draft regulation to check plagiarism in higher education, academicians have stressed for “originality” in research.

As per the UGC draft regulation, student researchers who plagiarise may lose their registration and teachers who do so could lose their jobs. The UGC (Promotion of Academic Integrity and Prevention of Plagiarism in Higher Education Institutions) regulations 2018, will be notified after approval by the Union Human Resource Development Ministry. There have been several plagiarism charges against vice-chancellors and teachers in the last few years.

Luminaries from the academic world discussed the issue threadbare at “Academic and Research Integrity Conclave” in the capital this week. Anil D. Sahasrabudhe, chairman of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), said that the faculty and researchers indulging in plagiarism will be punished as per the new UGC regulations, which he termed as a “positive aspect of the change” which has happened in India’s higher education system.

Emphasising on excellence to be achieved through integrity, he said rote learning must be discouraged and students need to become “original thinkers”. The AICTE, he said, vouched for a change in the examination system, which needs to have a vision for evaluating the outcome of education and learning. The conclave was organised by Turnitin, which has been providing academic integrity solutions globally for over 20 years.

Most of the academicians lamented that the present system does not promote “originality”. They also said that though there is a lack of good research in India, it is also a fact that there is no dearth of talent/intelligence here, as the same Indian, when he goes to other countries like the US, UK or Australia, does a very good job in research.

As per draft regulations, in the case of students, plagiarism of up to 10% would not invite any penalty, while that between 10% and 40% would mean the students would have to submit a revised research paper within six months. However, in case the similarities are between 40% and 60%, students will be debarred from submitting a revised paper for one year. A student’s registration for a programme may be cancelled if the similarities are above 60%.

In the case of teachers, when academic and research papers have similarities ranging from 10% to 40% with other papers, they will be asked to withdraw the manuscript. In case the similarities are between 40% and 60%, they will not be allowed to supervise new Masters/MPhil/PhD students for two years. Repeat plagiarism of over 60% similarity will result in the suspension of the faculty members.

Prof Rajen Gupta of MDU Gurugram said the quest should be driven by internal urge. “We don’t innovate methods; rather we just follow what is being done outside like in US. Unless we innovate, we cannot bring about originality in research works.” Prof K.L. Chopra, former director of IIT Kharagpur, spoke about the exchange of ideas among Indian academicians. He said faculty members of IIT Delhi and JNU do agreements with many foreign institutions, but they hardly interact among themselves despite the fact that the two institutions are located close by.

Marc Daubach, CRO and SVP-Customer Success, Turnitin, said, “Technology tools can assist in promoting academic integrity but these are not complete solutions. The best scenario is when technology assists bigger cultural commitment in an institution. Technology might assist in discovering academic misconduct through plagiarism and authorship. But when technology tools are weaved into holistic academic integrity solution, they have the power to help promote cultural change.”

 

 

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