The first set of regulations were adopted by Indian Government to curb plagiarism in research papers of scholars to ensure that Indian academia is a wellspring of new ideas rather than just borrowed thoughts. While most of the academicians have welcomed the move, some argue that most of the guides of researchers are too lenient to implement these rules and others go way too far to implement stringent measures.
These rules are widespread now as UGC has declared that more than 10% of a plagiarized thesis, article, or a research paper would be liable to a severe punishment according to the extent of plagiarism. Last month these rules were accepted by the University Grants Commission of India (UGC India), which oversees higher education in India.
What do the Specifications Say?
A notice has come up with a four-tiered plan for addressing plagiarism. In its notice, the regulatory body of universities has defined plagiarism in India as ‘the practice of taking someone else’s work or idea and passing them as one’s own.’ It has further stated that similarities up to 10% would not encourage any penalty. If the document of the student contains 10% to 40% plagiarism, then he or she would be required to submit a revised manuscript and will force the faculty members to withdraw the paper.
In a meeting held on March 20, UGC has approved (Promotion of Academic Integrity and Prevention of Plagiarism in Higher Education Institutions) regulations 2018. The notice further stated that 40% to 60% of plagiarism would cause a suspension of the student and his annual pay raise would be forfeited. The concerned faculty would be prohibited from supervising students for 2 years. Students who plagiarize more than 60% of their thesis would be suspended from the programme. The penalty for the faculty member would be a loss of 2 years of pay increases and a 3-year ban.
Instances of Plagiarism in India
Plagiarism has been rotting away India’s academia for years and even renowned academicians have been caught at it. For instance, Pondicherry University vice-chancellor Chandra Krishnamurthy had to quit after a long ruckus with HRD ministry because of the allegation that she plagiarized large parts in one of her books. BS Rajput, the vice-chancellor of Kumaon University, was a chronic plagiarist. Seven Stanford University professors wrote to the erstwhile president, APJ Abdul Kalam about him. Appa Rao Podile, the vice-chancellor of University of Hyderabad, plagiarized three scientific papers.
Effect on Indian Academia
“If there is any complaint of plagiarism against the Head of an HEI, a suitable action, in line with these regulations, will be taken by the Competent Authority/Governing Board/Governing Council as the title may be,” stated the UGC’s notice specifying the punishments against the head of the institutions which are unable to implement the plagiarism rules.
With the increased usage of technology while writing academic papers, the sources of plagiarism have also increased. The Internet has replaced the conventional reference literature material such as books. In the plagiarism from the internet, the student usually doesn’t write footnotes and references etc. The grave plagiarism involves copying of findings and hypothesis from someone else’s research paper. So, determining plagiarism in a hard copy is a difficult aspect of research work. But, stringent measures against the students and faculty responsible for plagiarism suggested by the apex body of universities definitely seems like a ray of hope.