The University Grants Commission (UGC), Ministry of Human Resource Development has released a Public Notice [No. F. 1-18/2010(CPP-II)] dated 1st September regarding Drafting Regulations against Plagiarism. The official notice mentions that a Committee of experts had looked into the issues of Plagiarism and recommended some institutional mechanism to remove the scope of Plagiarism in higher education system in the country. The Committee highlighted on the requirements of putting proper systems to curb this menace.
The main purpose of the draft: The UGC has released the Draft (Promotion of Academic Integrity and Prevention of Plagiarism in Higher Education Institutions) Regulations, 2017 with the focus to build academic understanding about responsible conduct of research. The draft proposes to build systems to identify plagiarism and to avoid the wrongdoings such as plagiarism in academic writing. It proposes to punish a student, faculty or staff of HEI who indulges in the act of Plagiarism.
As per the draft regulations, academic wrongdoing by a student might result in termination of his/ her registration for the course. The same wrongdoing by a teacher will direct to end of his/ her annual increments and banning of research publication for a specific time period. The draft reveals zero tolerance in core plagiarism area of research, while it offers to move down the bar of copied work from existing 30% to 10% in non-core areas.
In case of all other (non-core) areas, plagiarism has been calculated into different levels with copying permission from the work of other authors up to 10 percent. If above 10% plagiarism is found, the penalty would be forced.
Academicians has welcomed the draft but condemned the UGC’s proposal to lower bar of plagiarism from 30% to 10% and harsh penalties on faculty and researchers for academic wrongdoings.
Ganesh Kawadia, the chairman of the Ph.D. cell at Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya said, “With references, a Ph.D. student is presently allowed to copy up to 30 percent of content from other author’s work. If that percentage is reduced to 10, it will be difficult for many candidates to complete their theses. On this point, I am on dispute with UGC.”
Mangal Mishra, Cloth Market Girls College principal said, “Imposing ban on research publication by an errant faculty is okay but stopping his/ her increment will lead to discouraging them. The UGC’s move would result in the production of original research work which will be beneficial the society as a whole.”
Awareness Programs and Training: The draft instructs every Higher Education Institute to train students, faculty, and staff regarding proper acknowledgment, taking necessary permission of the author when needed, awareness of compatible sources in accordance with the rules and regulations of the source. The HEIs will also have to conduct seminars and awareness programs on good conduct of research, assignment, thesis, project work, dissertation, promotion of academic integrity, and ethics in education for students, faculty along with other members of academic staff.
The concerned institutes have also been asked to apply sufficient software and other mechanisms to make sure that thesis or any other such submitted documents are free of plagiarism. The HEIs shall comprise the basic principles of academic integrity as a compulsory course work in the syllabus of Undergraduate/ Postgraduate/ Master’s degree and publication ethics for M. Phil. and Ph.D. Scholars. There should be good conduct of research and publication ethics in Orientation and Refresher Courses prepared for faculty along with other academic staff.
The students will have to present an undertaking that the submitted document is an original work by him/her only. The Institutes need to build a policy on plagiarism and get it approved by the appropriate legal body of the University. Further, the Institutes also need to submit soft copies of all M. Phil. and Ph.D dissertations on INFLIBNET. The Institutes have to form an Academic Misconduct Panel (AMP) to examine any accusation of plagiarism and submit the report to the Plagiarism Disciplinary Authority (PDA) of the concerned institute.
In the Draft, different penalties for students and teachers have been mentioned accordingly. With the advent of these upcoming regulations into action, obtaining doctoral research degree from HEIs would get harder; also the research publications would decline. But what remains in the brighter spot – is the increased quality of research papers.
UGC has invited feedback and comments on the draft from stakeholders, which can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org on or before 30th September 2017.