BANGALORE: Copying in research theses won’t be an easy option for PhD students at Bangalore University from now on. In a few days, the university will have an anti-plagiarism software in place, leaving little room for students to escape notice if they copy others’ work and pass it off as their own.
Prof Ningegowda, Registrar (evaluation) at BU, said the software is being introduced mainly to improve the quality of research.
The university awards over 250 PhDs every year, and around 1,360 candidates are now studying for doctorates in different departments.
The highest number of PhD applicants are in the science and arts faculties, followed by management and engineering.
Question of Borrowed Material
While a few officials maintain that the university may not allow ‘outside’ material as it encourages plagiarism.
Others are of the view that students must be allowed to include a certain percentage of other research.
They point out that Visvesvaraya Technological University allows up to 25 per cent of a thesis to include existing knowledge on the subject. Some universities in the state also allow candidates to include outside material with proper attribution.
Under university norms, students can borrow material under ‘review of literature’.
This is the section at the beginning of a thesis, where students recap the existing knowledge on the subject in the context of what the thesis is trying to prove or probe.
“But we are receiving complaints about increased percentage of borrowed material and we have no other way to verify. Apart from this, we are not going to fix any percentage of outside material,” Ningegowda said.
He said the university is not blaming any professors or guides for instances of copying. “It is the responsibility of the university to take stringent steps to avoid copying in research work,” he said.
Prof T D Kemparaju, who is also on the PhD regulations committee, said BU does not entertain copying.
“We do not even allow photocopying the material. If students want to use borrowed material under review of literature, they need to give references,” he said.
Meanwhile, the university has decided not to allow repetition of theses titles. “If necessary, we will also check the titles registered. We will not allow duplication as it may lead to plagiarism,” Ningegowda added.
The university will issue a notification in a few days for an entrance test to be conducted for registration of PhDs for the current year.
WHAT’S A COPY WORTH?
One case of plagiarism which shocked Bangalore University a few years ago was in the department of sociology. Head of the department, Prof B C Mylarappa, allowed one of his students to copy his own PhD thesis. When the incident came to light, the university withdrew the PhD awarded to the student.