HYDERABAD: Osmania University, which will soon be a century old, doles out doctorates in hundreds every year to research scholars without checking their theses for plagiarism by using anti-plagiarism software.
Two years ago, in 2015, the University Grants Commission (UGC) had made it mandatory that a PhD thesis should go through anti-plagiarism software and suggested the software, ‘Urkund’, for the exercise.
But, OU continues to dole out 500 to 600 PhDs every year without subjecting the theses to any computerised plagiarism checks, thereby raising a doubt over the quality of research being produced by the university.
When contacted, university registrar Prof Ch Gopal Reddy said, “We have not yet started using the anti-plagiarism software. Maybe, from the next academic year (2017-18) we will employ the software.”
Student leaders thwarting it?
Plagiarism is a big menace on Indian academic scene. In 2015 the issue was highlighted when it was reported in BMC Medicine e-journal that 42 per cent of fake single-journal publishers are based in India.
Plagiarism is an unreported but serious problem in Osmania University as well, which many senior professors agree to but not admit it openly. A reason cited for non-implementation is pressure from student leaders.
A senior official of the university said, “Many universities in India are using anti-plagiarism software. Universities abroad even develop their own software. OU had sent an official from its library for training in anti-plagiarism software as suggested by the UGC. However, the move was never implemented, one of the reasons being pressure from student leaders.”
Check necessary to maintain standards
University of Hyderabad pro vice-chancellor Prof Vipin Srivastava said, “For maintaining high standards of research and also for building a good image, it is necessary for an educational institution to follow strict anti-plagiarism mechanism. As students have easy access to many research papers and theses on the Internet, they might resort to ‘cut, copy and paste’. While supervisors do a good job, sometimes they might overlook the plagiarised part which is where the software will come into use.”