GAYA: Grappling with complaints of plagiarism and recycling of PhD thesis to obtain the coveted doctoral degree in a fraudulent manner, Magadh University (MU) will now go for a ‘Shodhganga’ test of the dissertations before the award of degrees.
The state vigilance investigation bureau is investigating the award of several hundred PhD degrees between 2011 and 2015 to foreigners in an allegedly fraudulent manner. Most of them were awarded degree allegedly through the ‘cut-paste’ mechanism applied through hired professionals without even visiting the university campus.
Non-teaching employees of the university supervised PhD work in gross violation of UGC rules that entitle only working professors, associate professors and assistant professors to supervise research for PhD degree. Even retired professors are not eligible to supervise PhD work.
MU vice-chancellor Prof Qamar Ahsan said he had directed examination department officials to ensure ‘Shodhganga’ test for PhD dissertations to ensure originality of work and prevent plagiarism, a serious and punishable offence.
‘Shodhganga’ is a reservoir of Indian thesis in a digital repository of theses and dissertations submitted to Indian universities. Its digital data bank contains more than one lakh PhD theses and dissertations submitted in 300 universities across the country. The digital repository is maintained by INFLIBNET (Information and Library Network), an autonomous inter-university centre of the UGC.
Once put to the special software that detects plagiarism, the system identifies the original source from where the matter has been stealthily obtained without proper acknowledgement. In MU, the practice of recycling the same thesis with minor cosmetic changes for obtaining PhD degrees is fairly common.
PhD dissertations from universities like Allahabad are frequently copied by Science stream PhD degree aspirants. “Recently the ‘Shodhganga’ software found that 401 of the 465 PhD dissertations submitted by PhD students of a university during the last two years were plagiarised,” said a source.
Way back in 2009, the UGC issued guidelines to check plagiarism by uploading the dissertations on the designated site. Universities of the state, including MU, have been reluctant to comply with UGC-initiated measures to ensure quality research.