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Old 30th September 2010, 05:34   #1
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Default Is plagiarism by an academician a punishable offence?

Dear BHPians

I came across this news in The Telegraph early in the morning and was shocked.

The Telegraph - Calcutta (Kolkata) | Northeast | Plagiarism slur on Gauhati University teacher

I am not so naive to think that such things never happen but in this case an act of plagiarism had gone unpunished in the past and 3 years hence the same person has repeated the act in an in-house journal of his University.

My question is, is there any law that stipulates some sort of punishment for acts of plagiarism in education and research related publications? What about the copyright act in case of unacknowledged line by line extracts from some other's previously published work?
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Old 30th September 2010, 07:54   #2
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Yes, Plagiarism is punishable but the legal implication is minimal. The penalty is purely in academia, they are considered serious under university regulations and punished by suspension and is a permanent black mark on ones academic career. Though I don't think this matters much in India.
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Old 30th September 2010, 08:34   #3
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While submitting research work for a conference/journal, if the reviewer finds out that the work is plagiarised, the author can be black-listed and his any work may be accepted in any other submission.

Hence the role of the reviewer is very crucial. There may not a legal implication, but loosing esteem is a big thing in academics.
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Old 30th September 2010, 10:02   #4
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Unfortunately, it is widespread. It is not easily actionable in law, only in personal standing. But we have a habit of forgive and forget. Also, if it is the high and mighty who do it then considerations of career damage may force the victim to stay quiet.
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Old 30th September 2010, 10:10   #5
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Only issue is many "newbies" think google is research. One can find work reported at obscure places and non-refereed conferences / journals, which people find easy to copy.
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Old 30th September 2010, 14:20   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tortoiseNhare View Post
My question is, is there any law that stipulates some sort of punishment for acts of plagiarism in education and research related publications? What about the copyright act in case of unacknowledged line by line extracts from some other's previously published work?
Under the Copyright Act, 1957, knowingly infringing someone's copyright constitutes an offence and is punishable with imprisonment of up to three years and fine of up to Rs. 2 lacs. Apart from that, the infringer would also be liable under civil law to pay damages to the copyright holder should he/she also decide to file a civil case. Cases of plagiarism in the field of academics are common and usually never reach the court or police since high commercial stakes aren't usually involved, unlike copyright works like novels, music or movies. For plagiarism to amount to copyright infrigement (and hence actionable under the Copyright Act), there should be substantial and material reproduction of the original work.

Universities in developed countries lay down strict guidelines for students and researchers regarding how to write and publish articles/papers without infringing others' works.
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Old 30th September 2010, 14:27   #7
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It is not only punishable in law but departmental action is also taken against the accused. Though I admit the punishment is seldom severe but yes action is indeed taken. I look after the vigilance department in my office and in the past 2 years of me being here we have taken action against 3 cases where the punishment ranged from stopping of one increment to 3 increments and at one time it was done with cumulative effect.
The quantum depends on the gravity. If another persons work is passed off as yours it is considered more severe than getting your work published in 2 journals separately.
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Old 30th September 2010, 17:05   #8
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I came across a story on an international site in which a university student's paper was entirely copied/plagarized by his PROFESSOR!!! (and the student ofcourse was given no credit).

I was pretty shocked to read that, until i learned that it was in India

Link : Prof. has published our paper in his name.

cya
R
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Old 30th September 2010, 17:26   #9
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I will relate an incident here. I had taken a Discrete Manufacturing course along with probably 35 others. 20 of us were Asians and the rest American's. We had a term paper to write of our choice on the subject. We submitted the papers at the end of the term to a professor who had cutting edge research done on the subject. Instead of getting our grades back at the next class, we were told by the Professor that only 17 of us would get grades and the retst would be called in for a discussion by the ombudsman. When people finally realized what happened and accepted that they had engaged in plagiarism, it was just very lucky that this professor gave them another chance on the paper and decided not to report them. I shudder to think what would have actually happened to the select few should he have reported them. Black mark on a research student's history.

Last edited by NevGin : 30th September 2010 at 17:31.
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Old 30th September 2010, 18:13   #10
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Copying from one source is plagarism.

Copying from several is research.

If he copied form just one service, obviously, he ought to be punished.
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Old 30th September 2010, 23:52   #11
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Forget this.

Heard about Shiv Khera's case. He made millions selling plagiarist stuff.
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Old 1st October 2010, 08:27   #12
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There is another aspect to this:

1. Research programs in tier-2/3 institutes do not have faculty to guide students for regular courses, forget guiding them for research.

2. Faculty at such places themselves are under fire to complete a PHD to gain promotions (This is as per UGC/GOI norms). (Needless to say, many are not PHd themselves).

3. Such faculty themselves may not know, how to conduct research and publish.

4. I have reviewed many such submissions and really felt bad for those guys. Its not that they want to copy, but more so, they dont know the right method to work in this model.
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Old 1st October 2010, 10:47   #13
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Since ampere brought in UGC and its policies,

I am afraid that our mindsets is not geared towards original thinking.

I was a teacher handling practical training for final semester students at a professional course once upon a time. And I was handling practicals. Since I was a practising professional, I put together some scenarios from real life, and asked the students to solve them. (If the "customer" approaches you with these problems, what you do?)

Having looked into books for all answers, the students ran into brick walls. They were looking at canned answers. They ran to other teachers for help. Except for couple of teachers, all went into a tizzy. The general reaction was "hey, this is practise, we are dealing with theory"!!!.


And I had the misfortune of attending "open defences" of theses submitted by Ph. D. Candidates. Their knowledge of area in which they submitted their thesis was pathetic.

And then, there was a lady, mother of two, attending a PG course. A general nuisance, requiring guidance everywhere, and hailing from a reasonably well off background, I once asked her, "what makes you do this course"? She smiled a strange "you are the only one who does not know" kind of smile.

And once, a university invited applications for a full time post, and strangely, everybody around me were disinterested. I asked why, and they too gave me the "youa re the only one not to know" kind of smile. On persisting, I was told that the post is "reserved" for somebody I know.

She is the head of department at that university. Nothing less.

I said goodbye to academics.
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Old 1st October 2010, 13:21   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
There is another aspect to this:

1. Research programs in tier-2/3 institutes do not have faculty to guide students for regular courses, forget guiding them for research.

2. Faculty at such places themselves are under fire to complete a PHD to gain promotions (This is as per UGC/GOI norms). (Needless to say, many are not PHd themselves).

3. Such faculty themselves may not know, how to conduct research and publish.

4. I have reviewed many such submissions and really felt bad for those guys. Its not that they want to copy, but more so, they dont know the right method to work in this model.
In this reported case none of the above seem to apply because the professor in question has a Ph.D. from Edinburgh and Post Doctoral research experience in Edinburgh and Zurich universities. See this:

Department*of*M a t h e m a t i c s
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Old 1st October 2010, 13:47   #15
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This has been an issue in the university i have been from. No offence but usually asians are the ones who hardly care about the rule while the americans are sticklers for this. So its a major shift for us to go from not revealing source while writing papers to actually stating each sentence which has been quoted and where the numbers we have shown has come from.

To top this there was a case in the B school belonging to our university. An assignment was handed out and about 18 students did it together. The proff got to know about the same. When he enquired the students owned up thinking they would be let off with a warning but they were suspended from the program.

Be smart if your doing it and atleast put some effort. Taapna math!!
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