State-Run Universities Have No System in Place to Check Plagiarism
A research student studying at any of the state run universities
in Gujarat can today easily get away with a copy-paste job and cheat on assignments.
Reason, the varsities are frozen in the past, refusing to adopt new software and
other aides to check this wrong doing by students. No wonder, in the last decade
various state-run universities have reported only eight instances of plagiarism.
In the internet era, wide choice of eBooks and research papers available on PDF
search engines, finishing a dissertation or a PhD thesis without much effort is
easy as clicking a mouse. However, except for a few elite institutions, none of
the universities in Gujarat are equipped to zero in on students copying paragraphs
or even chapters from somewhere and passing it off as their own. Institutions like
Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad (IIM-A), Cept University, MICA, NID
and SVNIT Surat have subscribed to specialized software to single out plagiarized
works. Software like Turnitin and Viper are run on the electronic versions of the
thesis and project works before awarding students their degrees.
At NID, specialized jury panels analyze creative works of students and pinpoint
plagiarized portions of the work. Cept University this year has put 130 research
works through the software scanner. Today close to 800 students are awarded PhDs
by state-run universities. Almost 70% of these researchers earn a doctorate in chemistry.
Then there are close to 1,500 M.Phil students and 5,000 master’s students, who submit
dissertations as part of their course work. Plagiarism cases, as admitted by respective
vice chancellors, are increasing and in the absence of a policy or a mechanism in
place many research works are passed off without any check. At IIM-A students who
are caught plagiarizing work are given different degrees of punitive measures as
per the extent of plagiarism. Sometimes students have to repeat a semester or an
Instances of plagiarism have dropped considerably in the last few years because
of specialized software as it uses the internet to cross-check research works, said
IIM-A director Samir Barua. He adds that the faculty alerts students against plagiarism
as soon as they join the institute. The students are introduced to a style guide
that our faculty has developed. This orients students on how to write their thesis
and assignments and give due credits, says Barua.
To plagiarize has become increasingly easy in the age of Google Books and Wikipedia
and there will always be some lazy students and researchers who will blindly copy
from online sources without giving them credit. Universities must fight against
this cut-&-paste culture and ensure academic standards do not drop. For years, most
foreign universities have been using software to detect plagiarism. It is about
time Indian educational institutions follow suit.
Turnitin is online software first developed by University of California students
in the early 1990s to detect plagiarism. The software is mostly used in academic
institutes for verifying the originality of research works. When the soft copy of
a work is uploaded to the online software, it gives out a report. The result will
tell what percentage of the total work has been copied from other published works
and provides a detailed list of the lines or paragraphs that have been copied. The
report will also tell if the due credit has been given to source.
Courtesy: Times of India