Pune: While the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has been emphasising on more quality research in colleges, universities, research centres and other educational institutes, the University Grants Commissiion (UGC) has now formulated new regulations named ‘University Grants Commission (Promotion of Academic Integrity and Prevention of Plagiarism in Higher Educational Institutions) regulations, 2018’.
Under these regulations, all higher educational institutions (HEIs) have been instructed to install mechanisms to curb plagiarism and create awareness about the malpractice among students and researchers.
UGC has stated in the regulations that assessment of academic and research, leading to the partial fulfillment for the award of degrees at Masters and Research level, by a student or faculty or researcher or staff, in the form of thesis, dissertation and publication of research papers, chapters in books, full-fledged books and any other similar work, reflects the extent to which elements of academic integrity and originality are observed in various relevant processes adopted by HEI.
The changes have been made in regulations according to clause (j) of Section 12 read with clauses (f) and (g) of subsection (1) of Section 26 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956.
UGC has stated that the purpose is to create awareness about responsible conduct of research, thesis, dissertation, promotion of academic integrity and prevention of misconduct including plagiarism in academic writing among student, faculty, researcher and staff. UGC will establish institutional mechanisms through education and training to facilitate responsible conduct by researchers and deterrence from plagiarism. Besides, a regulation authority will develop a system to detect plagiarism and punish a student, faculty, researcher or staff of HEI for plagiarism.
Authorisation to take action
If any member of the academic community suspects with appropriate proof that a case of plagiarism has happened in any document, he or she shall report it to the Departmental Academic Integrity Panel (DAIP). Upon receipt of such a complaint or allegation, the DAIP shall investigate the matter and submit its recommendations to the Institutional Academic Integrity Panel (IAIP) of the HEI.
The authorities of HEI can also take suo-motu notice of an act of plagiarism and initiate proceedings under these regulations. Similarly, proceedings can also be initiated by the HEI on the basis of findings of an examiner. All such cases will be investigated by the IAIP.
UGC has stated that penalties will be charged on the basis of level of plagiarism accounted in a thesis or dissertation.
Level 0 means similarities up to 10 per cent or minor similarities will have no penalty. Level 1 defines similarities between 10-40 per cent. In such a case, a student will be asked to submit a revised copy of his/her research within six months. Level 2 means similarities found between 40-60 per cent, these students will be debarred from submitting a revised script for a period of one year. Level 4 means over 60 per cent of similarities detected, and here the student’s registration for the programme will be cancelled.
Plagiarism detected in case of ‘academic and research publication’ will have intensified repercussions, but the standards of level remain same. Those who commit a level 1 offence will be asked to withdraw their manuscripts. For level 2, a further penalty will be imposed, denying right to one annual increment and the researcher will not be allowed to be a supervisor to any new Master’s, MPhil and PhD student/scholar for a period of two years. For level 3, they will be denied right to two successive annual increments and supervision to any Master’s, MPhil and PhD student/scholar for three years.