Ethics body slams IITs for handling of plagiarism cases

With a number of IITs under the scanner for alleged plagiarism, the country's watchdog on ethics in science has come down heavily on the institutions for their laxity in checking the malaise. The New Delhi-based Society for Scientific Values (SSV) that met last week, expressed its dissatisfaction with the way the IITs are dealing with the issue.

The SSV, an independent body, has written to IIT Kanpur Director Prof S G Dhande on the issue of plagiarism and said that action taken by the institute is not adequate. Two international journals have withdrawn research papers by senior professors from IIT Delhi and IIT Kanpur alleging plagiarism from sources like Wikipedia.

Biotechnology Advances has retracted two review papers co-authored by IIT Kanpur's Prof Ashok Kumar and his students from the department of biological sciences alleging plagiarism.

President, SSV, Prof K L Chopra, a former director of IIT Kharagpur, has written to the present IIT Kanpur director that an independent probe must be launched into the plagiarism case. IIT Kanpur has set up an internal inquiry.

"This is not the first time that plagiarism complaints have come from IIT Kanpur. Earlier also there have been cases and the IIT did not taken stringent action even then. We have asked that an inquiry panel with independent experts be engaged to investigate the matter. The Society has taken very serious view on the issue," Prof Chopra told The Indian Express.

That apart, the journal Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research has retracted a 2009 research paper co-authored by IIT Delhi's Anup Ghosh, Devesh Awasthi and Pawan Kulriya from the Inter University Accelerator Centre, Sharif Ahmad from the Jamia Milia Islamia University, and Shashi Chawla from the Amity School of Engineering. IIT Kharagpur had taken more stringent action by removing its Department Head for Physics R N P Choudhary after a faculty colleague accused Choudhary of not sharing research credit with him.

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