Now research scholars to give self-declaration

The issue of checking plagiarism in the Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) theses and 15-minute presentation to be given by research scholars after every six months witnessed a heated discussion in the Senate meeting held here at the Panjab University on Sunday.

Doing away with the instructions issued by the varsity authorities that the research scholar while submitting his thesis should give an undertaking through an affidavit, attested from notary or oath commissioner, that his entire thesis is purely his own research, the House resolved that rather than giving legal document, the student must submit self-declaration. Senator M C Sidhu had raised this issue.

However, Dean University Instructions Prof R K Kohli informed the House that at one of the meetings many chairpersons wondered how they could check plagiarism in a case where the student had worked under different teachers. Then it was resolved that in this case both chairperson and guide could sign it.

But again teachers held that it was the student who knew about his research. Vice-Chancellor Arun Kumar Grover, too, said an affidavit from notary would not work, so self-declaration by the student was the ideal option.

PUTA president Mohammad Khalid stressed the need for defining plagiarism as anti-plagiarism software fails to check whether data is copied.

The varsity had issued a circular, dated February 13, saying, "The software available is not for universal use to check plagiarism for each and every academic writing. It has limited scope even for the areas like social sciences and sciences and it may not cater to old literature."

In 2012, Bala Krishan of Centre of Public Health was accused of lifting data from the dissertation of one of the students, Shruti Gupta. Similarly, in 2011, research scholar Rajendra Padture of the Department of German, Faculty of Languages, was accused of plagiarism in his thesis.

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