Plagiarism in the Research Reports of Indian Doctoral Students: Causes and a Remedial Action Plan
Many reputable academic journals have retracted research papers from Indian researchers because of plagiarism. The University Grant Commission, a representative organisation of the Indian government, is diligently endeavouring to ensure academic integrity by applying stringent guidelines. The present study aims to find the potential causes of the plagiarism found in the research reports of Indian doctoral students and to formulate a remedial action plan. A literature review was undertaken to identify incidences of plagiarism at educational institutions. Based on the review’s insights, a survey was conducted to investigate doctoral students’ awareness of plagiarism, including causes and remedial action plans. In addition, 21 interviews were conducted with senior academics and professionals from various academic disciplines to gain an understanding of their viewpoints. An analysis was then undertaken of the responses received through the questionnaires and interviews. The results suggested the widespread incidence of plagiarism and shed light on its causes. A remedial action plan emerged from the study, which included 1) establishing a research ethics committee at all academic or research institutions, 2) fostering a correct understanding of plagiarism and its implications by conducting training, workshops and awareness campaigns at an early stage of doctoral students’ lives, 3) ensuring clarity of research purpose among doctoral students and emphasising the quality of research work, 4) developing academic writing skills, and 5) making anti-plagiarism software available free of charge to all students and faculty members. Indian students perceive the University Grant Commission’s stringent guidelines as a good initiative. However, these guidelines cannot be implemented fruitfully without addressing the underlying causes of plagiarism.
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