Mumbai: Students of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programmes at the University of Mumbai (MU) have complained of plagiarism in thesis and research submissions. The students claim it is unfair as there is no efficient software to check for discrepancies in their theses and often some of their mates get away with it while the others work honestly.
Some students said they copy and paste portions of content from the work done by others at international universities. A student, requesting anonymity, said, “We pick up some content available online by browsing through the work of universities abroad. Often this goes undetected as there are a large number of students every year.” Every year, over 350 students study in PhD programmes at MU.
As per the University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines, every higher education institute must implement a technology-based mechanism using appropriate software to ensure documents such as thesis, dissertation, term papers, reports and publications are free of plagiarism. Shomit Salunke, a student of Master of Philosophy (MPhil), MU, said, “The software used by MU is not equipped to check content copied from other sources. Students often copy part of the content in their thesis. It is unfair to the students who work hard and do not indulge in any kind of cheating.”
The thesis, a minimum of 150 pages, has to be the original work of a student. All HEIs should submit soft copies of all MPhil and PhD theses under Shodh Ganga e-repository, according to the UGC guidelines. Following repeated protests by students, the MU set up a committee to address the issue of plagiarism in thesis submission in May 2019. Until then, the varsity did not have a Plagiarism Disciplinary Authority (PDA).
The MU authorities claimed they have software which checks discrepancies. A senior MU official said, “We have software which checks plagiarised content. Also, the committee we set up checks errors and identifies copied content to prevent any acts of plagiarism.” Only 321 theses and dissertations have been uploaded on the Shodh Ganga e-repository as of February 19, 2020. The MU uploaded 242 theses from 2010 to 2019, 61 from 2000 to 2009 and only nine from 1999 to 2000, according to data on the Shodh Ganga website.