University Grant Commission has introduced the UGC Procedure for Addressing Allegation of Research Misconduct-2018 for the first time after almost 25 years of its establishment..
With the introduction of the procedure on March 7, the Evaluation Committee and the Research Integration Committee of UGC will now have a complete set of rules to address the cases of plagiarism and other misconduct seen in research works of university scholars..
Apart from being a responsible body for allocating and disbursement of grants to universities, UGC also works on implementing research based education in universities and directly provides funds to students and faculties for research..
According to the research director of UGC Deepak Raj Joshi, with the introduction of the procedure, UGC can now have complete authority to categorise the level of misconduct and take action accordingly..
Before this, UGC only had the authority to instruct researchers and universities to make necessary corrections on plagiarised research work..
According to the procedure, the research misconduct is divided into three categories - less serious offence, serious offence and severe offence. The punishment for offenders includes demanding apologies, declaring the person disqualified for research on any specific subject, depriving the person of fund for research, barring the person from taking the position of advisor in the commission, or writing a letter to the government bodies to take necessary action against the researcher if they happen to be government employees..
Research misconducts like plagiarism, falsification and fabrication are considered severe offences. Similarly, the procedure has also provisioned ‘harmful activities' as severe offence which refers to any damage caused to the individual, creatures, environment, and public property used in the research work..
The procedure has also provisioned UGC Research Council as the apex body for research work. The council will form a research integrity committee and evaluation committee for the purpose..
Mistakes that occur due to ignorance, however, won't be considered as misconduct, as per the procedure. .
Research Director Joshi also said that the office was preparing to purchase a plagiarism detection software that will help detecting plagiarised content of the research work. The software named ‘iThenticate' will revise and search for plagiarised content in a particular research work after uploading the electronic copy of research work in the software..