In the last issue of our journal, we raised a matter of public concern, namely the menace of plagiarism, which is widespread and going unabated. We often receive articles for publication which are either partly or fully copied from others’ works, despite the author having given a declaration to the effect that the article is original and an exclusive contribution to our journal, and having submitted a certificate of cessation of copyright in our favour. The dare-devilry is shocking! This is outright deceit and cheating. Amusingly, the practice is not confined to Indian authors; foreign authors are no exception.
This time again, we came across two such cases, one each from Indian and foreign authors. The articles could have gone into print, but for the alacrity and the incisive eye of our referees.
We have been facing another problem of somewhat similar nature, involving professional ethics. We spend a lot of efforts, time, and money in reviewing, short listing, and editing of each article which passes the preliminary scrutiny. When asked to make further revision or supply the missing information, some of the authors stop communicating with us and submit the paper improved through our efforts to some other journal. They do so despite the fact that they have submitted a declaration that the paper is original and an exclusive contribution to our journal, and shall not be withdrawn at a subsequent stage, unless rejected/permitted by the Editor, and have ceded the copyright in our favour.
It needs no emphasis that plagiarism is not only an unethical practice, particularly so for an academician, it is also a violation of the code of conduct governing the services of University teachers, but also amounts to a criminal offence, under the Copyright Act, 1957 (which certainly does not grant us a ‘right to copy!’). Any infringement of copyright under the Act is an offence, punishable with imprisonment for a minimum period of six months, extendable up to three years, and a fine, ranging from Rs. 50,000 to Rs 2 lakhs.
It is worthwhile to caution such unscrupulous people. Many people have already faced disciplinary action leading to their dismissal from service. These include teachers at all levels – lecturers, associate professors, professors (including one in a top Central university, one in a top IIM, and one in a State university), and one Vice-Chancellor of a State university. Recently, a Vice-Chancellor of a reputed central university had to face imprisonment.
Writing an article is a demanding as well as a rewarding task. Those looking for an unearned reward are surely inviting trouble.
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