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Ethics

India’s PhD students must study research ethics, university oversight agency says

by K. V. Venkatasubramanian, special to C&EN
January 10, 2020 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 98, ISSUE 2

 

Responding to concerns about the quality of research papers as well as data manipulation, plagiarism, and other misconduct, India’s University Grants Commission (UGC) will require that all doctoral students complete a course in research and publication ethics starting in the 2020–21 academic year. A UGC committee recommended the course last year as one way to improve research quality. The 30 h course will cover general philosophy and ethics as well as scientific conduct and publication ethics issues, including falsification, fabrication, and plagiarism; selective reporting and misrepresentation of data; duplicate and overlapping publications; and authorship. It will also deal with how to check publisher copyright policies, use plagiarism-detection software, and identify “predatory” journals—fake publications that steal money from authors. The UGC has set up a database of reputable journals called the UGC-CARE List. A 2015 analysis showed that 35% of authors in predatory journals were in India. The new course is part of an broader effort in the country over the plast few years to address research quality and predatory journals and conferences.

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