The plagiarism by Prof. CNR Rao (Science Advisor to the Indian PM) and Prof. SB Krupanidhi of the Indian Institute of Science which was the subject of an earlier post seems to be growing. It extends at least to 2 more papers as revealed by a commenter, x1, on Rahul Siddharthan’s blog post and as reported in the Calcutta Telegraph.
UPDATE!! The body-count is growing and has now reached 5 papers. The intrepid sherlock here is again X1. (Comments 50 & 51)
Perhaps it is time for the PM to side-line this Scientific Advisor. At best he is a lazy and not very conscientious supervisor and at worst his ethical standards are sadly lacking. Keeping him on sends the clear message to the entire Indian scientific community that
- ethical standards are not that important,
- copying a few paragraphs without attribution is not such a big deal and can just be glossed over, and
- supervisors bear no responsibility or liability for what their students get up to and can pass the buck downwards
Neither CNR Rao nor SB Krupanidhi come out of this very well. Their competence to supervise research leaves much to be desired. Krupanidhi, particularly, seems not even to believe that plagiarism is a serious breach of ethics.
Regarding the first revelations of plagiarism, Rao is reported to have said
“This should not be really considered as plagiarism, but an instance of copying of a few sentences in the text,” Rao, Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister, said. He said the paper was written by Prof Krupanidhi and he did not go through it and had no control on the issue. “I did not directly produce the manuscript which I normally do… The paper seemed perfectly alright except that later we found that in the introduction and in the description of an equation, a few sentences had been taken from a paper published already,” he added.
They take no responsibility, feel no liability and clearly believe that “cut-and-paste” plagiarism is not that bad. They have no hesitation in pinning all the blame on one student.
The Telegraph. Disclosures that the Prime Minister’s top science adviser, C.N.R. Rao, is a co-author of three research papers with plagiarised text have stirred a debate about seniors accepting authorship while being oblivious to the papers’ contents.
Rao and S.B. Krupanidhi, a senior professor at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, have apologised for a July 2011 paper in which, they said, a PhD student had copied four sentences from a 2010 paper by US-based authors, as reported earlier this week.
Today, an anonymous person revealed in a blog that Krupanidhi and Rao were also co-authors in two other research papers which too contain plagiarised lines in their introductory sections from previously published papers by foreign researchers.
After the new disclosure, Krupanidhi said all the copied sentences only describe the background and the importance of the research topic in the papers. “The experiments, the results and the research findings are new in all three papers,” Krupanidhi said today.
The senior scientists have blamed a student, a co-author in all three papers, for the problem. “What can I say? This is terribly embarrassing but this student appears to have had a habit of picking up lines for the introductory section of papers,” Krupanidhi told The Telegraph. Rao, who was not aware of the new claims when this reporter spoke to him this evening, said the earlier paper had been drafted by Krupanidhi’s group. “I would never allow this to happen. I don’t know who is trying to do this damage to me,” he added.
The Indian researchers’ May 2011 paper in the Journal of Luminescence contains several sentences in its introductory section that are near-verbatim copies of introductory sentences in a January 2006 paper in the journal Advanced Materials by UK-based scientists and a July 2009 paper in the journal Nanotechnology by scientists in Cyprus and the UK.
Another paper by the Indian researchers published in the September 2009 issue of Nanotechnology borrows sentences from a September 1995 paper in Applied PhysicsLetters co-authored by scientists in China and the US.
Rao and Krupanidhi had in November 2011 apologised for a paper published inAdvanced Materials which contained introductory sentences from a paper published in Applied Physics Letters a year earlier.
The President of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Ajay Sood is also guilty of trying to trivialise the plagiarism.
“No research ideas or results were lifted,” said Ajay Sood, a senior physicist at the IISc. “When someone blows things out of proportion like this, whatever good has been done gets submerged,” Sood, president of the Indian Academy of Sciences, said, adding that Rao’s contribution to Indian science was “enormous”.
Rao’s name appears on over 1500 papers – but he may not have written – or even read – many of them!