Indian PM’s science advisor admits plagiarism but Indian Institute of Science takes no action

The apparent over-representation of scientists of Indian origin in cases of scientific misconduct ought to be exercising the minds of the Indian scientific community – both in India and abroad. But any efforts to stamp out plagiarism in India – and many are trying – are completely undermined when eminent scientists from the most prestigious Indian institutions start trivialising or making excuses for plagiarism.

S. B. Krupanidhi

The Prime Minister’s Science Advisor Professor CNR Rao has admitted and apologised for his plagiarism but has gotten away without the paper written under his supervision being retracted. The apology should have been accompanied by highly-visible measures to stamp out the increasing incidence of “cut-and-paste” artists posing as scientists. Instead the nonchalant attitude of a co-author, SB Krupanidhi (Professor and Chairman, Materials Research Centre, Indian Institute of Science) gives me little confidence that there is much value being given to the integrity of scientific research. He blames the student he was supposed to be supervising but will take no action as the Indian Institute of Science tries to brush everything under the carpet.  “People make mistakes. There will be no action taken against the student, ” he said.

TOI reports:

India’s top scientist and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s adviser CNR Rao had to apologise to a leading scientific journal for reproducing text of other scientists in his research paper.

“The corresponding authors sincerely apologise to the readers, reviewers, and editors for this oversight and for any miscommunication,” Rao and his co-author SB Krupanidhi said in an apology to ‘Advanced Materials’, a peer-reviewed journal covering materials science.

The July issue of the journal had carried a research paper titled ‘Infrared Photodetectors Based on Reduced Graphene Oxide and Graphene Nanoribbons’ authored by Rao, Krupanidhi, Basant Chitara and L S Panchakarla.

The scientists belong to Indian Institute of Science and the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research.

The authors admitted that some part of the research paper was reproduced from an article that had appeared in Applied Physics Letters written by S Ghosh, B K Sarker, A Chunder, Lei Zhai and S I Khondaker.

DNA India:

The Indian scientific fraternity has once again come under fire as reports have emerged of plagiarism on the part of a couple of eminent scientists, including Professor CNR Rao, the scientific adviser to the prime minister.

Scientists Rao and SB Krupanidhi(chairman, Materials Research Centre, Indian Institute of Science), and students Basant Chitara (IISc) and LS Panchakarla (Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research) are said to have plagiarised parts of a paper they published last year in the journal Advanced Materials.

Rao could not be reached for comment as he is currently on a visit to Japan. Krupanidhi said the matter was “highly exaggerated”.

But while Krupanidhi vouched for the legitimacy of the paper published by Rao and him, he admitted that some lines had been lifted from a paper published in the journal Applied Physics Letters in 2010.

“We received indication from the editorial office (of Advanced Materials) stating that a couple of lines of text exactly matched with an earlier published work in Applied Physics Letters,” Krupanidhi said. But he claimed that the mistake was made by an IISc student. “These sentences were part of the introduction of the paper, which was written by our student, that neither of us paid attention to,” he said. “We contacted the original authors by phone and email, and explained the situation and expressed our regret.” ….. 

…. 

Krupanidhi also tried to downplay the apology tendered by the Indian scientists in Advanced Materials. “Seeing as the paper was already published in the online format, they could not make the necessary changes to the published journal,” he said. “So as a policy of the journal, they wanted us to send a correction in the form of a line of apology to appear separately to avoid any future confusion and hence we did the same.”

As for the IISc student, Krupanidhi said no action would be taken. “We teach students how to write papers but sometimes they forget to make the changes,” he said. “People make mistakes. There will be no action taken against the student.”


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3 Responses to “Indian PM’s science advisor admits plagiarism but Indian Institute of Science takes no action”

  1. K. Chandrasekhar, Ph. D Says:

    As supposedly senior scientists, CNR Rao and Krupanidhi must be held accountable for the fiasco. The latter has even claimed that a student had written the introduction and that he and Rao paid no attention to the plagiarized lines as they were part of the general introduction. Does he imply that the introduction has no value? Why write an introduction then? Rao and Krupanidhi were the authors for correspondence and as such MUST assume blame for the plagiarism. Shame on them for trying to pass the buck. They can’t eat their cake and have it too – they want credit as ‘corresponding authors’ but want someone else to take the blame for the slip-ups.

  2. Ravi Says:

    It is highly unfortunate that a student of IISc is caught in the act. And, even more shameful that a professor can be so irresponsible. Probably this is the trend in his lab and only THIS particular case has come to light. He should resign and leave. How can we tolerate such people in the temple of learning where oneday C V Raman used to be present?

  3. More plagiarism by Indian PM’s Science Advisor and Prof. Krupanidhi revealed « The k2p blog Says:

    […] 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 […]

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