Professor at IIM-A resigns

Update 2014! See new post 

Update!

There are many comments in support of Prof. Dass  and some in support of Sujoy Pal. But many are rather nasty and merely personal attacks against the one or the other. I have left the last comment with one of Prof. Dass’ students which is rather more compelling than the personal attacks.

But if the allegations against Prof. Dass are largely malicious then it is a great pity that

  1. he resigned, and
  2. that IIM-A has not backed him up and declined to accept his resignation.

IIM-A does not come out of this very well. My tentative conclusion to all this is that IIM-A is still developing its own internal processes and does not really know – yet –  how to handle matters of alleged plagiarism.

There are some parallels with development of internal processes in industry to deal with corruption over the last 15-20 years. Here the mistake made by industry – in my opinion – was to focus on compliance rather than on ethics. A focus therefore on detection and punishment rather than on prevention. There is a risk that Indian Universities are going down the same path with a focus on plagiarism detection rather than on ethics. While the act of “policing” cannot be avoided by organisations the mere mechanical use of software to detect plagiarism is not enough. My own experience is that if ethics can be sound then compliance (or plagiarism) largely become non-issues. The challenge is  how to institutionalise the development of sound ethics in any organisation.

Comments on this subject are now closed.

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Professor Rajanish Dass at the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad had blamed his co-author, Sujoy Pal (a research associate) for the plagiarism he was found guilty of. Dass has claimed that it was due to “ignorance and not intention” and had taken his case to the Gujarat High Court which had given him a small measure of relief when it had instructed the Institute to take some of his additional responses into account.

But he has now bowed to the inevitable and resigned.

Faculty of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A), Rajanish Dass, who had approached the high court after the institute accused him of plagiarism, has chosen to resign from his post at the institute. 

Confirming the resignation, dean of academic affairs at IIM-A, B H Jajoo said, “He left on April 2.”  ……. In its report to IIM-A director Samir Barua on February 3, the committee concluded that allegations against Dass were “valid” and he has resorted to plagiarism in three papers. Confirming his resignation, Dass said, “I submitted my resignation due to health issues on April 2, which was accepted by IIM-A on the same day.” 

Dass has been on medical leave from the institute since the time he had approached HC (the High Court).

Considering that he had resigned 12 days ago and in a rather high profile case, it is a little surprising that the Institute did not have the courage to come out with the news of his resignation immediately. It suggests that they have not yet seen the advantages of transparency and that some are perhaps still hoping that the plagiarism issues cropping up at IIM-A will merely go away.

Some students at IIM-A have also accused Dass  – anonymously – of having outsourced his own thesis to students at Jadavpur University.

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10 Responses to “Professor at IIM-A resigns”

  1. adhesh Says:

    Its sad such things happens at NO;1 institute in india. If professors like that what will happen to students & society ? Mr Kapil Sibal are you listening ??

  2. Varun Kumar Says:

    Your comment is derogatory and demeaning. I have myself worked with Prof. Dass as an intern in experimenting on the results and furthering it. They are not at all fudged and the work is extremely efficient. Many students and researchers have furthered his work. He is an intelligent and very well respected academician. Many of us are indebted to him for his academic contributions as well as the way he has guided his students. We are grateful to him for his valuable guidance and inputs.

    I don’t understand how could you write “….but he had now bowed and resigned…” hope you have proper documentary evidences to back it up, if and when needed…. he is a guiding star to many of us. Also, his contribution to academics and research has been substantial…we, his students, believe that he has been framed for something else as he is extremely transparent and we are proud of him…

    • ktwop Says:

      Are you just an idiot or in denial or don’t you read the ToI?

    • Soujay's friend Says:

      Varun, If it is great work and best work why it is not citied by anyone else ??? His claims are wrong and sujoy himself has discussed these stuff in detail. If someone has fastest algorithm like google it should be citied 1000 times and not 5 times of which 4 are rajanish dass himselfs 😀 He claims fastest algorithm than best in the market yet one one cites…Something fishy ????

      • Pallavi Says:

        Hi, I don’t know which friend of Sujoy Pal are you. But as I had worked with him (so did a number of other students) on data mining, I know that Sujoy Pal has never worked with Prof. Dass on data mining. If Sujoy himself has discussed this stuff in detail, I would like to know where is that Sujoy Pal has discussed this? Even if he has discussed, with what capacity has he discussed this and with whom? Why is this site publishing such baseless comments? Is it only for getting more traffic? I know that Sujoy and Prof. Dass has done some of the very nice works in various areas. I don’t believe that Sujoy can be this irresponsible that he can discuss something on which he has never worked.

  3. Pawan Sharma Says:

    I would like to know on what basis you could make such a serious statement against our dear professor….

    Many students of this institute and other have worked under his guidance on his thesis on data mining. His respect in the industry for his work is commendable and this is not possible for someone who has “forged” his data….. also, the contribution that he has made has been unfathomable….

    The credibility of IIM Calcutta is being questioned here and I think, you need to prove your capacity/credentials to critique such a high level of research work in the country. Hope you are aware of the consequences of the derogatory remarks you have passed!!!! May not be funny at a later stage for you ☺….

    It is very easy to comment on the internet posts these days without any sound proof at hand, I do not know even if this post has been floated by someone in some other interest of maligning Prof Dass, who, as I have seen, always stands against dishonesty (there had been few cases in the institute where he had raised his voice against the culprits, some of whom are in high administrative positions at present) but you should at least have the morality in yourself to see what you are saying and about whom….

    • ktwop Says:

      Another idiot comment or are you a troll? IIM Calcutta? /Ahmedabad?
      I guess you must be one of these students who are caught up in the “cut and paste” culture and don’t bother to read.
      http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-04-14/ahmedabad/31341561_1_iim-a-faculty-resignation-plagiarism

      • Pawan Sharma Says:

        (Ms Sharma – I suspect you may have something of substance to say but your comment is not on point and has been deleted. The matters of substance you need to address are:
        1. IIM-A’s own investigative committee found Dass guilty of 3 counts of plagiarism
        2. Dass took matters to the HC as reported by ToI.
        3. Dass has now resigned according to ToI.
        4. Dass resigned on 2nd April and IIM-A only acknowledged this on 14th April.
        If you want to provide a testimony in favour of Dass either as opinion or based on personal experience you are welcome to do so. Note that I have deleted a number of opposing comments which make unsubstantiated allegations against Dass. But making an ad hominem attack is not going to get your comment published.
        IIM-A is indeed the leading management school in India and does much sterling work but can surely improve its processes and is not immune from “rotten apples”.
        ktwop

      • Pallavi Says:

        I would like to comment on the contents of this blog and the maligning comments that are coming against Prof. Dass. Like Pawan (I don’t know which batch he is), I’m also a student of Prof. Dass and it is very painful to see such derogatory and baseless comments in your blog. Sir, a lot many of us do think that your blog is being used for trading the reputation of Prof. Dass by making unsubstantiated remarks and allegations and will request you to please delete all such comments with immediate effect as these seem to trade on the reputation of a fine professional like that of Prof. Dass. You are an academic yourself and would perhaps appreciate my concerns.
        As far as your points go, what is clearly coming out from the reports in ToI is as follows:

        a. The fact-finding committee set up was only a part of the preliminary inquiry (TOI March 6) which came up with a report.
        b. Prof. Dass challenged this report in High Court of Gujarat and the division bench ordered (must have done that after seeing all documents) that this preliminary inquiry report be withdrawn and suggested that the institute should further preliminary inquiry and come up with a fresh report (TOI March 6 + website of High court of Gujarat)
        c. That meant that there must have been something fishy in that report that Prof. Dass had to challenge it in the court of law and the court had no other option but to trash this report.
        d. As we know of Prof. Dass, he is not a person to create any such thing with the institute if he is not pushed beyond his limit. After all, we have found him to a very peaceful, nice and cool professor. Students across batches like him a lot and we swear by his name.
        e. There had been no such instance whatsoever in more that a hundred publications that he has done. How many of our faculties publish? He has been one of the rare ones publishing research work. Interestingly in all the three papers that have been brought forth, Sujoy Pal had either been the co-author or had provided research assistance which Prof. Dass had acknowledged in the papers. One of the allegations bought forth by Prof. Rekha Jain (we used to call her as Rekha Pain in the institute…you can understand the kind of respect that we had for her) is on a draft report that was meant for discussion purpose only and the allegation seems to have been made on the final report which did not exist at all ☺
        f. Thus when he has resigned, there has been no findings of any inquiry of any sorts as he was on medical leave for over a month now (the High court verdict came out on March 5 and the ToI report of April 14 mentions that he had been on medical leave).
        g. He must have provided necessary medical documents for which he had been granted medical leave and must have been seriously ill.
        h. Had there been any process that was live against him or any valid charges, why will the same administrators of IIMA accept his resignation on health grounds on the same day? They would have executed the option of an employer to not accept his resignation.
        i. Most importantly, this was only a fact finding inquiry whose initial report was trashed by the court of law and was asked to come up with a fresh report. This committee was needed only to find if plagiarism has happened in those papers and that the allegations are valid….nothing more. Whether Prof. Dass has done plagiarism or not, that would have been the task of the disciplinary committee which would have been formed based on the report of the fact finding committee and response of Prof. Dass. In his case, as the preliminary inquiry was trashed, there was nothing against Prof. Dass and IIMA would have redone the whole preliminary inquiry and the committee was needed to come up with a fresh report.
        j. In that case, this cannot be an issue where he was asked to resign but a case where he himself pronounced renunciation from the institute (in his typical style of “I have no need”). We think that this a great loss for the institute. On what basis can the institute ask him to leave? They would have needed to go through an inquiry process at first to see if these allegations are valid.
        k. Many of us think that given our wonderful experience of Prof. Dass, all these allegations have been framed against him and something wrong with the current administration that pushed him to seek respite in court only.

        A large number of students stand by him in this moment of his crisis where he has been targeted. Some of us are connected to him through facebook and linkedin and everyday there are at least 20-30 students who are adding him in their network. We are all pained. We don’t want to miss such a faculty from our institute.

    • Sriharsha Says:

      Pawan, What about the charges of thesis outsourcing Prof Dass is facing ? Can he come out clean and prove himself ? The article is not only questioning his work but his outsourcing of his research ? Does IIMA enquiry address that aspect ? All these r open ended Qs which time shud address 🙂

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