New Mandatory Course for PhD Students on Research Ethics
Due to the increasing number of plagiarism and publication misconducts, UGC has made a two-credit course compulsory for the PhD students.
Maintaining quality has become a concern for Indian universities as the number of researches is increasing. The University Grants Commission approved a two credits course to introduce the PhD students to basics of research.
It is mandatory for all the PhD students to take the 30-hour course from the 2020-2021 academic session. The course consists of six units, each focussing on the basics of philosophy of science and ethics, publication ethics, research integrity, and hands-on sessions to identify predatory publications and research misconducts.
The number of unethical practices like pay and publish, and plagiarism have increased in the last 15 years. Corrective and Prevention Actions (CAPA) principle, which will be followed in the course will help students to identify and protect themselves from dubious journals and predatory publishers.
The UGC had previously introduced a 12 credit mandatory course in research methodology in 2009 that included a few chapters on research ethics. But the new two-credit course will be more focused on enlightening students about the research ethics and the consequences of messing up with rules.
Students pursuing MPhil had a research methodology course in their curriculum, but those pursuing PhD did not have the same exposure. The new course will act as a bridge for students entering PhD after postgraduation. The course will also teach the students about the tools used to check plagiarism, as well as the importance of citations.
Vasundhara Gautam, who is pursuing her PhD from the department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia after doing MPhil in 2013 says it is important that the researchers know about ethics as many of them are not aware of the ways they can use already used publications not falling prey to plagiarism. To structure their research and avoid problems due to lack of information, the new course will be of great help.