Srinagar, Dec 2: Throwing rules and regulations to the wind, Kashmir University administration has elevated a ‘tainted’ faculty member of its Zoology Department accused of plagiarism to Head of the Department, Environmental Sciences.
Professor Fayaz Ahmad and his two research scholars, Tanveer A Sofi and Bashir A Sheikh, were found to have plagiarized two research papers written in the year 2014 and 2016. The articles, apparently written by them and published in the Journal of Parasitic Diseases of Indian Society of Parasitology, were later retracted by the journal in 2018 after it was found to be ‘significantly overlapping’ with other works.
Putting aside everything, the Kashmir University on November 25 this year, by virtue of an order issued by the Assistant Registrar, Administration elevated Prof Fayaz to head another department.
“Having shown her unwillingness to accept the offer of Headship by Prof Azra Nahid Kamili, Prof Fayaz Ahmad, Department of Zoology shall function as In-Charge Head, Department of Environmental Sciences in addition to his own duties till further orders. This order shall have immediate effect,” the order read.
While there are clear-cut directions from the University Grants Commission (UGC) on the cases of plagiarism, the varsity administration has not so far bothered to take any action against the Professor and his students who resorted to gross violation of research and academic integrity.
As per UGC Anti-Plagiarism Policy, in case of more than 60 per cent of plagiarism (level-3 offence) in academic and research publications, “the author (s) shall be asked to withdraw manuscript; shall be denied a right to two successive annual increments; shall not be allowed to be a supervisor to any new Master’s, M.Phil., Ph.D. Student/scholar for a period of three years.”
Further, with regard to the penalty on repeated plagiarism-which the author has committed in 2014 and 2016-[author] shall be asked to withdraw manuscript and shall be punished for the plagiarism of one level higher than the lower level committed by him/her.
“In case where plagiarism of highest level is committed then the punishment for the same shall be operative. In case level 3 offence is repeated then the disciplinary action including suspension/termination as per service rules shall be taken by the Higher Education Institution (HEI),”the policy document read.
Previously, the journal, while retracting the work which had a plagiarism level of more than 60 per cent stated: “The Editor-in-Chief has retracted this article by Sofi et al. (2016) because the article shows significant overlap with a book chapter by Scholz et al. (2012). All authors agree to this retraction.”
The Professor along with is students published two research papers, one: “Comparative Karyological Analysis of three species of Bothriocephalus rudolphi 1808 (Cestoda Pseudophyllidea) from Schizothorax species of Kashmir valley, and second: “Occurrence, spread and control measures of Bothriocephalus acheilognathi (Bothriocep-halidae : Cestoda)” in the “Journal of Parasitic Diseases” of “Indian Society of Parasitology under Co-authorship of Tanveer A. Sofi and Bashir A. Sheikh.
Both the articles are the original work authored by Romualda Petkeviciute (2003) of the Institute of Ecology, Vilnius, Lithuania and Tomas Scholz et al. (2012), from Institute of Parasitology, Czechkosalvakia and U.K.