Even as unrest continues in the campus of University of Hyderabad (UoH), demands for the resignation of vice-chancellor Appa Rao Podile were renewed on Tuesday after he admitted to plagiarism in research papers that were co-authored by him.
Plagiarism, verified by a few media outlets, was found in three articles - 'Root Colonization and Quorum Sensing are the Driving Forces of Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR) for Growth Promotion' published in the journal Proceedings of the Indian National Science Academy, 'Induced Defence in Plants: A Short Overview', published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, India, and a paper which was originally published in the Indian Journal of Microbiology in 2007.
Admitting the mistake, Podile told the Times of India:
â€œIt was unintentional and was by oversight. The sentences written by us were not experimental findings which were copied but mere descriptions. Since we didn't use any software for checking, those minimal sentences went unnoticed. The editor of the magazine has sought my views on this. The editor told me that 'oversight is regretted' will be printed in their next issue."
The Wire, which broke the story, and has also provided links of the original source, got a similar response from Appa Rao.
The report added:
Two of Appa Raoâ€™s three papers are reviews â€“ articles analysing the latest developments in certain topics â€“ and donâ€™t contain any original results. While this doesnâ€™t make Appa Rao and his colleagues any less culpable, the extent of plagiarism assumes importance when deciding what to do next...In a work containing original results, on the other hand, even minor instances of plagiarism are capable of casting darker shadows on the quality of the research.
"A few institutions offer rules and regulations addressed exclusively to students that include brief warnings about plagiarism and related matters. Only a tiny fraction has formulated comprehensive guidelines covering diverse areas such as those listed above." Sunil Mukhi, a professor of physics at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune told The Wire.
The JAC at the university has stepped up its demand for the VC's resignation and has claimed that this incident further proves their doubts about his credentials.