Hyderabad: Be original is the message from Osmania University’s Examination Branch, which is intensifying its plagiarism check to help the varsity bring out quality research.
The number of PhD theses being submitted for plagiarism check and final submission to the OU Examination Branch by research scholars is on the rise. Over the last two and a half years, 929 PhD thesis titles from various departments were run through Turnitin, a software for plagiarism check, of which 919 were cleared and submitted to the Examination Branch.
To strengthen doctoral research, the varsity made the plagiarism check mandatory for all PhD theses submitted for evaluation since July 2018. Prior to introduction of the software, the university had at least 500 PhD theses submission every year.
According to statistics from the university, each PhD title was being checked for plagiarism, on an average of nearly three times. A total of 929 titles were submitted from August 2018 to February 2021 and they were checked for plagiarism 2,655 times.
For a case in point, four titles received from the Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology course were run through the Turnitin software 22 times. Likewise, 38 PhD theses from Commerce stream were checked for plagiarism 122 times. At 160, the highest number of PhD theses was received from the Chemistry stream and were checked 435 times.
Since the introduction of Turnitin, university authorities have detected about 93 per cent similarity index in a PhD thesis, the highest so far, while the average similarity was between 20 per cent and 25 per cent.
“Ever since the software is introduced, research scholars and supervisors are extra cautious while writing thesis copies. If the similarity index is above the permissible level, scholars have to re-write the thesis and bring down the similarity index to the permissible level,” a supervisor said.
Since last year, the university has restricted the similarity index in the PhD theses to 10 per cent. Thesis copies with more than 10 per cent of the similarity index are being rejected and returned to the scholars. Earlier, the similarity index was up to 25 per cent.
“The plagiarism check has helped OU improve the quality of research work. After the software was launched, the number of PhD thesis submissions has also come down,” an official said.
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