Plagiarism in Academic Research Must Be Taken Seriously

Dr. Md. Enamul Hoque

12 February, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Plagiarism in Academic Research Must Be Taken Seriously

Dr. Md. Enamul Hoque

Researchers create knowledge while the teachers disseminate it through classroom teaching. We know the very example of Isaac Newton when the apple falls on his head; he started the question with why and how? He searched for the truth, reasons to discover a new knowledge. He applied commonsense in his enquiry. The continuous search resulted in solving his problem. Finally, he built a theory entitled “the Theory of Gravitation Force” with empirically proved body of knowledge.

Without authentic research, no nation can improve its education and enhance development globally competitive. If we look at the development of Japan, Korea, China and some other countries in Asia, we will find that the secret of their sustainable development is their quality of education and research. It is a motto that “the more developed a country is in education and research, the more developed it is in economy”. If we look at the cases of USA, Canada, Australia, England and European countries, we will find that their economy and educational standard are corresponding.

It is the opinion of experts that the quality of research hardly meets the standard in Bangladesh for diverse reasons. Furthermore, fake PhD holders, and the people who earned PhD by forgery are countless in numbers in our society who eventually defame our country’s image. In addition, huge number of frauds purchases PhD certificates in the name of online or distance learning.

Some foreign private universities are selling fake PhD certificates in Bangladesh. Those deceivers have been using the highly prestigious and dignified academic designation before their name with a view to cheating others and gaining unfair benefit.

The aim of any research is to solve the problems of education or specific sector. But, how far the objectives of the academic research are achieved in Bangladesh cannot be ascertained. There are huge debates and controversies in the academic field whether the minimum standard or quality are maintained in conducting any empirical study at individual or institutional levels.

Still today, the quality research is hardly possible in Bangladesh due to series of obstacles, for example, inefficiency of the researchers, unwillingness to work hard, lack of proper guidance from the supervisor, legacy of dishonesty and corruption, institutional incapability, lack of resources, disinterest of the participants/respondents, lack of incentive from the government, financial crisis of the researcher, non-cooperation from the authority are many of the few.

In Bangladesh, researchers do not want to study hard to design their own research methodology. The interpretation of descriptive and inferential statistics is beyond their research knowledge. It is because they do not study sufficient relevant literature to build up his/her foundation to carry out a quality research. As a result, many of our researchers follow the path of dishonesty, and apply the methods of plagiarism, flattery, cut- and-paste method, and mischievous strategies to achieve their goals. For any research paper, it is usually seen that most of the papers are not original works in quality; these are the shadow or copy-and-paste of other’s work published home and abroad.

 In recent time, some teachers of Dhaka University are accused of direct plagiarism of pages after pages in their paper. In an enquiry, the probe body found the evidence of huge plagiarism in their works. Finally, after long days of inquiry the teachers have been demoted to lower position on charge of plagiarism in their research paper and thesis.

A female Associate professor of the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism has been demoted to Assistant professor; a teacher of the Department of Criminology has been lowered to lecturer; and another teacher from the department of the Islamic History and Culture is demoted to lecturer. But, this punishment is not enough. Teaching is not like other professions; they are the role models to their students.

Prior to the plagiarism cases in Dhaka University, in 2018 a teacher of Jagannath University (JnU) has been sacked from the service because of his plagiarism from a foreign paper. These are not the only cases of plagiarism. These are the few examples of plagiarism by the university teachers in Bangladesh. If it is investigated in wide range, hundreds of thousands of cases would be revealed in our public, private universities, and colleges.

For academic and certificate oriented research, such as MPhil and PhD, many researchers are found spending huge time by flattering their supervisor instead of concentrating their efforts to their study to explore the best outcome from their research. Supervisors often complain that researchers do not want to study hard, rather they try to exploit them; ignore their guidance; consequently, they are lost in the middle of the research; and finally they blame the supervisor of non-cooperation.

We should not forget that the supervisors shoulder a big workload including taking classes, evaluation of scripts, attending meeting, and administrative jobs. So, they do not have inclusive time to guide their fellows. In addition, supervisors are not allocated any fund to spend for research; even they do not get any allowances to guide their research fellows. So, it is impractical to expect quality service from the supervisors.

It is not denying fact that our researchers suffer from financial crises, adequate support from the supervisor, and non-cooperation from the research participants or respondents. Researcher’s hard work to study, strong monitoring and proper guidance from supervisors, financial incentives are the important catalysts that can cultivate a good research which may contribute to our education.

Being deeply connected with research and publication, I find huge cases of plagiarism in papers for journal publications.  It is observed that many of them do not visit fields, but produce baseless fake data for their study. So, based on the bogus data, they come to conclusion of their findings. They use those publications for their promotion or upgradation in the service. But, can this type of research contribute to the development of our education or any other sector?

Plagiarism remains a pressing problem in our higher education. The trend of plagiarism is surprisingly high in Bangladesh. Globally, plagiarism is considered a severe offence in academic and/or research settings. Temporary demotion is not the right punishment. The teachers involved in academic plagiarism must be sacked from the teaching position permanently. Plagiarism should be considered a criminal offence; and action should be taken accordingly to save education system and country’s image. 


The writer is an academic