ISLAMABAD: Fighting plagiarism is one of the major functions of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) but the commission’s own Executive Director has allegedly stole over 80 percent of his co-authored research paper from another publication.
As per the documents available with The News, the Curriculum Vitae (CV) of current Executive Director of Higher Education Commission (HEC) Dr Arshad Ali mentions a co-authored research paper which is over 88 percent plagiarised when tested with the official software of the commission.
According to HEC Act and rules, the Executive Director is the second most important official of the commission being the principal accounting officer of the body that manages about Rs90 billion budget annually. He acts as head of HEC Secretariat and also as the Secretary of the Commission’s governing body which makes policies on improving quality of education and fighting plagiarism. In an expression of its resolve against academic-theft, the commission has placed about 21 black-listed faculty members and researchers on its website along with its detailed anti-plagiarism policy.
However, the commission has apparently failed to take any action against its own Executive Director. Dr Arshad’s CV (available online at ttp://drarshad.seecs.nust.edu.pk/data/Dr%20Arshad%20Ali%20 Resume%20Apr%202013.pdf) mentions his paper: “A Taxonomy and Survey of Grid Resource Planning and Reservation Systems for Grid Enabled Analysis Environment,” published in July 2004. But the problem is when the same paper is tested with Turnitin, a software which has been officially provided by HEC to the universities, it appears that Dr Arshad’s work is mainly copied from already published paper titled “Survey and Taxonomy of Grid Resource Management Systems” authored by Chaitanya Kandagatla University of Texas, Austin America in February 2004.
The report of Turnitin confirms overall 88 percent similarity index against 19 percent limit set by Pakistan’s higher education body. In addition, 47 percent similarity index has been reported from single source “authored by Chaitanya Kandagatla against the 5 percent approved limit.
Dr Arshad Ali is main author of the paper along with several others including foreigners.
When contacted for his version, Dr Arshad Ali said that HEC would look into the matter according to its policy. He claimed that his co-authors were reputed professionals from institutions like CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research. When asked whether he could be dismissed from service if major plagiarism was proved in his reach paper, the HEC Executive Director said he could not speak on the basis of assumptions. Dr Arshad Ali was appointed as HEC Executive Director In January 2016 by the selection board and governing body headed by current HEC Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed.
As per HEC policy, if most of the paper (or key results) have been exactly copied from any published work of other people without giving the reference to the original work, a major penalty of dismissal from service could be imposed.
The policy also mentions that such a plagiarist may be black listed and may not be eligible for employment in any academic/research organisation, and (c) the notification of “Black Listing” of the author(s) may be published in the print media or may be publicised on different websites at the discretion of the Vice-Chancellor/Rector/Head of the organisation.”
HEC plagiarism policy also mentions, “any person listing his CV on the website or any current publication or applying for any benefit on the basis of published or presented work that is plagiarised will be liable to be punished as per prescribed rules.”
The HEC website defines plagiarist as the “one who steals the thoughts or writings of others and gives them out as his [sic] own”. It also bans self-plagiarism and verbatim copying portions of another author’s paper or from reports by citing but not clearly differentiating what text has been copied.
According to the list of 21 blacklisted faculty members posted on HEC website, more than 50 percent offenders were blacklisted on the charges of Plagiarised papers.
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