Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Plagiarism Hall of Shame: A case from Kakatiya University

In the age of search engines, plagiarism is possibly the easiest way to self-destruct. M. Sreenivas is the latest to induct himself into the Plagiarism Hall of Shame. Hiis co-"author", T. Srinivas, has made moves to stay out of it, but they have also landed him in a different Hall of Shame -- the one for not doing anything about what is euphemistically called a guest authorship. [Thanks to reader "B" for the alert].

T. Srinivas is a professor of mathematics at Kakatiya University. While M Sreenivas is a faculty member at Alluri Institute of Management Sciences, Hanamkonda, he also appears to be a PhD candidate at Kakatiya University, working under Prof. T. Srinivas (in an area which is apparently outside the latter's expertise).

Go check out the SIAM site for the full story. These dudes were also caught by another journal (pdf) sometime ago; this page has the details.

Just as in the Selladurai scandal at Anna University (more links here), the student -- in this case, M. Srrenivas -- takes all the blame. Here's an excerpt from his letter with some cringe-worthy abjectness:

As per the letter dated August 25, 2009, I corresponding author, M. Sreenivas, take this humble opportunity to request you that the article titled Probabilistic Transportation Problem (PTP), appeared in Volume 3, Issue 1 of International Journal of Statistics and Systems, I ashamed for the situation and I have been stopped such type of submissions to the Journals.

The "guide" corroborates this story, but there's a catch (see below):

Recently I have received a letter from American mathematical reviews .From this only I came to know that some bad things happened in 2007 without my knowledge and my name was included in the papers of M.Sreenivas, a student of O.R. and working in a private college (Business Management ).

The catch is this: his department's website had listed the plagiarized (and published) papers under his name (when I checked a few days ago, they were still listed; I'm not able to access the website now, but SIAM folks took a snapshot). When the SIAM editors pointed this out, this is the reply they got:

I have already mentioned that I have worked in Algebra but no idea in O.R. and Mr. M .Srinivas , working in a Business Management College, has written the articles and communicated by including my name without my notice. After the publication only he brought the reprints to the department. All the faculty members know that my contribution to those papers is nil. In the department we don't have any expert working in the field of O.R. We were of the opinion that the work is original and genuine, but we never thought that such type of coping by M. Srinivas. Moreover we were of the opinion that these papers were published after the verification and positive response from the referees. While preparing the departmental profile the Head asked to give the list of papers and M. Srinivas gave the list and thus these papers were included in the list of publications, because my name is there. To be frankly speaking we felt happy because he published so many papers by including my name that too with out my contribution. That is the reason why I gave the apology, even though the mistake was done by my student. Still we don't know how many papers are not genuine. So we are removing all the papers of M. Srinivas from the list of publications and from the web.

I don't know which is more damaging: plagiarism or not removing your name from the plagiarized papers (even after their publication) though "my contribution to those papers is nil."

[Update: I found seven papers by T. Srinivas and M. Sreenivas (mis-spelled as M. Srinivas, I think) listed in the website of the math department at Kakatiya University:

  1. Transportation Management & Services by T. Srinivas and M. Srinivas, Kakatiya Business Review (KBR), Vol. 3, No.1, September 2006, PP: 121-128, Warangal.

  2. Effectiveness of Distribution Network by T. Srinivas and M. Srinivas, International Journal of Information Systems and Supply Chain Management (IJISSCM), Vol.1, No.1, January-March 2008, PP: 80-86, USA.

  3. A 7 Step Approach for Transportation Optimization by T. Srinivas and M. Srinivas, Pratibimba, Vol. 8, Issue: 1, Jan-June 2008, PP: 67-69, Bhubaneshwar.

  4. Transportation Applications of Neural Networks by T. Srinivas and M. Srinivas, International Journal of Computing and Applications (IJCA) Serials Publications, Vol.2, No.2, Dec 2007, PP: 157-162, New Delhi.

  5. Modeling the Transportation Problem As a Flow Problem by T. Srinivas and M. Srinivas, Proceedings of the first International Conference on Emerging Technologies & Applications in Engineering, Technology & Sciences (ICETAETS – 2008), Vol. III, PP: 2616-2619, Gujarat.

  6. The Role of Transportation in Logistics Chain by T. Srinivas and M. Srinivas, Indian Journal of Mathematics and Mathematical Sciences (IJMMS) Serials Publications, Vol.4, No.2, June 2008, PP: 75-82, ( in press ), New Delhi.

  7. T.Srinivas and M. Srinivas : Transportation: More for less criteria, International Journal of Statistics and Management System, Serials Publications, Vol. 3, No. 1–2, Jan, 2008. (in press), New Delhi.

Of these, 2,6 and 7 have already been flagged for plagiarism at SIAM. By his own admission, T. Srinivas has made no contribution at all to any of these papers. Why, then, is his department claiming 'credit' for these publications? ]

* * *

We have to thank the editors of 4OR, who caught the plagiarism by Sreenivas and Srinivas a while ago, for this bit of humour:

We communicated to these “authors” our ban from publishing in 4OR, and our intention to publicize by all appropriate means the fact that they submitted such a paper. Their answer is worth reporting:

Dear Sir,
We are very sorry in sending such type of article to your journal. Actually, we are working on the topic. Sorry once again.
M. Sreenivas
Dr. T. Srinivas

(Is the second sentence a threat?)


  1. p said...

    look at the language of their correspondences. do you think its possible that an "original work" by either author could ever be accepted by a respectable journal?

  2. L said...

    This is the consequence of the UGC insisting everyone must have a PhD in order to teach undergrads. So now there is a mad scramble by everyone to get one by hook or crook. For the kind of undergrads we get in our colleges, huge patience, communication skills and a good understanding of the basics of the subject are better tools than research skills.(I have a PhD from a good Instt. so it's not sour grapes)
    I am very sure that "Dr"T Srinivas is not one bit ashamed and his standing amongst his colleagues not diminished one tiny bit. This is considered quite OK..what is the fuss all about? everyone has such papers and only such papers.

  3. Anonymous said...

    Agree completely with L in that this is the consequence of the UGC insisting everyone must have a PhD in order to teach undergrads.

    I am a faculty in IISc. I recently got a thesis to review from an university. The candidate had submitted the thesis with the head of the department as the guide. Chapter 1 was horrible, chapters 2 to 4 were very well written, chapter 5 was horrible. As a curiousity, I typed several sentences from chapters 2 to 4 in google and sciencedirect and got the original papers. They were completely plagiraized. When I pointed it to the university, the obvious happened: the guide was unaware, committees were formed and I was removed from the panel of examiners forever.

  4. Rainbow Scientist said...

    civilization is far far away from these universities, and I agree with other commentator that UGC's policy of everyone requiring a PhD for promotion and increment is responsible for such low level work. Doesn't matter how much dedicated and talented you are for undergraduate/graduate teaching, without a PhD you will be left behind of your colleague who has a PhD. This system leads everyone to run for a PhD degree and get one somehow.

  5. Anonymous said...

    There is a software "Turn it in", which is very common in US Universities to prevent plagiarism. It is used for class projects, thesis/dissertation and manuscripts. It takes few minutes to scan through the entire PhD dissertation and highlight the plagiarized sections. Is it used in IIXs?

    Professor in US

  6. Anonymous said...

    I taught courses as a visiting faculty with one prestigious institute .Plagiarism was
    rampant and when this was pointed out the response from those who should have taken action was sheer indifference.Two sets of students
    doing the same course submitted
    identical paper to me. When I pointed this and asked how that could have been possible i was told that it was sheer oversight and they replaced one with another
    paper written in a hurry.Some cut and paste and give the reference.
    Some do it and give no reference.
    If a student cuts and pastes from 30/40 references with few sentences
    written here and there it becomes a
    term paper :(. . When faculty members do similar things and get away with that what message will the students get.