Friday, April 06, 2012

Unintended Consequences of Regulations: PhD Thesis Factories

A company in Mylapore [in Chennai] that calls itself a “research guide organisation” agrees to work on a Ph.D thesis for a cost of Rs. 1.5 lakh.

“We should be informed about the title eight months in advance. We take care of the entire thesis — right from the title till the work is completed. We will be in constant touch with the candidate and every 15 days we will mail them the details. Also we train them for viva-voce,” says Ganesh, an employee of an outsourcing firm. His company claims that it has students from almost all the universities in India, and from other countries such as UAE and U.K. for master's work too. “In India, the demand for master's thesis work is less,” he adds.

Another company in Vadapalani [also in Chennai] offers to complete the thesis work in the engineering and science domains. “Our professors and experts are in various parts of the State. Some are attached to universities while others are full-time employees. The candidate can contact them over phone. The guide should not be informed as the thesis would not be accepted if it is prepared by someone else,” a staff at the company told this correspondent when asked about the procedures involved.

There's a lot more in M. Lavanya's story in The Hindu.

I got to this article through this post by L (who saw it in a G+ post by my colleague Vishwesha Guttal). L offers this explanation for this unethical trend:

The rush to somehow beg, borrow or buy a PhD is something I have been lamenting about in my blog. This is a fallout of the requirement by the UGC for a PhD if one wants one's scale etc. This is the driver of this gold rush.

This point was also made by Prof. S.R. Hashim in his talk in the Workshop on Academic Ethics held in Chennai last July.

‘Plagiarism cases are also fuelled by the race to publish more as our education system demands a Ph D degree with at least ten research publications as the minimum criteria for the post of professor’, noted S. R. Hashim (Forum for Global Knowledge Sharing). [Source: Richa Malhotra's Current Science report on the Workshop]

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Related post: Final Year Project from 2005!


  1. Ankur Kulkarni said...

    I just have a remark about the title of the post. Although this was unintended, I don't think the consequence is unexpected. In fact, this is exactly what one would expect if one puts "input level requirements" such as Ph.D. for promotion etc. Had one put "output level requirements" such as on research output, all energies would have been focused on that and an industry would have sprung up for that purpose. The American research university is has many such "industries", where faculty run large research programs by outsourcing the research to postdocs and students.

    On the positive side this shows that there is certain entrepreneurial energy in the academia; although its integrity is in doubt. On the other hand it is baffling why the more straightforward regulation of putting output level requirements was not imposed by UGC instead of imposing a weak, circuitous and one-time requirement like a Ph.D..

  2. SK Karmee said...

    You can take a look on this:

  3. Unknown said...

    At least the guys doing it get paid to willingly let someone else claim credit for their work. Far, far, far better than some "stalwarts" shamelessly stealing the work of people because they enjoy positions of power