Five Nepali and Indian researchers have been found to have plagiarised some Nigerian researchers’ academic paper, EduCeleb.com has learnt.
They are Doctors MK Shrewastwa and C Thanpari, lecturers at the Department of Biochemistry, Nepalgunj Medical College, Kohalpur; NK Yadav, lecturer at Department of Biochemistry, Manipal College of Medical Sciences, Pokhara; RK Mittal, professor and head of Department of Biochemistry at Nepalgunj Medical College; and V Rohil, assistant professor at Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute, University of Delhi, India.
In a paper titled “Dyslipidemia in Type-2 Diabetes Mellitus Patients In Western Nepal”, the university researchers had reproduced contents of a research work originally titled “Dyslipidemias in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Patients in Nnewi South-East Nigeria”, and published in the Annals of African Medicine Vol 10, No 4; 2011.
The original work which they plagiarised was jointly written by N N Jisieike-Onuigbo and C O Oguejiofor, both of the Department of Medicine, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Nigeria, and E I Unuigbe of University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin, Nigeria.
Information available to EduCeleb.comindicates that the plagiarists had gone ahead to publish the original work as if it were theirs in the Bali Medical Journal in Indonesia in 2013. Their publication has since been retracted following a complaint recently made to the journal. The same paper was earlier published in the Nepal Medical Journal.
Officials at various bodies concerned described the plagiarism as “a shameful and irresponsible act”, when Nepali newspaper, Republica first made such revelations public.
No regulation against plagiarism in Nepal
When Republica did an expose on plagiarism back in October, it spoke with the Executive Chairperson of the Nepal Health Research Council, Professor Dr Anjani Kumar Jha, who particularly acknowledged that Nepal had no strict regulation against plagiarism.
“It is matter of ethics. We don’t have any special policy on discouraging plagiarism. We will lobby for a special policy against plagiarism,” he stated.
But according to Clause 26 (1) of the Copyright Act 2006 in Nepal, a fine of Rs 10,000 to Rs 100,000 or six months imprisonment or both can be slammed for violating copyright.
Embarrassing moment for plagiarists
One of the plagiarists, Dr Mukesh Kumar (MK) Shrewastwa felt embarrassed about their action. He said that they committed a mistake.
“We were not very aware of the issue of plagiarism,” Dr Shrewastwa told Republica.
“Other members of the team are outside the country. I and my family are under immense psychological stress. My father suffered a cardiac arrest recently,” he lamented.
“I promise not to make any such mistake again,” he said.
Plagiarism trend in Nepal
Republica revealed that plagiarism is a common trend in Nepal. This is so much that some researchers were “found to be repeatedly involved in plagiarizing from reports that have already been published”.
An original research paper titled “A Prevalence of Thyroid Dysfunction in Kathmandu University Hospital, Nepal” and authored by Doctors Madhukar Aryal, Prabin Gyawali, Nirakar Rajbhandari and Pratibha Aryal was published in the Biomedical Research journal in 2010. It was plagiarized under the title “A Prevalence of Thoyroid Disorder in Western Part of Nepal”, purportedly authored by Doctors Raj Kumar Yadav of Gangalal Medical College, Pokhara; Namrata Thapa Magar of Gandaki Medical College, Pokhara; Bibek Paudel of Manipal College of Medical Sciences, Pokhara; Naval Kishor Yadav of Manipal College of Medical Sciences; and Binod Kumar Yadav of Institute of Medicine, Kathmandu.
Similarly, a research paper on “Association of Thyroid Dysfunction Among Infertile Women Visiting Infertility Center of Om Hospital, Kathmandu Nepal” authored by Doctors Bhola Rijal, R Shrestha and Bharat Jha was copied under the title “Association of Thyroid Dysfunction Among Infertile Women Visiting Nepalgunj Medical College Hospital, Kohalpur, Nepal” and purportedly authored jointly by Doctors Mukesh Kumar Shrewastawa, C Thanpari, RK Goit, NK Yadav, RK Mittal and V Rohil.
Among the six researchers, Doctors Shrewastawa, Thanpari, Goit and Mittal are associated with Nepalgunj Medical College while Dr Yadav is associated with Manipal College of Medical Sciences, Pokhara and Dr Rohil with Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute, Delhi.
After news on doctors plagiarizing the research paper entitled “Association of Thyroid Dysfunction Among Infertile Women Visiting Infertility Center of Om Hospital, Kathmandu Nepal”, which was originally carried out by a team of doctors including Bhola Rijal was published in Republica in October, the Bali journal retracted the plagiarized paper and blacklisted the authors.
Investigations ongoing within their universities
Neither Tribhuvan University (TU) nor Kathmandu University (KU), to which the medical colleges where the doctors teach are affiliated, has taken any action against them.
Dean at the Institute of Medicine at TU Professor Dr JP Agrawal, said they would take action if they were found culpable.
“We will investigate the matter,” he promised.
Associate Dean at KU, Dr Dipak Shrestha, said that the university had formed a committee headed by the Dean of the School of Arts, to look into cases of plagiarism at all departments.
“After the news reports were published in Republica last month, we dispatched letters seeking clarifications from the authors and the principals of the medical colleges concerned,” he said.
“We will set out the standard criteria and take necessary action soon,” he told the paper.
EduCeleb.com got to speak with a top communications official at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Ngozi Ifezulike on the revelation. She said the matter would be referred to the ethics committee of the institution to determine what other actions are necessary against the Nepali plagiarists.
“I am not aware of this but if that is the case, the ethics committee is in the best position to respond,” she stated.
Ifezulike promised to get back to EduCeleb.com for further clarification but didn’t, as at the time of filing in this report.
But the Nigerian Copyright Act (1997) only caters for copyright of sorts of works published within Nigeria. The Nepalis can only, therefore, be prosecuted based on the laws of their own country.
Photo Credit: Republica