12 research papers in 9 years: University of Mumbai contribution to UGC’s digital bank

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University of Mumbai. (HT FILE )

Nine years after the University Grants Commission (UGC) launched Shodhganga, a digital repository of dissertations and theses submitted by research scholars, the University of Mumbai (MU) has contributed only 12 research papers to it, with eight of them from one research guide, Arvind Luhar from Ismail Yusuf College, Jogeshwari.

Managed by UGC’s Information and Library Network (INFLIBNET) Centre, Ahmedabad, Shodhganga seeks to provide an open access to the vast body of doctoral research in India while curbing plagiarism and duplication of work. Shodhganga was set up in 2010, but the MU signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with INFLIBNET centre to contribute to the repository in January 2015. However, the university changed its rules to award PhD and MPhil in June last year, announcing that all research work had to be uploaded on the Shodhganga portal. The Mumbai university has awarded more than 1,400 PhDs, MPhils and MSc degrees between 2016 and 2019.

Other universities in the state are among the biggest contributors to the repository, which has so far accumulated 2.11 lakh research papers. Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) leads in the state, and ranks second nationally, with 9,706 theses uploaded on the portal, followed by Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University (BAMU), Aurangabad, which contributed 5,035 papers. “While the university’s thesis section is responsible for submitting soft copies of papers, a proper chain of command is yet to be put in place,” said a professor from MU’s School of Economics and Public Policy. Another teacher from the sociology department said that he has been following up on the issue, to no avail. The university said the papers couldn’t be uploaded so far owing to technical reasons. “We have contacted INFLIBNET centre and will submit soft copies of papers soon,” said an official.

The teachers also pointed out other shortcomings in the research and development work at the 161-year-old university. “The varsity is yet to purchase the anti-plagiarism software which detects duplication in research,” said the sociology professor.

The economics professor said there’s no open-defence viva, where PhD and MPhil candidates are required to defend their work in an open forum.