Plagiarism case attributed to poor training


Science advisor to India’s prime minister, C.N.R. Rao, has become embroiled in a plagiarism controversy.

Rao, materials scientist Saluru Baba Krupanidhi at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, and two of their students explored the use of reduced graphene oxide and graphene nanoribbons as infrared photo detectors and published the results online in Advanced Materials in July 2011.

But, plagiarism detection software detected the introduction and the description of an equation to have been copied verbatim from a paper published in Applied Physics Letters in April 2010.

One of the students, Basant Chitara, owned up saying he intended to modify the sentences, but forgot.

Advanced Materials published the paper in its December 2011 issue with an accompanying apology.

“This should not be really considered as plagiarism since the scientific work is completely ours and the results are new,” said Rao, attributing the problem to lack of training.  “All graduate students should be taught how to communicate  in science.”

“This unfortunate case provides us yet another opportunity to redouble our efforts in training our students,” T. A. Abinandanan, an engineer at the IISc, told Nature. (