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Fifty-five lose doctorate degrees for 'substandard' theses in Agra
Sunday September 21, 2014 8:12 PM, IANS

Fifty-five people who did research under Agra University will now have to remove the prefix "doctor" from their names, as the institute cancelled their doctorate degrees after experts found the researchers' work were not totally their own.

Agra University

The research scholars had been flaunting the "doctor" title for three years.

The decision to cancel their doctorate degrees was taken by the university's executive council.

The university's public relations officer Manoj Srivastav said 36 Ph.D, 17 D.Litt and two D.Sc theses were sent to experts for re-evaluation.

The experts panel rejected them, saying they were full of flaws and were "substandard".

The list of cancelled doctorate degrees has been posted on the university website.

The experts found that some researchers had taken material from here and there and the work was not totally their own effort.

Some theses had nothing original about them, and the results of the research were inaccurate and incorrect, the official said.

Vice chancellor Mohammed Muzammil said "the whole process was made transparent and foolproof to ensure that undeserving candidates were not awarded degrees".

However, the university's image has been dented, and questions are being raised about the competence of the research guides, an official said.

Charges of corrupt practices are being levelled against the academic community of Agra.

"Undue favours to guides, constituting panels to favour research students, and a whole lot of corrupt practices have come to light," a university official told IANS.

The full implications of the research work are still being assessed after there were allegations against many serving and retired dons of assisting researchers to secure doctorate degrees.

"Skeletons are now coming out of the closets about how the so-called academics guided research work," a former departmental head said.

There are allegations that one researcher got his Ph.D while sitting pretty in the US without having met anyone in Agra, while some others had other people lined up to do all the work, from writing to data collection.

"Every year, the same set of people decide who would benefit how. A governor's secretary acquired a Ph.D, gift-packed as a token of affection from a dean. A don downloaded a theses from a website and submitted it as his own," a former university official said.

"Pick up four-five old theses, start rewriting and presto you are a Ph.D," a retired departmental head said.

Another official said Agra has many hack writers willing to produce a thesis in just six months, if one has the money.

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