Teacher’s body flags issue of fake research journals

A teachers’ organization has lodged a complaint with the University Grants Commission on faculty affiliated to government colleges of the University of Madras with reference to publishing papers in fake journals.

The complainant Tamil Nadu Association of Intellectuals and Faculty said some PhD scholars had stated that their research articles were published in a UGC listed journal anvesak

However, when cross-checked the journal responded: “Due to COVID-19 pandemic our publication process has been delayed.” The journal’s editorial office further said that the articles “must have been published/issued by a fake anvesak journal which is illegally using our name, logo and ISSN No.”

The association has sent a copy of the journal’s response to the UGC, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Madras and to the State Higher Education Department officials, none of whom have responded yet.

Association president A. Balu said neither the PhD guides nor the students have sufficient experience or knowledge about the process of getting an article published in a refereed journal. It is mandatory for all research scholars to get two articles published in a peer-reviewed journal to be eligible for a doctoral degree.

“A teacher in a college said conferences are held and students pay ₹7,000 to get their paper published in a Scopus-listed journal,” he said, adding: “Teachers are not aware that there are agents who create a PDF of the article for payment. They are not aware that listed journals do not use agents to publish research articles.”

Anna University has a committee to scrutinize and check the veracity of published research articles. Some deemed universities also have a similar system in place. However, most other universities do not have any scrutiny putting research scholars and their guides in a vulnerable position, he said.

“Each article in a peer-reviewed Scopus-listed journal comes with a digital object identifier, a unique number that can be cross-verified,” he added.

In a query raised under RTI specifically about students under two faculty – one from the Government Arts College in Nandanam and another from Presidency College, affiliated to the University of Madras, the University officials have not responded to the question on research papers published in journals ( mandatory for submission of thesis).

The University has, however, given other details such as the date of registration and whether the thesis has been submitted and the date on which viva-voce was held.

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