PhD scholars of the Central University of Gujarat in Gandhinagar, Gujarat have accused a professor working in the School of Chemical Sciences, of forcing students – over the limit stipulated by the UGC – to complete their PhD research under them even though he is not an expert in that particular branch of Chemistry to boost the Academic Performance Indicators (API) score. API gives an idea the growth of a student, teacher or institution and was introduced by the UGC in 2010. The institutions review the API scores to determine if they would promote them or not. But API has been in controversy over the change in regulations.
But why would someone want to take on so many students? A former student who worked closely with the professor claimed that it was because they wanted their name to be associated with as many papers as possible and that would keep the Academic Performance Indicators (API) score high.
For the first few years, there was no problem. But as the papers started getting reviewed by the international journals it appeared that there were several allegations of scientific misconduct — data manipulation, plagiarism topping the list. Around 15 of the papers co-authored by the professor were flagged on PubPeer, a platform that has been used for reviewing and then whistleblowing plagiarised or incoherent research for years,” said Dr Ram Kumar*, who completed his PhD under the professor.