'Copying from Internet not plagiarism'

LAHORE, July 11: To copy material from the Internet is not plagiarism, but if a person uses someone's thesis or research and changes the calculations and results, it will be considered plagiarism, according to teachers of the Punjab University's (PU) Centre for High Energy Physics (CHEP).

Talking to us, CHEP director Dr Harris Rasheed, former director Dr Fazle Aleem and Assistant Professor Maqsood Ahmad, who have been accused of plagiarism, said material on the Internet was "knowledge for the masses" and anyone could take parts of it as reference in his/her study. Ahmad said that if a person presents material taken from the Internet and presents it as his/her own, the act would be called plagiarism, but punishing the person for the act was not the job of an institution since it came under the Copyright Act.

Five CHEP teachers, including Dr Rasheed and Dr Aleem, had been found guilty of plagiarism last year because they had copied material in their research papers from an article that Oxford's Prof CH Llewellyn Smith had written five years ago. They had copied parts of the article in their research papers published in their names, but had not given Prof Smith's reference in the paper. The PU had stopped the teachers' increments for two years and had stripped Dr Fazle Aleem from the post of CHEP director, but the Higher Education Commission (HEC) said the punishment was 'mild' and stopped the PU's grants.

The HEC website features a 'Little Book of Plagiarism' in which it cites Chambers Dictionary's definition of a plagiarist as a kind of thief "one who steals the thoughts or writings of others and gives them out as his [sic] own". Another teacher of the CHEP, seeking anonymity, said the PU were wrong in punishing the plagiarists since Dr Smith had written to the HEC that he spared the CHEP teachers for copying his material. The teacher said that they had copied only parts of Dr Smith's 25-page article in their 3-page papers. Daily times



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