Savitribai Phule Pune University
Guides say the free-software has a limited data base. If the software detects content result that is 2%-3% similar, the value may increase to 15%-20% if a more reliable software is used for the check.
As per the University Grants Commission, any thesis with over 10% similarities is considered plagiarized and attracts penalties starting from rewriting of thesis to withdrawal of degree, or even termination of contract.
Sopan Rathod, a recognized PhD/MPhil guide from an SPPU affiliated college said that the university used to provide access to plagiarism software to all guides from affiliated institutes so that they could check the dissertation submitted by students.
“Turnitin was the software provider and it is one of the best in the market as far as checking plagiarism is concerned,” said Rathod.
“However, their contract ended and they were asking for a higher amount to renew it. But the university refused to provide the amount. Hence, now we are using a free-to-download software that is not as good,” said Rathod.
He added the lack of an up-to-date software will result in low quality research being submitted.
“With no software to compare the thesis, we have no other option but to accept the thesis submitted by students,” said Rathod.
“Many colleges cannot afford to take the license of the latest software individually,” Rathod added.
However, a senior Savitribai Phule Pune University official said that the varsity has asked individual colleges to take the license from a software provider of their choice.
“All departments in the university campus have access to Turnitin,” the official said.
“However, we will not be able to provide it to all colleges. We are paying around Rs20 lakh, which means individual colleges may just need to shell out Rs1 lakh and that is not a big amount,” said the official.
“Just to set a precedence, the university had given access to about 1,000 guides from all affiliated colleges and research institutes. But it was hugely misused. The software providers showed us the data of scanning done and we found that one person had undertaken 25,000 scans, which is impossible unless he had made a business of it. The software was being used for private conferences, even for other universities. It was misused to the extent that the number of scans done was 100 times more than what Turnitin expected.”