Alt News has stumbled upon a goldmine of plagiarized content on the website of premier right wing think tank, India Foundation. India Foundation is an independent research centre that seeks to articulate Indian nationalistic perspective on issues related to Indian polity. Its stellar list of directors includes Suresh Prabhu, Nirmala Sitharaman, MJ Akbar, Jayant Sinha, Swapan Dasgupta, Shaurya Doval and Ram Madhav to name a few. It has equally impressive sounding publications like ‘US-China trade war and its impact on India’, ‘India & BRICS: Working together to usher in the second “Golden Decade” of BRICS cooperation’, ‘Security outlook of Indian Ocean and India’s Geo strategic interest in the IOR’, ‘Xi Jinping: President for Life’ and ‘Quadrilateral Partnership for Free and Open Indo-Pacific’. The five articles listed here have one thing in common other than their imposing titles – they are all plagiarized to varying degrees. The plagiarized content seems to originate from one author by the name of Siddharth Singh.
We analyse the five articles to uncover the shocking extent of intellectual dishonesty where someone else’s words and ideas are passed off as that of the author.
Case Study 1: ‘US-China trade war and its impact on India’
The article titled ‘US-China trade war and its impact on India’ is entirely a cut and paste from multiple sources. Every single paragraph of the article is copied verbatim from somewhere.
The article starts by saying ‘A trade war between the United States and China is brewing, any outbreak will have a major impact on the global political and economic order.’ This sentence has been lifted verbatim from South China Morning Post’s opinion piece titled “US-China trade war offers Beijing a historic opportunity to forge a new global order” written by Tian Feilong. As you read further, you realize that it is not the first sentence alone but the first paragraph is plagiarized from this article.
The second paragraph is a lift off from a publication of the University of Southern California’s US-China institute.
The author then moves to publication by Congressional Research Service on China-US trade issues and copies the next two paragraphs verbatim from there. As in the earlier paragraphs, there is no attribution or acknowledgment of the source.
The WTO section has been copied from an article by the Spanish Think Tank, Elcano Royal Institute.
When it comes to writing about the impact of the trade war on India, the author picks a source closer to home. The entire section on Impact on India has been copied from an Indian Express article by Anil Sasi.
This article was removed by India Foundation when plagiarism was pointed out by Twitter user, Rupa Subramanya. The author also responded to Rupa Subramanya claiming that it was an issue of missing footnotes.
My apologies that article was uploaded without the footnotes. Will upload the file with footnotes soon. Thank you for pointing out.
— Siddharth🇮🇳 (@SiddharthSingh0) May 6, 2018
However, the issue is beyond just citing a reference as entire sections have been copied verbatim without putting them in quotes and attributing credit to the source. In fact, we found other articles by the same author on the India Foundation website that display a similar pattern.
Case Study 2: ‘India & BRICS: Working together to usher in the second “Golden Decade” of BRICS cooperation’
This article too is copied from multiple sources. The article was tweeted by India Foundation on September 15, 2017. It represents a shameful level of plagiarism, copying words not only from an editorial but also from the speeches delivered at the BRICS summit without any attribution.
One section is copied from a Times of India editorial titled ‘Xiamen breakthrough: Brics declaration condemns Pakistan based terror groups for first time’.
Words from the Prime Minister Modi’s speech at the BRICS summit 2017 are reproduced in the article as that of the author.
The conclusion of the article borrows heavily from Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech at the Plenary Session of the BRICS Xiamen Summit.
Case Study 3: ‘Security outlook of Indian Ocean and India’s Geo strategic interest in the IOR’
Among other sources, this article copies from an Australian Navy’s publication of 2014– ‘Protecting the ability to trade in the Indian Ocean maritime economy’ which contains the proceedings of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium.
India Foundation should take note of the copyright notice that this publication carries and take necessary action as it not only reproduces parts of the article but attributes no standard source credit.
“© Copyright Commonwealth of Australia 2014
This work is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, and with the standard source credit included, no part may be reproduced without written permission. Enquiries should be addressed to the Director, Sea Power Centre – Australia”
Words used in the conclusion are copied from an article by Colonel Sanjive Sokinda published by The Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies (CDSS), the educational institution of the Australian Defence College. Though the India Foundation Article mentions references at the end, there is no mention of this article.
Case Study 4: ‘Xi Jinping: President for Life’
Parts of an article on Xi Jinping titled ‘Xi Jinping – president for life’ tweeted by India Foundation on February 27, 2018 are lifted from The Guardian’s ‘Dictator for life’ published one day before, on February 26, 2018.
Case Study 5: ‘Quadrilateral Partnership for Free and Open Indo-Pacific’
This article was tweeted by India Foundation on February 6, 2018. Parts of this article are lifted from the White Paper on foreign policy for 2017 published by the Government of Australia.
Another excerpt is taken from a paper by the Observer Research Foundation written by Yogesh Joshi dated May 30, 2017.
It is appalling that the high profile think tank which has Union Ministers as Directors and claims to be based on the principles of independence, objectivity and academic rigour has allowed such blatantly dishonest work to be published and circulated. We leave it to India Foundation to clean up their act and remove the suspect articles. It will also do them good to establish guidelines for their authors with regard to referencing the articles and attributing credit to the sources. India Foundation website talks of the principle of ‘academic rigour’. It is high time they put it in practice.