Scholars pursuing Ph.D. at Delhi University can now appear for their viva through Skype or other modes of video conferencing.
The varsity has also made it mandatory that the theses submitted by the Ph.D. scholars pass a "plagiarism check" and procured specialised software for it.
"Earlier the students had to appear in person for their viva for Ph.D. programmes. So, the ones who had completed their theses and were offered any opportunities abroad, they had to travel back for the process. Now this need has been done away with," a senior varsity official told PTI.
"The students willing to appear for viva through Skype or other modes of video-conferencing need to inform their respective departments in advance. Similarly, if certain expert on interview panel is unable to come in person, then the viva will be arranged through similar modes," he added.
Following directives from the University Grants Commission (UGC), to discourage plagiarism in Ph.D. theses, DU has made it mandatory that all the theses submitted will be subjected to plagiarism check using specialised software.
"There are certain software which are available over the Internet too but they do not yield fool proof results. We are procuring certain specialised software to ensure the scholars cannot do any cut-paste job," the official said.
The varsity has amended its Ph.D. ordinance in accordance with UGC Regulation, 2009 (Minimum Standards and Procedure for Award of Ph.D. degree) and UGC Regulation, 2010 (Minimum Qualifications for Appointment of Teachers and Other Academic Staff in Universities and Colleges and Measures for the Maintenance of Standards in Higher Education).
The amendments were approved during an Executive Council (EC) meeting of the varsity last week. The varsity has also increased the time span for finishing Ph.D. from four years to up to 6.5 years.
"The span period for submission of Ph.D. thesis shall be five years, extendable up to a maximum of six and a half years. In exceptional cases, the span may be extended after proper justification. Earlier, the students used to get four years and there was a provision for an extension of six months," the official said.
While the admission process for Ph.D. programmes varied from department to department, it has now been made mandatory to admit the students only through an entrance test. According to the amended norms, following successful completion of the evaluation process and the announcement of the award of the Ph.D., the University shall submit a soft copy of the thesis to the UGC within a period of thirty days, for hosting the same in 'Shodhganga repository' which is accessible to all institutions and universities.
The varsity's move to make plagiarism check has drawn ire from few teachers who claimed that to eliminate plagiarism the process should start from the top.
"Why just subject Ph.D. students to plagiarism check? If the university wants to eliminate the copy-paste tactics it should first screen the thesis and other works of its recruits... The process of intensifying the lens on plagiarism should start from top to bottom and not vice versa," Abha Dev Habib, an EC member said.