Software to handle research-related process
Future research scholars of the University of Kerala have reason to cheer. A year from now, the entire research-related administrative process — from the scrutiny of research application to the scheduling of the open defence — would be done by software.
According to a proposal cleared by the university Syndicate recently, the software for this ‘Research Portal' is to be developed by the university's computer centre.
Sources in the university who have seen the proposal document told The Hindu that the main aims of the portal would be to speed up the administrative part of research work, introduce transparency, and bring in tighter quality control on the varsity's research sector.
Once the portal is operational, a research scholar would submit his doctoral application online. An ‘eligibility checker' in the system would, using pre-specified criteria, decide whether the candidate is competent to do research on that particular topic.
The backbone of the system would be a database of all current research scholars, their topics and guides, and a list of all approved research guides and centres in the university.
When the theses section of the Kerala University Library is fully computerised, the portal will also help a potential research scholar find out quickly whether anyone has done doctoral work on a particular topic or in any related area.
Once an application is approved the system will forward it to the doctoral committee which will then communicate its decision to the university. The approval for an application would be sent as an email to the candidate and the guide. Within two years of a candidate beginning his doctoral work he/she should clear the course work examinations. If a candidate fails to do so, the system will generate a message cancelling the candidate's registration.
Similarly, the system would generate a ‘registration cancelled' message if a full-time researcher fails to submit the thesis in five years or a part-time scholar, in eight years.
The system will first verify whether syndicate has given extension to a candidate.
One part of the database will be an exhaustive list of experts who are qualified to be in the panel for evaluating a doctoral thesis. If need be a research guide can choose from this list.
Once a guide submits an evaluation panel, this is entered into the database. Only the Vice-Chancellor will have access to the names in the panel. He can select three names from that list. The system will send emails to those persons asking for their consent for evaluating the thesis.
For now, the university will continue to send the print copy of theses to the evaluators. However, the evaluators can send in their reports via email. Based on these reports, the system will generate the notice for the open defence. The result of the open defence will be placed before the Syndicate which will take the final call on granting the doctorate. The status of the thesis can be tracked online. The candidate will not be privy to the identity of the evaluators or get to see their reports.
The portal will also feature a software used for number crunching and a special software designed to detect plagiarism. A candidate will be required to run his completed thesis by this software before submitting it to the university.