On author, research and publication : A critical look
- Part 3 -

Dr Longjam Krishnamangol *

 Library at Manipur University (MU) , Canchipur as seen on October 21 2014
Library at Manipur University (MU), Canchipur in October 2014 :: Pix - Lamdamba Oinam

However, it is generally accepted that after the Ph.D. degree has been awarded to a candidate and also after the candidate has been released from the University as per rules, the responsibility of the views contained or given in the thesis and the publication of the thesis in book form or publication of the book based on the thesis is that of the candidate or the scholar and not of the research guide or research supervisor.

That is why, the research guide or the research supervisor has certified in the thesis or for the thesis that the thesis is the original work of the "scholar". However, there is room that any publication of the thesis in book form can be modified and revised and enlarged later with the availability of latest data/information and also according to the changing situation and policies.

Also, the scanty data/information can be drawn freely with due acknowledgement . And, the data need to be reliable in using for the thesis with proper source and acknowledgement. Again, it must not be forgotten that the ethics and ideology of any country or state (in the case of India including Manipur) need not be forgotten in our journey of research and development. This is emphasised by professor Amartya Sen, Nobel Laureate in Economics in his book "On Ethics and Economics " (oxford). The above observation is true in the case of India and also in Manipur (taking Manipur as a state of India).

Again, it may also be pointed out that there should be academic freedom in research under the University and the Indian system of publications within the democratic framework and as per Indian constitution. And, there should not be any pressure group in banning a book or in banning a Ph.D. thesis unless it is blasphemy. And the state need not take side with any pressure group as it affects the interest of academic community and others.

Indeed, we should have to follow the art of appreciation of the hard work done by others and the participative or participatory goodwill and contribution or role of the people towards engineering the society for promoting democracy in Manipur. In fact in democracy there should be healthy relationship among the government, public and academic community. In a sense, there should be quid pro quo relationship between the public, academic and the government in order to promote social and economic engineering of the state and the nation.

In fact, it is likely that state presence by making a discouraging say on the research and publication may not be able to build up a good moral atmosphere or moral society as it will discourage the entire academic community and the public, and those who belong to the profession of teaching, research and writing. In fact, as already stated any book can be revised with healthy suggestions from the public or from any circle or individual in order to keep the standard of the book.

In the case of history, there are different theories, which establish and corroborate the history or civilisation of a state or country. And the history without basis and evidence is not history. It is also said that the day-today talking without basis event and evidence is not history. That is why, it is said that if counting is over, history is over. This should not carry a wrong meaning.

In fact, it means that there should be systematic research and investigations into the evolution of the society and civilisation, which should be based on appropriate theories, evidences and public knowledge. However, as already stated, any book, which is blasphamy and which affects the interest of any community, groups, class or state and any other individuals can be selected for referring back to the author for revision.

And, if the author is dead it can be referred back to the publisher for necessary action for revision of the book through using the copyrights rules of the publisher. The underlying policy in the matter of research and publication of books needs to be such that there need not be a priori decision or aftermath decision to ban a history book or any other book before they are published or after they are published (i.e. both before and after).

In fact, there need not be restrictive and controlling policy that affects academic freedom, and publications. Also, the researcher, writer or author need to keep ethics in his or her writing the objectives of research and publication. It is also essential to keep the rules of copyright act 1957, which allows/permits rules of publications and research and protect the writer or author. Thus, the books published with ISBN mark or the authorized books need not be banned as they have already obtained permission from the concerned Ministry or the authority.

A legal book has also clearly stated copyright legislation is part of the wider body of law known as intellectual property. The term "Intellectual property" refers broadly to the creators of human mind. Such intellectual property right protect the interest of creators by giving them property rights over their creations." (Lal's Commentary on the Copyright Act, 1957 revised by Ajay Sahni, preface to the 5th Edition.

Thus, any author is protected under the copyright legislation. In fact, it is unfair to reject his or her work as the law protects the writer or the author because of his or her creation of knowledge, which is the author's or the writer's "property right" that needs to be protected. Also there are a certain rules that can be followed in using the knowledge of others which are already known and will not be covered in the present article.

To conclude, differences in the academic views are not illegal. What is more important is the state's acceptibility and acceptability of the general masses on the theory and practices than the microscopic view on the question, which can be easily rejected if it lacks proper facts and evidences.

Thus, the universities, Colleges and other educational institutions can select only the reliable books and the reading materials which should be taught with ethics and morality keeping in view the democratic values of the country and the State. And there may be thousands of books which are available in the market and these books should be made available according to the choice of the readers and the public. In fact, the outdated theories, policies and views in book form will naturally decay.

And, the good books will drive out the bad books out of circulation in the market and the society. Also, their relevance to the society will decay in due course.

However, discovery and arguments for generating new thoughts are essential part of the academic activities, which should be an ongoing process in order to promote the society (as a whole), economics, literature, history, sociology, anthropology, political science, and anthropology, philosophy, art and culture, sports, library, science, journalism, business, management, accountancy etc., and ultimately the entire democracy and state policy and the nation.

In doing so, the socio-cultural milieu and community and social harmony need not be disturbed in order to achieve the mischievous goals or rested interest.

Thus, the principle of "neutrality" (Amartya Sen's concept) of the state needs to be applied in the case of publication of history and geography books or any other book relating to Manipur as the prohibitory order to ban a manuscript of book through a committee will affect the academic freedom and research of the teaching community and any other researchers, particularly in the state.

In a welfare state or a democratic state, or a democratic nation, there need not be any state policy that can be seen as demeaning to authors, writers or any other researchers in the name of protecting the state, which is already protected under the existing rules, laws and the Indian constitution. Such a policy will also give additional burden to the powerful members in addition to their official/institutional duties.

In fact, if a committee is constituted to reject a manuscript of book, the author or the writer may puzzle what to write (i.e. what to investigate or what not to investigate). This will also undermine the status of the author/writer if his or her effort/work is not a favorable one. Thus, the best way that can be suggested is that the state policy needs to be neutral in the field of "research and publication" of books.


* Dr Longjam Krishnamangol wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is an economist and researcher
This article was webcasted on November 14 2022.

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