PETALING JAYA: Fifteen former students attached to University of Bath in the United Kingdom have accused University Technology Mara (UiTM) of intellectual property theft.
They claimed they discovered their MBA thesis papers linked to UiTM’s “institutional repository” (library), Star Online reported.
They said the theses had been used without their consent.
The 15 were from four groups of graduates from the 1994 Bath Executive Masters of Business Administration (MBA)-Malaysian Institute of Management (MIM) programme.
The news report quoted Sam Than, who first made the discovery.
He said he found a link to the repository while searching for information on Google. The 58-year-old consultant had completed his group thesis paper for his MBA 22 years ago.
“What was more puzzling was that our thesis had the UiTM logo and copyright on their paper.”
He said this gave the impression that they had somehow collaborated on the thesis with UiTM or under UiTM auspices.
Than claimed that three other groups from his programme had found out that their Bath MBA thesis papers were also in the repository.
He said he e-mailed UiTM demanding why his thesis was uploaded to its repository and they replied that it had now been taken down.
MIM told The Star the intellectual property rights were with the student and the conferring institution – in this case, University of Bath.
The Star said it found that Than’s group paper had been taken down from the UiTM repository but those from the other three groups were still there.
UiTM IR told the newspaper it was currently investigating the matter.
UiTM Vice-Chancellor Prof Emeritus Dr Hassan Said was later reported to have ordered an immediate inquiry into the allegations.
“UiTM’s repository has a well-known rule on the immediate removal of any plagiarised material. We have instituted an immediate enquiry and will get to the bottom of this serious allegation.
“Academic integrity is a matter of great importance to UiTM. Hence, preventive measures are in place to check abuse and misuse of intellectual property.”
Hassan also said that any student or academic who violates rules against plagiarism was subject to disciplinary proceedings, which can result in severe penalties, including dismissal, suspension, a demotion in the case of lecturers, or civil action by the affected parties against the wrongdoer.
“UiTM will not shield any wrongdoer and will cooperate with legal authorities.”