Plagiarism row: Indian Express withdraws economist Shamika Ravi’s May 25 article

In her piece on India’s health and economic crisis, the Brookings Institution senior fellow used the works of two fellow economists without attribution.

WrittenBy:NL Team
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The Indian Express on Wednesday withdrew an article by the economist Shamika Ravi published on May 25 (archived here) on the ongoing health and economic crisis in India. The newspaper noted that Ravi “failed to attribute part of the cost calculations needed to minimise the spread of the pandemic to work done by economist Karthik Muralidharan”.

It added: “The editorial team found four sections, one to three sentences each, that consisted of substantial or verbatim quotation, unacknowledged, from Romer’s piece.”

Paul Romer is an American economist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics in 2018.

Ravi is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in New Delhi and a former member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council.

On May 26, upon Ravi’s request, the daily had added a sentence to her article to attribute an idea to Muralidharan (archived here). On Twitter, journalist Nitin Sethi alleged that Express updated Ravi’s article but did not publish “an apology to the reader”.

At 1 pm that day, Express added a note on the update: “An earlier version of this article which was published in the print edition did not attribute the specific steps needed to overcome the pandemic and minimise its spread to Kartik Muralidharan.”

The saga did not end there. Another Twitter user pointed to other sections of Ravi’s articles which appeared to have been plagiarised from the work of Romer.

The Indian Express noted: “Ravi wrote to the newspaper again saying she had spoken to Romer in light of the allegations of plagiarism. The newspaper contacted Romer after which it concluded that Ravi’s piece does not meet its standards of professional integrity.”

Ravi’s response to the whole affair can be gauged from three of her tweets. On May 26, she described the social media uproar over the plagiarism as “calibrated attacks” on her.

On the morning of May 27, she said not attributing the ideas was “a genuine oversight” and that there are “perils to working in teams”.

After the Indian Express withdrew her piece later in the day, Ravi apologised.


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