In her piece ‘A pandemic prescription’ that appeared in the print edition of The Indian Express and online on May 25, Shamika Ravi, economist and former member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, failed to attribute part of the cost calculations needed to minimise the spread of the pandemic to work done by economist Karthik Muralidharan. Ravi requested, and The Indian Express agreed, to add the attribution in the online version on May 26. Subsequently, on the same day, this paper was alerted to allegations — first made public on social media — that parts of the same piece by Ravi were similar to sections of a paper, ‘Roadmap to Responsibly Reopen America’, published on April 23, by Paul Romer, University Professor, New York University, and 2018 Nobel Laureate in Economics. The editorial team found four sections, one to three sentences each, that consisted of substantial or verbatim quotation, unacknowledged, from Romer’s piece.
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.
The Indian Express, therefore, withdraws Ravi’s piece.
It regrets to its readers and to Muralidharan and Romer that the piece made it through despite the checks and filters of the editing process. Clearly, these need strengthening, to which the newspaper is committed. So that its Editorial and Ideas Pages remain a secure and trusted space for voices that need to be heard.
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