Monday, October 29, 2012

Researchers or pirates?

Sharing a small experience in life about Bhubaneswar based unethical water researchers/NGO consultants and their karnama:

A few years back, a group of researchers (who posed as my friends because we had met several times on issues of mutual concern) supported by a national forum (that works on water issues) said they want to join hands with us on a research work on Hirakud dam and the water conflicts. We readily agreed because we found these people, who hail from Bhubaneswar, reasonable and talented people.

So, based on the strength of our consent, they wrote a proposal to get funding for the research from a foundation.  They used our previous research and write ups on Hirakud dam issues extensively (in many places copied verbatim) in that proposal as well as in presentations they made at various platforms.  Then they got the money and organised a small consultation with us at Sambalpur where we introduced them to all the local people and farmers organisations who matter in Hirakud issue.  Then started the real drama.

Even when they kept on telling that the research was being done in partnership with us they started sending research assistants to the field directly, most of the times without our knowledge.  They then gave us the message that their leaders are in fact the only research experts (meaning no one at Sambalpur was capable to lead such research) and the research will be controlled by these big heads sitting at Bhubaneswar.  They then carried on with that research of their own.  They even took our help in housing their research assistants in villages and everywhere they visited they said to people that they are working with us, obviously because they had to use our credentials and relationships with the farmers and other people.

Finally, their reports got published.  Surprisingly, the reports did not mention a single reference to our work despite of the fact that their entire work started with funding received from proposals which were written basing on our documents and materials.

Well, we had withdrawn from the research immediately after it started, as we realized their unethical and unprofessional ways of doing it.  So, we should normally not worry about their product.  However, a glance through the report confirms my apprehension about the cheap tricks of these unethical people.  These people, as expected, have not even got the basic minimum courtesy in recognizing references which they have used in manipulative ways in the text.  At one place, they have even deviated from their referencing format to see that they don't print my name despite of citing a reference to my article (jointly written with a senior journalist friend).

Even as I like to congratulate these people for bringing out a publication on Hirakud water issues (which is anyway going to serve the society), I cant but restrict myself calling them cheats and pirates.

(My purpose of sharing this story is just to share my experience  in life that may help some of my friends here understand the true characters of such people.  Please don't ask me the names and other details of these people because I take the liberty not to provide any such information.  This is because I forgive them for being so vested in their interest.  Thanks for understanding.)

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