Alleged academic fraud at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi has recently emerged when one of the faculty members, Dr Muhammad Mohsin Butt took the matter to social media and exposed the alleged malpractice after 8 years.
Back then in 2015, two faculty members who are now holding senior positions at the institute had coauthored 7 publications in a single issue of the journal— Business Review being published by the IBA. The faculty members were IBA Karachi Faculty Member School of Business Studies Dr Nasir A Afghan and IBA Karachi Registrar Dr Mohammad Asad Ilyas.
Surprisingly, a special issue of the journal was published in which these two faculty members produced all the papers. It was named “Case Studies Special Edition” Volume 10, Number 2. However, the IBA administration, at that time made every possible effort to suppress the issue and even this edition has been excluded from the archives of the journals.
However, neither the editor explained the reasons of the exclusion of this edition not any retraction notice has been published on the journal’s website. At that time, the journal—Business Review ISSN 1990-6587,2788-9599 was included in the second top X category journals. On July 5, 2020, when the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan introduced HEC Journal Recognition System commonly known as (HJRS), the said journal was listed in the lowest Y category of which publications even can’t be counted for promotions.
Likewise, “Business Review” is the only research journal being published by the IBA. However, it is neither indexed by the Web of Science nor Scopus which are the most reputable international databases of research publications and citations. The HEC recognizes research in three categories namely W, X, and Y. The journals recognized in W category have been ranked the finniest quality, followed by X and Y.
In 2015, however, the journal was included in a reputable category and its all publications were accepted for promotions. The two faculty members who allegedly committed the fraud produced not only two or three but entire papers of that so-called special edition of the journal with the intent to get promotion and boost the wattage of their academic profiles.
According to the documents available with Academia Mag, the published research articles were actually the reproduction of the projects completed by the MS students of IBA. However, the two mentioned faculty members put their names on those projects. After taking the matter to social media once by Dr Butt, the IBA administration immediately displaced those projects from the central library.
The publications they had published were included Alpha Cold Storage: Understanding and Battling Issues of Underutilization, Evolving Men’s Shaving Habits In Pakistan — Gillette, Hospital Waste Management: An Impending Doom, Memon Medical Institute Hospital: Planning Growth Through Sustainable Marketing Strategies, Oscar Fertilizers — Supply Chain Process Re-engineering, Roshan Enterprises: Fresh Fruit Branding in Pakistan, and Shan Foods — Warehouse Locations and Layouts. All these papers were published by Dr Afghan and Dr Ilyas. They not only stole students’ working and pretended to be the original authors but they simply copy-pasted and just put their names on those projects.
According to reports, Dr Mohsin Butt, an IBA professor, brought up the issue on his LinkedIn profile six years after the incident. He also presented evidence related to the issue, but on the same day, he posted several articles targeting both professors – Dr Asad Elias and Dr Nasser Afghan – and accused them of academic fraud.
After this social media post, both professors filed a formal complaint with the IBA administration, claiming that Dr Mohsin Butt was tarnishing their reputation on social media. Subsequently, a 5-member grievance committee was formed by Dr Akbar Zaidi, the current head of IBA, in March of the previous year, to investigate the matter. However, despite initiating an investigation against Dr. Mohsin Butt’s complaint, the original irregularity was only briefly acknowledged.
Dr Butt is of the opinion that Dr Afghan and Dr Ilyas should publicly apologize for their actions, stating that they had harmed the reputation of the IBA. However, the situation seems to have prompted IBA’s administration to form a 7-member committee to investigate the allegations against Dr Mohsin Butt. This committee interviewed senior professors at IBA about the matter, and some senior faculty members confirmed that the journal had been retrieved after a short period of its execution due to objections raised by certain authors.
Academia Mag contacted a number of officials to learn more about the IBA’s administration’s stance on the matter but none of them attended phone calls. However, Marketing & Communications Head Maryam Touheed while talking to local media said that Dr Butt allegations were baseless and this is disciplinary action and inquiry was initiated against him. The articles about which he claimed have not been published in the Business Review. Additionally, it was mentioned that IBA’s current position can be found on the IBA Business Review website.