Student of yoga tourism won’t get PhD as he earns five retractions

Photo by Amanda Mills, USCDCP on Pixnio

For Pramod Sharma, the study of yoga tourism has proven to be a downward-facing dog. 

Last year, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Roorkee blocked Sharma – who posed as a legit yoga researcher but in reality stole other people’s work – from receiving his PhD after determining that his thesis was “plagiarized and lacks originality.” What’s more, according to the institution, a 2018 article by Sharma contained a “discrepancy in data…casting a doubt on the validity of the results.” 

Journals have now retracted five papers by Sharma, although earlier concerns about the work didn’t reach his PhD committee in time to prevent him from defending his thesis in 2019. 

We reviewed the IIT report on the Sharma case, and pulled out a couple of the choicest passages:

Conclusion: Thesis has used Items which were already used by earlier papers and items used to measure these variables were almost similarly used by the thesis. Therefore, it can be concluded that thesis is conceptually plagiarized from these papers and Mr Pramod Sharma has smartly rephrased sentences to bypass similarity-check requirements.

Conclusion: There is discrepancy in data presented in the paper published by Pramod Sharma and his Thesis. Without an explanation proffered in the Thesis or the paper, the data and the results obtained are questionable.”

We’re not sure when journals began retracting Sharma’s papers, the first of which was published in 2018. The latest retraction came this month, for a 2020 study in the Journal of Destination Marketing & Management titled “The role of destination image as a mediator between tourists’ emotional experiences and behavioral intentions: A study of wellness tourism.”

According to the retraction notice

This article has been retracted at request of the authors.

This article was submitted and approved for publication by the corresponding author Pramod Sharma, without consent or knowledge of co-author Jogendra K. Nayak, whose email address was not provided by Mr. Sharma. Additionally, this paper has very strong similarities to the article by Prayag, G., Hosany, S., Muskat, B. and Del Chiappa, G., “Understanding the Relationships between Tourists’ Emotional Experiences, Perceived Overall Image, Satisfaction, and Intention to Recommend”, which appeared in Journal of Travel Research 56(1), pp. 41–54.

This article represents a severe abuse of the scientific publishing system. The scientific community takes a very strong view on this matter and apologies are offered to readers of the journal and the authors of the original paper that this was not detected during the submission process.

Sharma did not respond to our request for comment. 

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