PETALING JAYA: Fifteen University of Bath graduates have accused University Technology Mara (UiTM) of intellectual property theft after discovering that their MBA thesis papers had been uploaded to its institutional repository.
The 15 students, from four groups of graduates of the 1994 Bath Executive Masters of Business Administration (MBA)-Malaysian Institute of Management (MIM) programme, claimed that their thesis papers had been used without their consent.
Sam Than, who first made the discovery, said he found a link to the repository while searching for information on Google.
The 58-year-old consultant, who completed his group thesis paper for his MBA 22 years ago, found that it was uploaded to the repository.
"What was more puzzling was that our thesis had the UiTM logo and copyright mark on their paper.
"In the preview, you can see the UiTM logo clearly placed on the front of the project page, giving the impression that we had somehow collaborated on the thesis with UiTM or under its auspices," he said on Friday.
Than claimed that three other groups from his programme had found their Bath MBA thesis papers in the repository.
"I checked with my classmates and a past administrator of MIM if they had given permission to UiTM to upload their thesis papers and claim copyright.
"Subsequently, I e-mailed UiTM demanding why it was uploaded to its repository and they replied informing me that the thesis had now been taken down," he said.
In an e-mail reply, MIM told The Star that it was not aware of the matter and it would not have given UiTM permission to put up its papers in the repository.
"In the case of a thesis, the intellectual property rights lie with the student and the conferring institution - in this case, the University of Bath," MIM said.
According to UiTM IR's website, it is stated that it is a "centre of digital collections, and acts as an open-access repository that collects, preserves and disseminates scholarly output by university members at UiTM (journal articles, book chapters, books, conference papers, theses, working papers, technical reports, data and other types of research publications as well as unpublished manuscripts and papers)".
A check by the The Star later in the day found that Than's group paper had been taken down from the UiTM repository, but those from the other three groups were still up.
Meanwhile, UiTM IR told The Star via e-mail that it was currently investigating the matter.