SASTRA University, Thanjavur, has urged the Prof. Tandon Committee to have a relook at the parameters being considered for review of the deemed university status.

The committee has been asked to ensure that standards of higher education and research are maintained by such institutions to justify their continuance as deemed universities.

A public interest litigation petition filed by advocate Viplav Sharma in 2006 in the Supreme Court, seeking regulation of these universities, will come up for further hearing on September 29. He has challenged the norms for conferment of the deemed university status.

At the last hearing on July 31, the Centre sought time on the ground that the Tandon Committee was expected to submit its report in the middle of September. Now its report is likely in the first week of October.

At the committee meeting early this week, one of the aspects considered pertained to research and publication of articles in scientific journals. R. Sethuraman, Vice-Chancellor of SASTRA University, felt that using the Science Citation Index (SCI) only for such consideration was not a proper method of measuring the research activities of a university or scientific organisation. “Since a university produces research papers in all fields, the basis for using SCI alone to judge the quality of research (for the entire university) is an area of concern for academics and researchers.”

He said the popular (but not necessarily accepted) “SCI does not necessarily include several journals of repute, even in science and engineering.”

In the area of environmental impact assessment,’ “there are only two journals, of which one is the official journal of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA), the only international body for impact assessment. However, this journal is neither listed in the SCI, nor does it have an impact factor. The Indian academic community, as in China, must be encouraged to publish in reputed journals without being influenced by the SCI score.”

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