The University Grants Commission (UGC) has said that though publication of research papers in peer-reviewed journals may not be mandatory anymore for Ph.D. scholars, it will add value when they apply for employment or post-doctoral opportunities.
In new guidelines for Ph.D. scholars, which were notified on Monday, the UGC had done away with the compulsory requirement of getting research papers published in peer-reviewed journals before the final thesis was submitted.
UGC Chairperson M. Jagadeesh Kumar said in a statement that even if publication of research paper in peer-reviewed journals was not compulsory, it did not mean Ph.D. students should stop doing that altogether.
“Focusing on high-quality research will lead to publications in good journals, even if it is not mandatory. It will add value when they apply for employment or post-doctoral opportunities,” he said.
The statement further said that by scrapping the mandatory publication requirement, “we recognise that the one-size-fits-all approach is not desirable. For instance, doctoral scholars in computer science prefer presenting their papers at conferences rather than publishing them in journals. I urge the universities to ensure that the Ph.D. evaluation process is strengthened and research scholars are trained to publish in peer-reviewed journals, present at conferences, and apply for patents where feasible”.
Part-time doctoral programmes
Apart from scrapping the need for getting research papers published in peer-reviewed journals, the new guidelines allow working professionals to pursue part-time doctoral programmes after obtaining a no-objection certificate from their employers. This will benefit working professionals who cannot take long leave to complete their Ph.D.s.
Though the eligibility criteria for full-time and part-time Ph.D. course remain the same, the candidates for the latter would have to produce a “no-objection certificate” which has to state that the candidate is permitted to pursue studies on a part-time basis and if required he or she will be relieved from the duty to complete the course work.
Such part-time programmes are already offered by IITs. The new regulations allow such Ph.D.s to be offered by every university established or incorporated under a Central Act, a Provincial Act, or a State Act, as well as every college and higher educational institution declared in the Official Gazette by the Central government.
The part-time Ph.D. student will have to complete at least six months of course work full-time in consultation with a supervisor. After completion of the course work, the candidates can carry out research work at research facilities in their own organisation or in universities.
The Higher Educational Institution concerned will need to have a mechanism using well-developed software applications to detect plagiarism in research work. The Ph.D. scholar would in fact have to submit an undertaking that there is no plagiarism and a certificate from the research supervisor attesting to the originality of the thesis.