‘Indian research skewed towards engineering, sciences’

India’s output of scientific publications may be increasing but their quality is skewed. Though India annually publishes about 1,00,000 research papers, its top research institutions appear to be focussed on engineering and physical sciences. Indian institutions did not make the quality cut or were too few in the arts and humanities, business, management and accounting, neuroscience, nursing, psychology and social sciences, according to an analysis in the August 10 issue of the peer-reviewed Current Science journal.

“India’s research base is completely skewed towards physical sciences and engineering with very little for biological sciences and medicine, and virtually none in social sciences, arts and humanities when excellence at the highest level is considered,” says author Gangan Prathap, former Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) director and now at the Thrissur-based Vidya Academy of Science and Technology. “There seems to be no visible output at the highest levels regarding the attention it needs to give to various social and economic challenges.” He was travelling and unavailable for immediate comment, according to his office.

The findings come even as Y.S. Chowdary, MoS, Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, told the Rajya Sabha on August 5 that India’s research performance in science and technology “had improved significantly.” This was as per a report by scientific publisher Elsevier based on the SCOPUS database, a well-known compendium of scientific journals. Against the world average growth rate of 4.1% during 2009-13, for instance, the scholarly output in the field of science grew at 13.9%. India’s global citation impact — the number of times papers authored by Indians were referenced — in scientific research increased to 0.75 during 2009-13 from 0.68 during 2006-10. This was against a world average citation impact of 1.0. India’s scholarly output rose to 1,06,065 papers in 2013 from 62,955 papers in 2009, Mr. Chowdary said.

For his analysis, Mr. Prathap used a web application called Scimago that can be used to mine quality research output from institutions around the world. Their criteria are that institutions ought to have published at least 500 articles, reviews and conference papers, within specific subject areas, between 2008 and 2012.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2020 5:28:21 PM |

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