Friday, January 7, 2011

India amongst the top-10 research producing countries in the world

Latest research has revealed that India is in fact one of the 10 most research producing countries n the world. According to Elsevier's bibliometric tool SciVal Spotlight, India is prominanant in research in many disciplines where India's share in chemistry (35 per cent), engineering (18 per cent), mathematics and physics (11 per cent) and biology (10 per cent) was found to be very impressive.

While India was ranked amongst the top 10 in the quantity of research produced, it dropped many notches when it was ranked amongst top 20 when quality was factored in the rankings. University of Delhi was still able to rank amongst top 10 in terms of quality.

Pakistan under General Musharraf also tried to address the lack of research generated by the institutions of higher learning. However, the approach to address the research gap was rather flawed. Under the Musharaf regime, academics' salariries were increased manifold and the research academics were further incentivised to take on graduate students and research for even higher wage benefits. The result was an increase in the research throughput, but the quality was dubious at best. Higher wages rather corrupted the academic institutions, transforming them from being institutes of higher learning into institutes of higher earning.

Now that the American and European funds into higher education have dried up, the Higher Education Commission does not have the means to support the salaries and stipends of researchers it had sent abroad for doctoral studies. The capital intensive brick and mortar spending in the name of research has also stopped leaving partially built structures on many cmpuses. Earlier in 2010, vice chancellors from leading universities in Pakistan threatened to shut down all public sector universities in Pakistan unless the government restored their funding. A compromise was reached between the government and the universities where some operating funds were restored to allow universities to be able to pay the inflated wages sanctioned under the Musharraf regime.

While India has left Pakistan behind in quality and quantity of research, the academics in Pakistan still refuse to accept the fact that they are running an intellect-free enterprise churning out graduates of dubious credentials. This has to change. Unless the academics in Pakistan realize that their research is not helping Pakistan resolve its core challenges, there is no point churning out 1,000 PhDs a year in Pakistan.
Scopus, which served as the underlying bibliometric database for SciVal Spotlight, had sourced over 18,000 journals from over 5,000 publishers, scanning 42 million records (70 per cent abstract) and over three million conference papers. From working with researchers and librarians, Elsevier was moving towards the top of the pyramid. SciVal Spotlight was developed to target institutional heads such as deans, provosts, directors and heads of departments and government funding agencies, Dr. Kolman said. “SciVal Spotlight, will help evaluate research and establish strengths greatly assisting in policy formulation.”

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