Research Poor: Govt needs to place a lot of emphasis on sound scientific research


The new National Education Policy outlines the vision on creation of research-only institutions; the government needs to act on this fast.The new National Education Policy outlines the vision on creation of research-only institutions; the government needs to act on this fast.

How much catching up India needs to do with the developed world and emerging economic powers in terms of scientific research is evident from the fact that no Indian university figures in the top 100 rankings in the world. Now, a new paper published by Stanford researchers shows that India has quite the gap to cover when it comes to competing globally on human capital in R&D. India has close to a thousand scientists and doctors in the list of the top 2% scientists in the world. But, shrink the pool to the top 10,000, and the country accounts has just 57 researchers. In contrast, China has 404 researchers, whereas the US has 4,978 researchers. Moreover, among the 57, only six figure in the list of the top 1,000, whereas most are in the 9,000 to 10,000 range.

The government needs to place a lot of emphasis on sound scientific research. China recently adopted a strict policy to curb spurious/low-quality research; India could take a cue from this. The Stanford list also underlines the need for India to build research-focused institutions. The new National Education Policy outlines the vision on creation of research-only institutions; the government needs to act on this fast. Moreover, it also needs to increase grants for research in various fields. While India has quite a few highly indexed publications, for a country that has the fourth-highest number of doctoral researchers in the world, it certainly needs more.

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