Dr. Syed Arshad Hussain Wellcomes You

Is it Lack of Scientific Outlook?
December 27, 2010, 1:50 am
Filed under: My personal opinion, Science policy, Scientific outlook

Lack of scientific outlook

I read with great enthusiasm the editorial ‘Research and the human element’ by Prof. P. Balaram1. His concern about collaborative research and other issues as discussed are very contemporary and timely. Relevant to the subject, I would like to share my feelings and experience as follows;

It is unfortunate that in India we are yet to have good quality scientific journals in different discipline. This is mainly as manuscripts based on a good research work are hardly sent to any Indian journal for publication. During interview or any quality assessment process one will always face the question “how many publications in foreign international journal do you have”? Always publications in foreign journals are being weighted. Even those who are responsible and authority to promote Indian journals are very less interested to publish their research output in any Indian journals. With out good research papers being published in any journal it is hardly possible to improve the quality of the journal!

In India we are always keen to increase the number of publications than the quality of research work. Very few research papers published in prestigious international level journals which are useful for the development of the society. But these are helpful to advance the individual’s carrier. Most of the research results published in the form of papers see the light outside the laboratory and reaches to the common people for effecting their development.

Lack of accountability is also a matter of great concern for the Indian scientists. Researchers are getting crores of funding from different research funding agencies. Costly instruments are being procured. But in the end hardly any advancement of science occurred except some publications in so called good quality international journals. It is extremely important to asses and correlate between the aimed objective and the obtained results in a continuous basis, which is hardly being done.

Problem faced by researchers and scientists in most of the universities and institutes are enormous. In most of the cases the researchers have to face non – cooperation from the university support staffs and it is hardly possible for them to spend the project grant in time. Always there are thousands of rules are framed by the host institute to manage the project which in turn obstruct the smooth running of the project. Starting from quotation collection to utilization certificate preparation everything has to be done by the principal investigators (PI). He has to be mentally prepared to face question by the purchase committee as well as the dealing clerk. In the end PI’s are busy to look after all the project related affairs and find very less time to concentrate on the research work to attain the aimed objective of the project.

It is not easy for a young researcher to have funds in the initial stage of his / her carrier. Despite of preparing good research proposal, they often face the question during the interaction with the project expert committee members that “You have very less experience”. Even for an acting researcher has to face similar questions if he wants to start a new line. Sometimes suggestions are being given “why are you interested in the new line, you are doing well so continue the similar work”.

In India always we discourage criticism. Although positive criticism has a great role in development. If some one try to point out the loop holes of a research paper written by his colleague, he or she may be angry. Here everything is considered as personal rather professional wheather it is a matter of favour or disfavour.

If we see the number of PhD produced in India, it is increasing day by day. Does the quality also following same trend? Hardly any theses submitted to an Indian institute is rejected. The promotion, status, fame etc all are related to the number of PhD theses supervised, number of publication etc. As a whole with us “quantity rules over quality”. Why is so happening? Is it due to lack of scientific outlook? Now its high time to start retinking.


1. Balaram, P. Curr. Sci., 2010, 99, 5-6.