Indian Journal of Public Health

: 2015  |  Volume : 59  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 328--329

Publish or perish: Are indians catching up?

Siddharth Sarkar1, Divya Seshadri2,  
1 Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Sree Balaji Medical College and Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Consultant, Department of Dermatology, Apollo First Med Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Siddharth Sarkar
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Sree Balaji Medical College and Hospital, 7 Works Road, Chromepet, Chennai - 600 044, Tamil Nadu

How to cite this article:
Sarkar S, Seshadri D. Publish or perish: Are indians catching up?.Indian J Public Health 2015;59:328-329

How to cite this URL:
Sarkar S, Seshadri D. Publish or perish: Are indians catching up?. Indian J Public Health [serial online] 2015 [cited 2023 Mar 26 ];59:328-329
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Publications seem to be the cardinal measure of scientific contribution among academic circles all over the world. In addition to researchers, teachers have been encouraged to demonstrate adequate publication output to retain their tenures. The number and impact of publications have become the benchmark in deciding selection for research grants, faculty positions, and promotions though disquiet about such developments have been expressed. [1],[2] Academic institutions aim to produce larger numbers of high impact factor peer-reviewed articles, which is reflected in the substantial increase in the volume of scientific published literature. Whether it actually translates to scientific breakthroughs and clinical utility may be a matter of debate.

Not to be left behind, Indian academic establishments and the scientific community have embraced the culture of publication. Publications are increasingly becoming the key factor for obtaining grants and recognition. The volume of medical scientific articles authored by Indians is steadily rising, as evidenced by the fact that India has crawled up in the global medical publication rankings from the 14 th position in 2003 to the 11 th position in 2013. [3] It must be noted that China has ascended from the 11th to the 2nd position in the same time period while the United States has retained its supremacy. In this period, the contribution from India to published medical literature worldwide has risen from 1.70% to 2.86%. Indians produced 22,949 medical citations in 2013 compared to 7,296 in 2003, which reflects an increase of 215%.

For India, several positives have come out of this increasing trend of scientific publications. Such a focus has stimulated a culture of promoting research and has encouraged academicians to be more updated about their fields. To catch up with the West and to improve their chances of being published in international journals, Indian researchers are also paying more attention to scientific rigor and ethical considerations. It has helped to make the selection process for faculty positions and research grants more objective. Also, it has paved the way for inclusion of newer technologies and thought processes in research work.

The rapid expansion of the publication culture has created some questions and dilemmas as well. The increasing priority given to publications for career growth has resulted in the relative neglect of teaching activities because of the considerable time demands of research work. The increased production of potentially publishable material has resulted in the mushrooming of online journals from India, with some having questionable editorial standards. [4] Also, the "pressure to publish" might lead to the use of unscrupulous methods, as has been observed elsewhere. [5] In the field of medicine, the humanitarian aspect of patient care may suffer at the cost of research. Moreover, researchers feel impelled to work upon "current fields of interest" internationally, resulting in the possible neglect of scientific inquiry into more regionally and culturally relevant topics.

The way forward in the future lies in slowly changing gears from the "publication race" of the present times to a more progressive and inclusive "publication march." During policy-making and fund allotment, authorities need to give greater consideration to the quality of research and also its utility and relevance to the Indian scenario and cultural milieu. At the same time, strict safeguards need to be in place to promote responsible and ethical research work.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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5Qiu J. Publish or perish in China. Nat News 2010;463: 142-3.