The Philosophy Of Research And Its Publication In Indian Academia
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The Philosophy of Research and its Publication in Indian Academia

Science publication has become quite a racket.

The highly "rated" journals charge quite exorbitantly and given the foreign currency conversion, scientists from middle to low income countries like India find it difficult to publish in quality journals.

Given the slow turnaround time and sometimes redundant little editorial demands or superiority of English, I feel it also takes away a lot of quality time when scientists could have concentrated on doing the actual work than break their heads over getting their work published in certain journals.

Result is that science is becoming fancier with "big data" with less and less real and useful information.

At this stage, I strongly feel that we, in India, ought to concentrate more on the societal and scientific impact of the science we do rather than index factors and impact factors which carry little meaning in the context of community or the nation's progress.

This hankering after recognition from the west and its pet club journals which have made scientific dadagiri their prerogative, has been crippling for Indian science.

I say we do science like we make films. Give a damn to the west. Set our own standards.

Too many platitudes are being mouthed by these so-called science bigwigs, who have crippled Indian academia. These so called stalwarts have been sitting on committees and deciding the fate of scientific aspirants and science policies of this country whereas much of what has been done post-independence, at least in Bioscience, have made little dent in solving fundamental scientific riddles or translating them into actionables.

I am saddened by the pettifogging on lists and publications while serious biomedical, population, ecological and environmental issues stare us in the face. But no, we academics need to feel highbrow about such things and crib about journals and scores. Quality, I feel comes from how deeply one thinks things through, about understanding and solving a problem, rather than worrying about the rhetoric of how impressively or fashionably correctly one did it.

I find students more worried about learning fancy techniques than analyzing patterns of data. I find scientific workers depending more and more on data generated by cool gadgets or expensive kits (bought by much head banging with foreign currency) than simplifying complex phenomenon and trying to understand them empirically and analytically.

This, is a tragic fallout of over-emphasis on journals and scores than what lies at the heart of science, the spirit of inquiry, the very foundation of what distinguishes us from our fellow beings on this planet.