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India must promote international collaborations in research: Gino Ussi

Posted on Monday, December 10, 2018

Despite producing large number of research papers, India lags behind in quality research. Gino Ussi, executive vice president, Elsevier speaks to Sheetal Banchariya about the need for international collaborations

India is the world’s fifth largest producer of scientific papers and the country’s research output experienced a strong growth rate of 9% annually from 2013 to 2017. Despite a low gross expenditure on research and development (GERD), Indian researchers are proving to be highly productive with the highest annual average article output per researcher as compared to peer nations.

However, the average quality of Indian research as measured by the Field-Weighted Citation Impact (FWCI) remains low at 0.81 (19% below the global average of 1) and has seen a modest improvement in the past five years. In addition, the success rate of getting a patent has decreased significantly from 40% in 2008 to 8% in 2016.

Given that research is a collaborative and engagement-based activity, India will reap the benefits if there’s a greater strategic collaboration between corporates and academia. “As India seeks to become an innovation-led economy, the government can encourage Indian universities to cooperate more with their international peers and commercial entities in different research fields,” says Gino Ussi, executive vice president, Elsevier.

“International collaborations are helpful in improving the quality of research papers and provide an opportunity for exposure to a larger readership. On average, when Indian researchers collaborate internationally on co-authored articles, the citation impact of those articles can potentially increase by more than 400% as compared to research articles produced by only a single Indian author,” says Ussi.

In the near future, content providers and researchers will have to share the responsibility of advancing science to benefit society. Today, the world is facing complex sustainability challenges such as health, energy, environment, food sustenance and social justice, and universities are increasingly recognising that they can play a role in addressing these issues. As they navigate this new reality, researchers, universities and funders are working towards a new paradigm by engaging with the broader stakeholder community to solve grand challenges of the modern age.

As research is a cumulative activity that builds upon the findings of past and other research, academic publishers, says Ussi, have a key role to play in facilitating knowledge transfer for researchers to conduct research more efficiently and effectively. He adds, “Reading platforms are also becoming places of knowledge transfer, allowing researchers to design, prepare and execute experiments with the objective to learn and further advance the acquired knowledge.”

 

 

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