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India’s labs waking up,surge in global science papers

Often referred to as a “sleeping giant” in scientific literature,India seems to be waking out of its slumber,says a recent global research...

Written by Anubhuti Vishnoi | New Delhi |
January 11, 2010 2:50:28 am

Often referred to as a “sleeping giant” in scientific literature,India seems to be waking out of its slumber,says a recent global research report on “Research and Collaboration in the new Geography of Science” by Thomson Reuters.

As per the report,Chemistry and Pharmacology are fast becoming the most “published” disciplines in India; USA remains its largest research partner even as South Korea is racing ahead of China to partner with India. And Japan’s University of Tokyo collaborates most frequently with Indian researchers.

If the current trajectory continues,the study estimates,India’s productivity would well be on par with that of most G-8 nations within eight years and could even overtake them between 2015-2020.

In a testament to its strength in information technology,computer science accounted for the highest increase in world publications from India between 1999-2003 and 2004-2008,increasing by more than 100%. When it comes to research,India’s strength lies in Chemistry and emerging sectors like pharmacology,microbiology and traditional agricultural sciences.

Consider these:

Between 1993-2003 and 2004-08:

• In Chemistry,India’s research output increased from 21,206 world publications to 33,504

• From a 2.8 per cent share of the world output in pharmacology and toxicology,India’s share is up to 4.25 per cent

• Output in engineering rose from 2.69 per cent to 3.57 per cent

• Microbiology saw publication output rise from 1.62 per cent to 2.79 per cent

Agricultural engineering,Tropical Medicine,Organic Chemistry and Dairy & Animal Science are areas of research where India is picking up well besides Crystallography and Textiles.

Said T Ramasamy,Secretary,Department of Science & Technology: “There has been an 11-12 per cent growth rate in publications and these are of good quality as well,so it is good news. This has to do with increasing investment in the sector. While publications is one aspect of research output and these are signs of revival,much more has to be done so that we can contribute economic value to the country,” he said.

As far as collaboration is concerned,USA remains the biggest international research partner for India right from 1999-2003 until 2004-08 with as many as 10,728 papers published in partnership in the latter phase.

While Germany,UK and Japan follow through,it’s South Korea that has raced ahead,quadrupling its collaborative papers with India — from 558 in 1999-2003 to 2,074 in 2004-08.

Collaborations from China have risen from 674 to 1,665 in the same period. University of Tokyo and the University of Texas collaborate most frequently with India followed by Japan’s Tohoku University and France’s Centre National de la Recherché Scientifique. South Korea’s Korea University and China’s Chinese Academy of Sciences follow next.

One “intriguing outcome” of the analysis,the report says,is that India is looking “east” for its collaborative research.

The Thomson Reuters team included Jonathan Adams,Director,Research Evaluation; Christopher King Editor Science Watch,and Vinay Singh,National manager of India,Healthcare & Science business of Thomson Reuters.

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