UGC sets up body to prepare list of academic journals

The step was taken after reports highlighted that the high number of papers being published in poor quality journals in India, adversely affecting the country’s image, UGC said in a note.

education Updated: Nov 30, 2018 08:25 IST
Amandeep Shukla
Amandeep Shukla
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UGC,academic journals,academic journals UGC
University Grants Commission (UGC) has formed a consortium of academic bodies to prepare and maintain a list of credible journals(HT File Photo)

To curb the practice of academics getting papers included in so-called predatory journals (as dubious or sub-standard publications are called) instead of focusing on quality research, higher education regulator University Grants Commission (UGC) has formed a consortium of academic bodies to prepare and maintain a list of credible journals.

The step was taken after reports highlighted that the high number of papers being published in poor quality journals in India, adversely affecting the country’s image, UGC said in a note.

Named Consortium for Academic Research Ethics (CARE), the body, headed by UGC Vice Chairman Bhushan Patwardhan will prepare a list of journals in the field of social sciences, humanities, languages, arts, culture and Indian knowledge systems etc.

According to a communiqué by UGC Secretary Rajnish Jain, the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), Indian Council of Philosophical Research (ICPR), Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), Sahitya Academy, Lalit Kala Academy, Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) etc will be among the several bodies which will be members of the consortium.

Members of the consortium will prepare the list of quality journals in their respective disciplines within a defined time-frame, it said. Once the CARE reference list of quality journals is released, it will replace the existing UGC list of approved journals, the regulator said.

The decision was taken at the UGC meeting earlier this month, the communiqué said.

“Publications in dubious sub-standard journals leads to long term academic damage and tarnishing of image. research articles published in poor quality journals is reported to be high in India, which has adversely affected its image,” Jain said in the note.

The number of research articles is an important factor in both institutional rankings as well as individual promotions.

The UGC has decided that since science, engineering, technology, agriculture and bio medical sciences are well covered in globally accepted scientific databases such as SCOPUS and Web of Science, journals indexed in these will be considered kosher.

There have been reports about research in India being hollowed out by predatory publishing.

The results of a global sting operation by Polish researchers published in March revealed that 48 so-called scientific journals were happy to have a fictitious scientist – Anna O Szust – on their editorial board. Interestingly, Oszust is Polish for fraud.

The frenzy of publishing low-quality journals received a boost because of the UGC’s method of calculating academic performance indicators (APIs). The API system was introduced in 2010 to decide recruitments and promotions.  Under the API system, points were granted for papers published in any journal with an ISSN, an eight digit code used to identify publications. Unfortunately, many predatory journals also have ISSNs.

First Published: Nov 30, 2018 07:41 IST