The University Grants Commission has found over 3,000 Indian journals
unsuitable for academic publication but has allowed higher education
institutes to take a call on papers that have already appeared in
journals not part of a drastically pruned list it has come up with.
521 Indian journals, from across disciplines, are on this “reference
list” the higher education regulator notified on June 14.
paper published in any of the journals on the reference list can be
considered a scholarly work. But the reference list does not necessarily
mean publications in other journals are worthless. The university
awarding a PhD degree or the selection committees concerned (for hiring
faculty) would have to take a call on the merit of the publications in
journals outside the UGC’s reference list,” Prof. Bhushan Patwardhan,
the commission’s vice-chairman, told The Telegraph.
According to
UGC norms that came into force a decade ago, assistant professors and
associate professors need to publish research papers or books to be
eligible to go further in their careers, while doctoral students are
required to publish a paper in a referred journal.
Patwardhan said this requirement led to a proliferation of predatory journals where authors get papers published against a fee.
check such unfair practice, the UGC had in 2017 notified an “approved
list” of about 35,000 journals. Papers published in any of these
journals were to be accepted at face value.
The list, however, led
to complaints of omission, prompting the UGC to allow universities to
suggest left-out journals that could be included.
universities suggested journals without proper checks, resulting in
inclusion of dubious journals in the list. India has been maligned
globally because of the predatory journals. Many predatory journals
flourished in India during the last ten years,” Patwardhan said.
this year, the UGC decided to bring out a new reference list and asked
all stakeholders to submit names of journals for scrutiny. It set up a
Consortium of Academics and Research Ethics at Savitribai Phule Pune
University, which went by the content of the journals.
then notified the new reference list, which kept intact the over 30,000
largely foreign journals mentioned in global databases such as Scopus
and Web of Sciences. But the commission made drastic changes to its
earlier list of Indian journals.
Among the 1,445 science journals
analysed, only 250 made it to the list. The corresponding numbers for
social science journals were 1,118 and 177.
Only 83 arts/humanities journals among the 791 analysed made it, while 11 out of 407 multidisciplinary journals were included.
all, only 521 journals found mention in the latest list among the over
3,800 that were analysed, including 60 with duplicate titles.
A.K. Mohapatra, who teaches in Jawaharlal Nehru University, said
candidates might face problems because of the deletion of journals from
the earlier UGC list.
“Now many universities are in the process of
recruiting faculty members. Many good journals have been deleted from
the latest UGC list. Candidates who have published in earlier journals
will face difficulties,” Mohapatra said.
But Patwardhan defended
the idea of a reference list of peer-reviewed journals and pointed out
that universities have been allowed to take a call on papers published
in journals outside the list.
Rajesh Jha, a member of the
executive council of Delhi University, said universities or selection
panels were unlikely to deviate from the UGC list and consider papers
published in other journals.
“Selection panels in most
universities will follow the UGC list, which is practically the final
list. Thousands of candidates will be victims,” Jha said.
said the onus was also on vice-chancellors and expert panels.
“Selection committees for appointments to faculty posts need not just
follow the mechanical method of counting the number of papers published
by a candidate but look at the quality of work. Good experts should be
on the panels.”
Mohapatra said the UGC should rank journals based on their quality.