An exploratory study of Indian science and technology publication output.

Author:Buchandiran, G.


The contribution of a nation to research promotes the knowledge building process. Understanding the research contribution of a nation is the basic component in science policy. In reality, science auditing is a complex process. The science policy makers employ a large number of science indicators--not all are equally important. Metrics employed in this study are not comprehensive as they are limited to scientific publications. Science auditing is not confined to a small set of indicators. To arrive at a broad science policy, we need to use many other indicators.

The paper presents the data and analyses and the review or evaluation of Indian research productivity from the derived data. The descriptions presented are the reflection of publication profile only and no way conclusive.


Most government statistics are the outcome of the documentation of productivity from databases. They are totals calculated for a number of dimensions and published as such. These statistics are simple numbers produced by additions, not by complex mathematical tools (such as regressions and correlations). They refer not to the methodology for the treatment of data but to the data themselves.

Science and technology statistics follow the same pattern.

As the primary motivation to do this work is to analayse the scientific productivity of India using publication counts, the following specific objectives are set forth.

* To observe the Indian scientific publication output for a period of five years;

* To find and analyse the publication output of institutions contributing to the research output;

* To observe the output in different disciplines and to document the trend in output in terms of discipline orientation;

* To compare to a lesser degree the output of India in relation to China and South Korea; and

Data Source and Calculation of Indicators

Two crucial indicators employed in measuring research performance are the publication and citation indicators, although the assessment is not limited to the above two. Publications in the peer reviewed journals and further parameters based on publications and the impact of the publications based on the citation score of the journals are the derived indicators for the current presentation.

The bibliometric measures used in this paper are:

* The number of publications from India as indexed in the SCI, which count research papers with Indian authors addresses,

* Number of papers produced by the Indian institutions. The above assignment applies to measure the productivity of institutions,

* The perceived quality of publications as measured through the Subfiled Impact Factor (the ratio between the total citations received in the current year for the articles published in the previous two years and total papers published in the previous two years) and the following databases have been used to present the data contained in this study

  1. Science Citation Index Expanded published by the Institute for Scientific Information. The primary database for the current study is the Science Citation Index expanded which indexes more than 7000 journals. The SCI expanded version is published by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) which selects the above thousands journals among the hundred thousands scientific journals based on a few criteria. The ISI indexed journals by and large are significant than the journals not covered by ISI.

  2. Journal Citation Reports (JCR) published by the Institute for Scientific Information.

  3. Essential Citation Indicators, the product of the ISI which systematically publish consolidated and cumulative bibliometric data about journals, countries and disciplines; and

  4. Direct scanning of thousands of Indian serial publications to identify the 'real journals' in science and technology.

    Scientific Output

    In the period 1998-2009, the Indian S & T output as reflected in ISI database, is skewed. In the last five years (2005-2009) a significant growth is observed. Particularly in the year 2009, there is remarkable increase of 25% in scientific publications than the previous year. The table 1 shows...

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