A Scientometric Assessment of Indian Himalayan R&D Publications during 2004-13.

Author:Gupta, B.M.
  1. Introduction

    The Himalaya region consists of series of parallel and converging mountain ranges forming the highest mountain region (with more than 30 peaks above 25000 ft) in the world. and extends over 3500 [km.sup.2] length and cover an area of 43 lakh [km.sup.2] across the countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar. This region is highly rich in natural resources, but is still considered as underdeveloped with poor infrastructure (1).

    The Indian Himalayan region (IHR) has a wide width (with 250-300 km at its widest part with an average width of 80 Km.) stretches over 2,500 km and covers partially/fully twelve states of India, viz., Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya and hills of Assam & West Bengal. It is inhabited by 3,96,28,311 people from multiple ethnic compositions and representing different cultural and biological diversity, representing about 16.2% of total area and 3.86% of total population of India, respectively. Natural geological wealth, forestry, wild life, flora, fauna and biodiversity, snow, ice and water bodies, traditional knowledge and mountain agriculture which characterize the region are special (1-2).

    The Himalayan mountain range, developed in a series of stages 30 to 50 million years ago, was the result of collision of India with Asia along the convergent boundary. There were powerful earth movement between the Indo-Australian plate and the Eurasian plate that resulted in the creation of Himalayan range. The earth movements raised the deposits laid down in the ancient, shallow Tethys Sea (on the present site of the mountains) to form the Himalayan ranges. The collision of India and Asia was due to mechanics below the earth surface. There are various plates that collide, recede and slide from each other at about 2cm/per year. This action beneath the earth's surface leads to the rising of Himalayas by about 5 mm per year. The height and width of the mountain will change according to the action beneath the earth's surface. The region is also characterized by its geological phenomena and hazards of natural disasters like drought, floods, cyclones, landslides and frequent earthquakes (3).

    The Himalaya has vast area under permanent snow cover and glaciers (estimated to be 33,000 [km.sup.2] and about 17% of IHR), and about 30-40% under seasonal snow cover, form a unique water reservoir. The glaciers provide estimated 8.6x106 m3 of water annually, feeding many rivers, that provide water for drinking, irrigation, and hydropower. (1-2).

    The Himalayas are a globally recognized biodiversity hotspot, a repository of the most amazing biodiversity and a wealth of other resources, a source of valuable medicinal & food plants, rare and beautiful animal species. The region serves as a rich repository of plant and animal wealth in diverse ecological systems (6). More than 41.5% of IHR is under forests representing one-third of the total forest cover in India. The IHR is a storehouse of several species (including rare & valuable species) of medicinal & aromatic plants. A bio-geographically unique region, with vast of its range of altitudes, it provides diverse agro-climatic conditions that support about 8000 species of flowering plants, i.e., nearly 50% (of which 30% are endemic) of the total flowering plants of India. There are over 816 tree species, 675 edibles and nearly 1748 species of medicinal value in the IHR. In addition, different parts such as roots, tubers, fruits, flowers, seeds and leaves/fronds of over 200 species of medicinal plants are consumed either raw, roasted, boiled, fried, cooked or in the from of oil, spice and seasoning materials, jams, pickles, etc. Most species form supplementary/substitute food at the time of scarcity. Many medicinal plants in the IHR have multipurpose use and about 81 medicinal plant species are also the source of important fatty and essential oils used for edible as well as industrial purposes (1-2,4).

    In view of critical importance pf Indian Himalaya, the Indian Government Cabinet on 28 February 2014 approved the plan outlay of $55 million for India's National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem (NMSHE), to be monitored under India's National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), launched in 2008.. The primary objective of NMSHE is to develop a sustainable national capacity to assess the health status of the Himalayan ecosystem and enable policy bodies in their policy-formulation functions as also to assist States in the Indian Himalayan Region with implementation of actions selected for sustainable development. It will attempt to address the following issues: (i) Himalayan glaciers and associated hydrological consequences; (ii) Prediction and management of natural hazards; (iii) Biodiversity conservation and protection; (iv) Wild life conservation and protection; (v) Traditional knowledge societies and their livelihood; (vi) Capacity in regulation of science and critical peer evaluation to help governance issues related to sustenance of the Himalayan Ecosystem and (vii) Assist in restoration and rehabilitation process of Uttarakhand (5-6)

    1.1 Literature Review

    There are only few publications in Himalayan R&D. Among them, Sivasekaran and Srinivasaragava (7) examined 3841 global publications in Himalayan R&D during 2001-11, with a focus on its literature growth, authorship pattern, the extent of collaboration and identification of top 10 most productive institutions, authors and journals. Wang and Ma (8) coupled the bibliometrics and Geographical Information System (GIS) technologies and by using the spatial information mining and visualization techniques studied Qinghai-Tibet Plateau's region literature of China Himalayan region. However, there are many scientometric studies which are focused on various areas closely related to Himalayan R&D, such as plate tectonics (9), geographical information system (10-12), remote sensing (13-14), climate change (15-16), earthquakes (17), sediment related research in earth science (18), landslide (19), water resources (20), biodiversity (21-22) and medicinal plants (23-24)

  2. Objectives

    The main objectives of this study are to analyze the Indian research performance in Himalayan R&D during 2004-13, based on publications output, as indexed in Scopus database. In particular, the study focuses on the following objectives:

  3. To study the global and Indian research output, its growth and citation impact

  4. To study the contribution & citation impact of top 10 most productive countries;

  5. To study the distribution of citations registered by Indian papers;

  6. To study the international collaboration share in publication output of top 10 most productive countries and the extent of inter-country collaborative linkages between them;

  7. To study the share of international collaborative papers in Indian research output and share of leading foreign collaborators in Indian research output;

  8. To study the distribution of Indian research output by broad subject areas;

  9. To study the publication productivity and citation impact of thirty leading institutions and authors;

  10. To study the media of communications;

  11. To study the characteristics of highly cited papers

  12. Methodology

    The study retrieved and downloaded the publication data of the world and of 10 most productive countries in Himalayan R&D from the Scopus database (http://www.scopus.com) for 10 years during 2004-13. The keyword "himalay*" was used in "title, abstract and keyword" tag and restricting it to the period 2004-13 in "date range tag" for searching the global publication data in the study and this was the main search string. Date on India and 9 other most productive countries were obtained, by restricting the main search string to "India" and other 9 most productive countries in "country tag", as shown below. When the main search string is further restricted to "subject area tag", "country tag", "source title tag", "journal title name" and "affiliation tag", we got information on distribution of publications by subject, collaborating countries, organization-wise and journal-wise, etc. For citation data, the three years, two years, one year citation window was used for publications during 2004-11, 2012 and 2013. In addition, citations of publications was also collected from date of publications till the end of June 2014 for sections on media of communication and high cited publications.


    A total of 9909 and 4862 publications appeared globally and from India on Himalayan R&D during 2004-13, increasing from 580 and 254 in 2004 to 1474 and 757 in 2013, witnessing an annual average growth rate of 11.11% and 13.21%. Their cumulative output have increased from 3796 and 1695 during 2004-08 to 6113 and 3167 during 2009-13, registering a growth rate of 61.04% and 86.84%. The average citation per paper registered by global and Indian publications in Himalayan R&D was 3.01 and 1.86 during 2004-13, which decreased from 3.10 to 2.96 and increased in India from 1.81 to 1.88 from 2004-08 to 2009-13 (Table 1).

    Of the total Indian publications on Himalayan R&D during 2004-13, 37.60% and did not receive any citation and 62.40% received one or more citations (since their publication till July 2014). Of the cited publications, 0.4% publications (receiving above 100 citations) contributed 4.48% citations, 1.07% publications (receiving citations from 51 to 100) contributed 13.39% citations, 1.71% publications (receiving citations from 31 to 50) contributed 12.56% citations, 11.48% publications (receiving citations from 11 to 30) contributed 35.42% citations and 48.00% publications (receiving citations from 1 to 10) contributed 34.15% citations. (Table 2).

    4.1 Global Contribution & Citation Impact of Top 10 Most Productive Countries

    The research output in Himalayan R&D...

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