India boasts of eminent science and social science institute like IISc, IITs, TIFR, JNU and Tiss. Yet, only 10 Indians figure among the world’s top 1% highly-cited researchers (HCR) in the two fields. To top it, some of the 10 are not from the country’s leading institutes. The list, comprising over 4,000 of the globe’s most ‘influential’ researchers has been released by firm Clarivate Analytics.
Eminent scientist and former head of the scientific advisory council to the PM, C N R Rao, figures on the list. More than 80% of the names in the list, which covers over 60 countries, come from only 10 countries . Remarkably, 70% are from just five countries. Among institutions, Harvard University has the highest representation on the list, with 186 names.
While India’s representation is negligible, China with 482 names is third on the list. The US tops the list with 2,639 names and the UK comes second with 546 names.JNU’s Dinesh Mohan, who figures on the list, said that till last year, less than five Indians would be on the list.“This year, they have included an additional category of ‘cross-field’, which took the number to 10,”he said. Rao said India must improve its quality of research, along with quantity to improve citations.
“About 15 years ago, China and India were at the same level. But China contributes to 15-16% of science inhe world and ours is only about 3-4%,” he said. Ashok Pandey, from CSIR’s Indian institute of Toxicology Research, is the only HCR from CSIR, which has a network of 5,000 scientists. “It is a matter of concern and needs to be addressed by the government, and stakeholders, including scientists,” he said. IIT-Kanpur professor Avinash Agarwal, who is on the list, said applied research does not get enough respect in a country like India, which is obsessed with fundamental research. “We need to improve our research ecosystem…Predatory journals, where you pay and publish, need to be penalised.”
The other Indian names on the list are: Alok and Jyoti Mittal (a married couple; Jyoti is the only woman researcher on the list) from NIT Bhopal;Rajnish Kumar from IIT-Madras;Sanjeeb Sahoo from Institute of Life Sciences, Bhubaneswar; Rajeev Varshney from International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Hyderabad; Sakthivel Rathinaswamy from Bharathiar University, Coimbatore.