Mapping life sciences research in India: a profile based on BIOSIS 1992-1994

S. Arunachalam

Report submitted to NISSAT, DSIR (1998)

Life sciences research carried out in India, as seen from the journal literature indexed in three years of BIOSIS Biological Abstracts (1992-1994), is quantified and mapped. The Indian institutions active in life sciences research, the journals and sub-fields in which they publish their work, and the impact factors of the journals as seen from Journal Citation Reports 1992 and 1994 are identified. In the three years studied researchers from over 1,400 institutions located in over 450 cities/ towns have authored 20,046 papers in 1,582 journals published from 52 countries. Over 54% of these papers have appeared in 18 Indian journals. While India has contributed papers to al 10 sub-fields, her contribution has exceeded 1,000 papers in three years in only four sub-fields, and 500 papers in seven other sub-fields. Only 49 institutions have published more than 100 papers each. The contribution made by different institutions to 26 sub-fields and to 36 often used journals is highlighted. More than 64% of Indian papers indexed in BIOSIS come from academic institutions. Among scientific agencies, Indian Council of Agricultural Research and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research have published more than 1,500 papers each. In all Indian researchers have published 188 papers (less than 1.0%) in journals with a 1994 impact factor greater than 4.0. More than 46.3% of Indian papers have appeared in non-5CY journals, and a further 37.5% of papers have been published in journals with impact factors less than 1.0. The analysis reveals the existence of two clusters: a large number of institutions devoted to agriculture and classical biology, publishing mostly in low-impact journals, often in Indian journals, and a smaller group of institutions publishing some papers in new biology and some areas of medicine in quality international journals of medium impact. The larger cluster includes the agricultural universities and many general universities, while the smaller cluster includes the Indian Institute of Science, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, National Institute of Immunology, and Indian Institute of Chemical Biology. While it would be desirable for Indian researchers to publish bulk of the agricultural research and a substantial part of medical research in Indian journals, they have no such constraint in new biology and can publish their work in high-impact international journals. Yet only a small proportion of Indian papers in biochemistry and molecular biology, general and internal medicine, microbiology, biophysics, immunology, and gastroenterology have appeared in such journals.


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