UGC Panel recommends Big Changes, publication in ‘Pay & Publish’ journals to become invalid

New Delhi : Suggesting meaningful reforms to promote the quality of research in India, a panel appointed by University Grants Commission has recommended that publication of research material in “predatory” journals or presentations in conferences organised by their publishers should not be considered during the evaluation of any academic credentials, reports Indian Express.

The said credentials include selection, confirmation, promotion, appraisal, and award of scholarships and degrees.

The committee, its 14-page report to the UGC, has also recommended a slew of changes to PhD and MPhil programmes, including setting up a new board for research in social sciences.

Taking stock of how the country had become an extensive market for “predatory” publishers of substandard research journals, a four-member committee — headed by P Balram, former director of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru — was formed by the UGC late last year.

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Previously, former JNU student union president and CPI member Kanhaiya Kumar, who contested unsuccessfully against BJP’s Giriraj Singh in Begusarai, had been at the centre of a controversy when his research article was published in a predatory journal. Such a publication is necessary for getting a doctorate, according to UGC rules.

The reports brought under light over 300 “predatory” publishers bring out journals that claim to be international and publish papers for a “charge” ranging from $30-$1,800 (Rs 2,100 – Rs 1,25,350) per piece. Prominent among such publishers were OMICS, Austin, Science Domain, IAEME and IOSR Journals, which together bring out over 1,200 journals on subjects ranging from medicine to management.

The committee has also suggested to set up R&D Dean in every university among many other measures.