Perspectives in Clinical Research

: 2013  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 240--241

Indian Medical Research: Encouraging trends

Sanjay Kalra1, Bharti Kalra2, Vibha Pathak3,  
1 Department of Endocrinology, Bharti Hospital and Bride, Karnal, Haryana, India
2 Department of Gynaecology, Bharti Hospital and Bride, Karnal, Haryana, India
3 Department of Clinical Research, Bharti Hospital and Bride, Karnal, Haryana, India

Correspondence Address:
Sanjay Kalra
Department of Endocrinology, Bharti Hospital and Bride, Karnal, Haryana

How to cite this article:
Kalra S, Kalra B, Pathak V. Indian Medical Research: Encouraging trends.Perspect Clin Res 2013;4:240-241

How to cite this URL:
Kalra S, Kalra B, Pathak V. Indian Medical Research: Encouraging trends. Perspect Clin Res [serial online] 2013 [cited 2022 Aug 7 ];4:240-241
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Research in India has often received step motherly treatment. This is reflected in the poor showing of Indian authors in an international citation index in the past. Referred to as "the sleeping elephant," India was earlier a minor contributor to world research across all disciplines. [1]

The situation began to change in the mid-90's, when Indian researchers from all fields of science began publishing their work in citable journals. A review of the status of Indian research, vis-à-vis other countries, based upon Thomson Reuters rankings, reported that India ranked 12 th in number of papers and 18 th in number of citations from 1999-2008. [2] Indian researchers published 242,222 papers from 1999-2008, contributing 2.6% of world scientific output. This is marginally higher than its 2.5% contribution from 1989-1993. While India ranks far behind USA, Japan, Germany, England and China, it scores more than South Korea and Brazil. [3],[4]

Thomson Reuters had earlier predicted a rosy future for Indian research, prophesizing that Indian output would reach that of the G8 nations, and perhaps overtake them by 2015-2020. [1] The rapid growth of Indian journals, including Perspectives in Clinical Research, is part of this positive trend.

Recent rankings released by Thomas Reuters, based on the 2001 to August 31, 2011 time frame, [5] support this prediction. India now ranks 11 th in number of papers (293,049) and 16 th in citations (1,727,973), an improvement over its 1999-2008 positions of 12 and 18. This improvement is clearly due to a rise in Indian research output between 2009 and 2011, which is maintained year on year. The steep rise in citations is beaten only by China, and matched by Brazil and South Korea. [6]

Within Asia, India ranks third in numbers of papers (after China at 2 nd and Japan at 4 th place). It occupies fourth place in terms of citations, after Japan (#4), China (#7) and South Korea (#14). India comfortably beats the other BRICS countries: Russia and Brazil rank 13 th and 15 th in total output, and Brazil occupies 20 th place in citation frequency. [5]

When different scientific disciplines are analyzed separately, India scores well in material science, agricultural science, and chemistry, contributing >5% of global papers. Among medical and allied sciences, its best performance is in pharmacology (3.37%). Microbiology (2.33%), immunology (1.35%), molecular biology and genetics (1.27%), and clinical medicine (1.26%) show India delivering a below-par performance as compared to other countries. Our poorest performance is in neurosciences and behavior, and psychology/psychiatry where we contribute 0.60% and 0.33% of global research.

When assessed as impact/citation relative to the world our cites-per-paper is low in all medical fields. We are unable to achieve a better than 36% impact in any medical field. [7] The relatively poor numerical strength and below par visibility of Indian medical writers is due to many reasons. Limited access to international libraries, poor accessibility to research tools/finance to many professional medical writing and biostatistics documentation impacts our work negatively. [4] These factors; however, are being addressed through multiple programs throughout the country.

This trend holds promise for Indian researchers, who are gradually staking claim to their rightful place under the sun. This communication hopes to highlight the improvement in Indian rankings in the field of research; thus, encouraging younger physicians to actively engage in this field. At the same time, it sends a message to focus on quality, not only quantity, and improve the citability of published work.


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