Subbiah Arunachalam, Indian Institute of Science and Centre for Internet and Society, both Bengaluru, India, and colleagues have analyzed contributions from India in leading chemistry journals in the time from 1991 to 2015 to evaluate the progress of chemistry in the country. The team used databases such as Nature Index, SCImago, and the Web of Science – Science Citation Index Expanded and compared India’s performance to other countries, China in particular.
The team observed a growth rate of 8.9 % in the three-year moving average of the number of papers from Indian contributors. The number of articles in leading multidisciplinary chemistry journals such as Angewandte Chemie and the Journal of the American Chemical Society also increased at a more than proportionate rate. However, compared to its large population (ca. 17 % of the world’s total), India is underrepresented in top journals. Additionally, India contributes only a small fraction of the most highly cited papers in chemistry, a category led by China as of 2013.
The team attributes these results partly to the reluctance of India’s chemistry departments to encourage cross-disciplinary research and research in emerging fields. Many of the top papers from India stem from only a small number of institutions, which shows support for a broad base in chemistry research in the country could also improve the number of high-quality articles. According to the researchers, programs to keep highly qualified graduates in India have been started in recent years, but have yet to bear fruit.
- Chemistry research in India: making progress, but not rapidly,
Subbiah Arunachalam, Muthu Madhan and Subbiah Gunasekaran,
Curr. Sci. 2017, 112, 1330–1339.