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Malpractice in Indian Academia UPSC NOTE

 Malpractice in Indian Academia

  • Indian recently became the third largest producer of scientific articles in the world.

  • It a  notable achievement for the world’s fifth largest economy. 

  • But behind the barrage of research papers lies a telling statistic that should be a considerable cause for concern to Indian academia

  • Published papers are retracted when they are found to have mistakes, and retractions remove them from the scientific literature

  • In many instances, papers are also retracted when they are found to contain data or claims produced as a result of misconduct.

  • Historically, a very small fraction of scientific misconduct has been caught.

  • The Retraction Watch database lists 109 reasons for which papers have been retracted. 

  • The reasons can be grouped into three categories:

  1. Grave reasons (constituting serious breach of academic and scientific integrity) 

  2. Misconduct (wherein the author knowingly indulged in misconduct) 

  3. Manipulation of results using computer-generated content; and errors (errors in the article, which can also indicate hasty publication)

  • The data show that the number of retractions in India rose dramatically in 2020-2022.

  • To understand the effects of a higher research output on the number of retractions, consider the ratio of the former to the latter. 

  • As a proxy for quality it indicates an alarming drop in the country – almost halving.

  • As for the domains of retractions, engineering accounts for almost 48% of all cases, up from 36% in 2017-2019, while the humanities grew by 567%.

  • Science itself appears to be relatively untouched by this phenomenon. 

  • The results of a small survey conducted by India Research Watchdog with 364 respondents

  • A little more than half believe that university ranking parameters are behind the rise

  • Another 35% attributed it to unethical researchers, while 10% pointed to the minimal action taken when an allegation is reported or when an offender is ‘caught’. 

  • There are other factors as well, including making it compulsory for PhD students to publish papers (a change instituted in 2017), as a result forcing those unable to do so to resort to low-quality publications, and the proliferation of predatory journals.

  • The data should be an urgent call to action to scrutinise research malpractice in Indian academia. 



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Malpractice in Indian Academia UPSC NOTE
Malpractice in Indian Academia UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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