Significance of Research


Research is the backbone of innovation and technology which leads to the development of any nation and society in general. Every country encourages research and technology pursuits of its people involved in these fields to stand the competition world over.  Research is being carried by people in different branches of science, medical, technology, arts and humanities.

Expertise and significance of research for a nation or an individual is assessed on the basis of number of publications in reputed national and international journals and the importance of research publications is further analysis on the basis of patents being generated and citation index. Research productivity (in terms of research projects, patents, publications, impact factors, citations, h-index, i10-index, number of Ph.Ds. guided) in educational institutions has become one of the important parameters towards their (institutions) ranking at the national and international level influencing their status towards funding and admission by students. As per UGC guidelines, Academic Performance Indicator (API) score evaluation for recruitment and promotion of college/university faculty and National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) evaluation while ranking national level universities, deemed and deemed-to-be universities give due credit to various research productivity parameters at individual and institute/university/college level.

A citation is a reference to the source of information used in research.  An in-text citation is a brief notation within the text of research paper or presentation which refers the reader to a fuller notation, or end-of-paper citation, that provides all necessary details about that source of information. Citing or documenting the sources used in research serves three purposes: i) it gives proper credit to the authors of the words or ideas that we incorporated into our paper, ii) it allows those who are reading our work to locate our sources, in order to learn more about the ideas that we include in our paper, iii) citing our sources consistently and accurately helps to avoid committing plagiarism in our writing. In simple words, citation of a research paper means its recording by another researcher in his work which is being published. Citations are further classified in various categories like self-citations (means reporting by the same author or his group/colleagues), in low impact factor journals, in high impact factor journals, in the same country or in other countries (developed, developing or under developed). Citations in the highly rated international journals with very high impact factors e.g., nature, are given due importance and value by the scientific community.  In the present era of internet, Research gate, Scopus, Web of science and google scholar portals are giving each and every update about the research publications and citations of every individual. These portals are also selecting and honouring the individuals every year as the most cited authors.  Institutes/universities/R&D organizations of every nation also pay utmost importance to the achievements of people on these parameters not only for their appointments but also for growth in career.

There is no unique or universally-agreed concept of what constitutes extraordinary research performance and elite status in the sciences and social sciences and significance of research all over the world is assessed on the basis of citations the research findings of an individual is attracting. Take any topic of science, technology, medicine and social sciences, the citation record of people from countries like USA, UK, China, Germany, France is extremely well ahead than the citation numbers of people in India. India is littered with renowned and prominent institutions in the sciences, engineering and social sciences – the IITs, IISc, TIFR, JNU, and TISS. Yet, a new report (in 2018 Web Science) figures that only ten Indians are among the world top 1 percent of the world's most-cited researchers.Interestingly, in the report published by Clarivate Analytics, some of the ten researchers aren't even from the leading institutes in the country.The 'Global Highly-Cited Researchers 2018 List' is an annual compilation of statistics about research output from countries, institutions and individuals around the globe. In its 5th edition, the report listed the world's 4000 most 'influential' researchers of 2018, among which exactly 10 are Indian.While the list gathers information about researchers from over 60 different countries, over 80 percent of the 4000 listed names come from just 10 countries, and 70 percent from just 5. United States has the highest representation on the list with 2639 names, with the second largest influence is the United Kingdom with just 546 names. China is third in line with 482, while India is nowhere in the top 10, with all of 10 researchers to contribute. Harvard University was the institute with the most number of influential researchers (186).

Having low very low citation representation means we in India are not doing enough research and not at all the quality research.  Research will get citation only when it will act as a path breaking for other researchers all over the world.  In the present era of information online, it is very easy to get one’s research work noticed if it is worth for that. Need is to do innovative research instead of copying already going on research ideas and just to manipulate them with change of theoretical and experimental parameters and conditions. No doubt, thinking something new need facilities, environment and encouragement but above all it needs sincerity and hard work. Many of the researchers also believe that socio-economic, cultural factors and brain drain have their role to play in such assessments.  Another is industrial partnerships and investments, which are very limited in India compared to elsewhere in the world. It is a matter of concern and needs to be addressed by the government, and stakeholders, including scientists. We need to improve our research ecosystem. There is a lack of focus on quality research in Indian academia. If teachers do not do high-quality research, they will not be updated with new developments.

India is the top country globally to get low-quality research published in ‘predatory’ journals, according to a study which found that it contributed 27 per cent of the scientific studies in bogus publications. The investigation, published in the journal Nature, also showed that majority of papers in suspected biomedical predatory journals (57 per cent) are from high or upper middle income countries, with many coming from prestigious institutions, including the Harvard University in the US.Largely unknown a decade ago, there are now an estimated 8,000 predatory journals collectively publishing more than 400,000 research studies each year. These journals offer to quickly publish research findings, typically at a lower cost than legitimate journals, but do not provide quality controls such as peer review. Researchers found that the top countries publishing in these journals were India (27 per cent), the US (15 per cent), Nigeria (5 per cent), Iran (4 per cent) and Japan (4 per cent).

While searching through the internet, the names of the following three researcher came with highest number of citations in the google scholar. In terms of citations, these people stand far ahead to the Indian authors who were listed in the 'Global Highly-Cited Researchers 2018 List' and given below. Citation of research depends on many factors not under the control of the researcher but innovative and path breaking research will always get good citation. Need is only to think out of box and think something new instead of just trying to take one small step ahead to earlier path travelled by the researchers. 

Dr.Michel Foucault ( October 1926 – 25 June 1984) was a French philosopher, historian of ideas, social theorist, and literary critic has overall 1091105 citations to his credit.

Dr.Pierre Bourdieu( August 1930 – 23 January 2002) was a French sociologist, anthropologist, philosopher and public intellectual is credited with 811892 citations.

Dr.Sigmund Freud ( May 1856-23 September 1939) as an Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis, a clinical method for treating psychopathology through dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst got 556912 citations to his research publucations.

The ten Indian scientists amongst top 4000 influential researcher of the world who have been listed as aHighly Cited Researcher’ for the year 2018 by Web of Science are:

Dr CNR Rao(

With more than 119928 citations is the world-renowned chemist from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Sciences, Bangalore and former advisory councilman to the Prime Minister

Dr Ashok Pandey (

With more than 47405 citations is currently Distinguished Scientist at the Centre for Innovation and Translational Research, CSIR-Indian Institute of Toxicology Research

Dr Rajeev Varshney(

With more than 38233 citations is currently the Research Program Director- at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), a global agricultural research institute

Dr Dinesh Mohan(

Professor at School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India is having more than 32943 citations.

Dr AvinashKumar Agarwal: From IIT Kanpur, has made outstanding contributions to the research related to IC engine combustion

Dr Alok Mittal: Professor of Chemistry & Dean (R & C) at Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology in Bhopal

Dr Jyoti Mittal: Dept. of Chemistry & Dean (R & C) at Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology in Bhopal

Dr Rajnish Kumar: IIT Madras

Dr SanjeebSahoo: Institute of Life Sciences, Bhubaneswar

Dr SakthivelRathinaswamy: Bharathiar University in Coimbatore

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