Stanford ranking: Scary Reflections on Indian Science

Tapan Misra

The author, Tapan Misra, is a distinguished scientist with India’s Department of Space. He has earlier headed the Space Application Centre. He is seen with NASA Administrator, acclaimed astronaut and former Space Shuttle Commander, Charles Bolden, who visited SAC in 2013 to specifically visit the lab where RISAT could be built at such an economical cost under the leadership of Tapan Misra

Unfortunately, in our country, more and more science and engineering research is being practised like any other career. Same type of cronyism, regionalism, Mai-Bap’s blessings have made big inroads in building so called illustrious scientific careers and recognitions. Scientific careers based on merit have become more of an exception than rule.

Recently Stanford University has published ranking of top 2% most-cited scientists. The list includes staggering 1,59,683 scientists. Of them, 1492 are from Indian universities, IITs, medical colleges and other institutions. Congratulation to all of them.

What puzzled me is the contribution of Indian scientists among the list- it is just abysmal 0.93%, just unbelievable in comparison to macho image we created for our prowess in science. Compare Egypt’s contribution of 396 scientists in the list, 26% of Indian list.

Does it reflect a true picture? If it is a true picture, it is really scary for Indian science and engineering. We need to reinvent out science education and research, the way we promote science, recognise scientists, our reward system, our choice of scientific leaders entrusted to furtherance of science. It is time for serious introspection by our scientists and political and Government leadership. We have had enough of playing victim cards, blame game on Government etc. etc. The buck stops at we-scientists’ tables

Unfortunately, in our country, more and more science and engineering research is being practised like any other career. Same type of cronyism, regionalism, Mai-Bap’s blessings have made big inroads in building so called illustrious scientific careers and recognitions. Scientific careers based on merit have become more of an exception than rule.

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