ABS&Comment: Indicators for India

Gretchen Whitney gwhitney at UTKUX.UTCC.UTK.EDU
Fri Jun 18 12:59:24 EDT 1999

TITLE:          Science publication indicators for India: Questions of
                          44: (3) 347-360 MAR-APR 1999

Document type: Article          Language: English       Cited References: 10
Times Cited: 0

We comment on a letter to Nature in 1996 on the long term decline of Indian
science pointing out methodological reasons why the (SCI) data used by the
authors do not unambiguously lead to their stated conclusions. Our arguments
are based on the contention that no valid statement on change in a country's
output may be made for a period in which the journal coverage from that
country in SCI has changed significantly. We have suggested that for
longitudinal comparisons of country level performance, it should be verified
that the journals from that country in SCI remained constant within the
period. This could be ensured if the country of publication of journals
could be included as a field in the SCI database.

We define a Visibility Index as the cumulated impact and derive a relation
to estimate change in visibility combining changes in output and average
impact. In the period during which Indian journal coverage remained
unchanged, a detailed analysis of output for two years (1990-94) leads us to
conclude that, with the exception of Agriculture, there has been an
increase in publication in virtually every field, with significant increase
in the-overall mean Impact Factor. At least 25 subfields have been
identified with statistically significant increase in mean Impact Factor and
Visibility. The impact of foreign collaboration on visibility has also been
considered. In conclusion we touch upon the question of citation as a
performance indicator for Third World countries as high citation and
relevance may be in conflict as objectives.


Basu A, Natl Inst Sci Technol & Dev Studies, Dr KS Krishnan Rd, New Delhi
110012, India.
Natl Inst Sci Technol & Dev Studies, New Delhi 110012, India.


The author implicitly suggests that the "country of publication" field used
to characterize journals in ISI's Journal Citation Reports be carried over
to the "source" journal field since for his bibliometric purposes the
country given in the address field is insufficient.  While this would
facilitate analyses of Third World journals, it would be irrelevant to a
country like the Netherlands  which publishes a large number of
international journals edited in many different countries.

The author's first table dramatically demonstrates that in spite of dropping
many low impact Indian journals many years ago, SCI coverage of Indian
science output has remained in excess of 10,000 articles for basic science
fields, while agriculture has declined.

Unfortunately, an e-mail address is not included.


Eugene Garfield, Ph.D.
Chairman Emeritus, ISI, 3501 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Publisher, THE SCIENTIST, 3600 Market St,
Philadelphia, PA 19104 (www.the-scientist.com)
Tel: 215-243-2205 // Fax: 215-387-1266
email:  garfield at codex.cis.upenn.edu
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