New Delhi : The University Grants Commission has dropped 4,305 journals from its approved list over quality concerns, but its failure to clarify the fate of the academic papers already published in these journals has left researchers dismayed. Under commission rules, a PhD student needs to publish at least one research paper in an approved journal to earn her degree. Teachers need to publish to win promotions.
The number of approved journals now stands at a little over 30,000. Among those axed are the Journal of the Oxford Centre of Buddhist Studies, published by Oxford University, and Harvard Asia Pacific Review, published by Harvard University’s department of East Asian Languages and Civilisations.
“I published many articles in the axed journals. Will they now be nullified? Researchers should not suffer because of a change of UGC policy,” said Relfi Paul, a researcher at the Gulati Institute of Finance and Taxation, Thiruvananthapuram.
N. Raghuram, vice-president of the Society of Scientific Values, which seeks to protect ethics in academia, said that unless the commission clarified the matter, each university might take its own decision, causing “unevenness”.
Paul cited another problem: “Only a few approved journals remain for social science researchers now, so PhD students will have to wait longer to publish and get their degree. The talent pool for faculty will be reduced.”
The list of approved journals was pruned on a recommendation from a panel headed by former commission member V.S. Chauhan. Commission chairperson D.P. Singh said that those who had already published in these journals should not lose out. “That’s my opinion, but the final decision will be based on recommendations from the committee, to which I have referred the matter,” he said.
It was last year that the commission had brought out its first list of approved journals. Initially, it had 38,000 journals. Following protests, the commission dropped about 8,000 and included another 5,000.
But it had to reconsider the matter after an independent study of a sample of 1,009 approved journals labelled 88 per cent of them as “low quality