Tuesday, May 19, 2015

US-supported study regrets poor state of Indian scientific research vis-a-vis several developing countries

By Our Representative
A US government-supported study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), released in its International weekly journal of science, "Nature"", has noted that, despite its massive gains, "India is not yet a major player in world science" and its "publications generate fewer citations on average than do those of other science-focused nations, including other emerging countries such as Brazil and China".
In fact, the journal says, "Relative to its size, India has very few scientists; many Indian-born researchers leave for positions abroad and very few foreign scientists settle in India. The country invests a scant portion of its economy in research and development (R&D), and it produces relatively few patents per capita compared with other nations."
Full of illustrations, the study, "India by the numbers: Highs and lows in the country’s research landscape", by Richard Van Noorden, believes that "Indian science is a study in contrasts", and the situation remains dismal despite the fact that in the recent past its economy has been expanding, and the country has "ramped up scientific production at an impressive rate".
Pointing towards some "bright spots", the study says, "India started the twenty-first century well behind Russia, France, Italy and Canada in terms of yearly publications and it now leads them all by healthy margins" and is "is quickly closing in on Japan". Already, it adds, India boasts "several world-class centres for science education, particularly the highly regarded Indian Institutes of Technology."
Then, it points out, "Businesses in the country are investing more in R&D, which bodes well for future innovation. And more women are participating in science, although their numbers still fall far below those of men."
The study says, "Since 2000, India has almost quadrupled its scholarly output, but that rate is surpassed by Brazil's and China's. India underperforms relative to its gross domestic product (GDP) and population. And its scholarly impact remains low -- in 2013, it was nearly 30 per cent below the world's average."
The study further says, coming to the scientific workforce, India has "only 200,000 full-time researchers (14% of them female) in a population of nearly 1.3 billion." This "ranks "below Chile, Kenyna and many other countries in terms of density of its scientific workforce."
Thus, the country has just just four researchers per 10,000 labour force as against six in Kenya, seven in Chile, 14 in Brazil, 18 in China, 58 in Russia, 79 in UK and 79 in the US.
Coming to patents, the study says, India is "one of the world's leading filters of patents, but it registers far fewer applications per capita than any other top-filling nation." The study, however, claims, the "mutlinational firms in India have boosted the country's rate of filling."
Providing data, the study says, in India 17 domestic and foreign patents applications were filed in 2013, as against 34 in Brazil, 237 in Russia, 541 in Chile, 910 in the US, 2,288 in Germany, 3,716 in Japan, and 4,451 in South Korea.
Coming to research and development investment, the study says, in India it is "languishing at around 0.9 per cent of the GDP, as against China's two per cent. Similarly, spending per researcher in India is 171,000 dollars, which is well below US, Germany, Austria, Italy, Japan, France, South Korea, Brazil and China. It adds, the figures have been "normalized for purchasing power."

No comments: