Whenever a new scientific innovation is announced, it is always taken for granted. The couch-warming section of the society often dreams about the jet-pack-fuelled and hover-board-riding future. What they do not realize is the hard work and scrutiny that scientific breakthroughs go through. New theories and studies are presented mostly through scientific journals. We got in touch with Vikas Gupta Wiley India Managing Director to discuss about this trend.
But before diving into India’s scenario, it’s important to understand that academic publishing go through peer-reviews for detailed evaluation by other experts of the same field. Sadly, this culture is dying at an alarming rate in India. But why should you be worried? Well, journals without peer-review can become hazardous references for future technology. Imagine a cure for Cancer that does not account a horrible mutation, just because it wasn’t properly studied by other scientists!
The problem revolves around the breeding of a multimillionaire predatory industry of open-access journals that do not have credible peer-reviews. India leads the world in this case. More than 35% journals are published through ‘deals’ that lack scientific temperament. The focus here is to get the journal published and not on the content. We asked Wiley India’s Managing Director Vikas Gupta about this tirade. His prompt response was: “Pushing an un-assessed journal for publication is the biggest folly a fellow can do. A predatory open-access publishing house accepts your journal easily, which is the first thing you should be cautious of. You will not be provided with first-class editorial and peer-appraisal services with such phony organizations.”
The MD further added, “The educational institutes have to be blamed for this unhealthy practice. Academic capabilities of a scholar are being measured by the number of papers published and not the integrity of the paper. Since our country is a haven for such pay-per-paper services, it is turning into a journal junkyard.”
Vikas Gupta’s views correspond aptly to the study conducted by the Indian government. About 69 percent of Indian-authored papers come from ‘second-class and lower’ graded institutions where most of them are private. A total of 3,300 articles from 350 journals were surveyed in this study. The results showed a staggering 51 percent of articles budding from ‘third-class’ colleges. Moreover, the authors were also quizzed. I’d love to turn this into a rant against the commercialization of education. However, most of the people these days would nod their head while flipping through the brochure of a grey private college.
The world of science and technology, which believes in reason and logic, isn’t free from the human emotion of greed. Educational organizations should update the dull and sheepish rules to promote scientific temperament. Well, it’s a relief that journal-publishing organizations like Vikas Gupta-fronted Wiley India exist, that focuses on peer-reviewed work. Other publishing houses like Pearsons, Oxford University Press, and Cambridge University Press also ensure reviewed content. But, in the end, it falls to the present generation of academicians to steer away from such practices.