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To publish research in life sciences - the changing contours

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  • Biochemistry
  • Chemistry
  • Physics


On the origin of the artesian OPINION CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 105, NO. 5, 10 SEPTEMBER 2013 573 To publish research in life sciences – the changing contours* G. Padmanaban Value judgement on research publications has changed over the decades. Impact factor of a journal can be only one of the criteria to decide the quality of the research done. Often, it is misused for making appoint- ments and assessments. Well-established print journals are losing out to open access journals. India needs to be recognized as a global leader in at least a few areas of research. All other global parameters of excel- lence would automatically follow. This write-up is inspired by the recent editorial of Bruce Alberts in Science1 on ‘Impact factor distortions’, supporting the ‘San Francisco Declaration on Res- earch Assessment’ (DORA). The Decla- ration is the outcome of a meeting at the American Society of Cell Biology, held on 12 December 2012. It states that the impact factor (IF) must not be used as ‘a surrogate measure of the quality of indi- vidual research articles, to assess an indi- vidual scientist’s contributions, or in hiring, promotion or funding decisions’. This made me to ruminate beyond the IF issue to publication strategies in interna- tional scientific journals, review process and evaluation of publications for re- cruitment and career assessment, and how they have all changed for life scien- tists in India over the decades. I have published over 150 papers in 50 years. It is not great, but I guess, adequate to share the experience. *I wrote this piece before I read the editorial by Balaram2. When I started research in 1961 as a student, there was no concept of IF. The gold standard in the broad area of bio- chemical and biophysical sciences was to publish in the Biochemical Journal (UK). The next preferences were Biochimica Biophysica Acta and Archives of Bio- chemistry and Biophysics. The Journal of Biological Chemistry was slowly acquir- ing more

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