If academic experts at the highest level have their way, the University Grants Commission could soon remove the rule mandating that a PhD scholar must publish a paper in a peer-reviewed journal, as a prerequisite to receiving the degree.
A report in The Hindu says that a change in perspective could soon be on the way if the recommendations of a four-member committee headed by Prof. P Balaram on the matter are accepted by the UGC.
Currently, prior to thesis submission, a scholar must submit to the university proof of having published a paper in a peer-reviewed journal.
Academics are of the view that this rule has helped give rise to the proliferation of the “journal industry”, and many papers, which lack quality, are published only to fulfill bureaucratic norms. This, they say, defeats the very purpose of excellence in research and does not enrich the field under study in any way.
The onus on ensuring better quality research, they say, should be on the institutions, supervisors and faculty guiding the scholars. One important metric that may be used to evaluate a thesis is the possible impact or what we call the “value-add” on the field being researched. The possible tangible benefit arising from such research may be assessed before certifying it fit for publication, they feel.