UGC considers scrapping rule on publishing research for PhD

The University Grants Commission (UGC) plans to do away with the mandatory requirement of publishing research papers in peer reviewed journals for the submission of PhD thesis, officials said. The commission will allow higher education institutions to formulate their own rules and regulations on the matter. The reason for doing so is because many PhD students were resorting to publishing their articles in so-called predatory journals — basically those that publish articles in return for a fee, without adequate due-diligence of the sort academic publications are expected to ensure.

The commission is currently making amendments to the UGC (Minimum Standards and Procedures for Award of Ph.D Degree) Regulations, 2016. Under the 2016 regulations, it was mandatory for PhD scholars to publish at least one research paper in a UGC refereed or peer reviewed journal before the submission of the dissertation/thesis for adjudication.

Under the new, 2022 regulations, the commission will replace the term mandatory with “strongly recommended”. The quality assessment of Phd degrees will be a responsibility of the universities and they are free to come up with their own guidelines in this regard

“This mandatory requirement led to a “journal business” in India. Making anything mandatory does not improve the quality of research. Therefore, UGC is now considering doing away with this requirement while strongly recommending research scholars to publish the research outcomes of their PhD in peer reviewed journals, apply for patents, and present in conferences,” UGC chairperson M Jagadesh Kumar told.

Kumar said that the commission may now ask the universities to frame their own guidelines regarding publication in research journals. “The higher education institutions may be allowed to decide if they want to keep this as a mandatory requirement or not, while maintaining the quality of research.”

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