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Swadeshi era in academia

Nod for vernacular journals

By Basant Kumar Mohanty
  • Published 18.04.17

New Delhi, April 17: The University Grants Commission looks set to include journals written in Indian languages in its approved list of publications where teachers are expected to publish papers following complaints that the catalogue of 38,000-plus journals released earlier this year was anti-vernacular.

The list the higher education regulator had brought out included mostly international journals and hardly any in an Indian language.

Human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar today told reporters that Indian-language journals that were well-known research publications would be included too.

"We are looking into it. English magazines should not be the only ones to figure in the prescribed list of journals. There will be others too. We will recognise various other platforms that are well known as research publications," Javadekar told reporters on the sidelines of an event to review the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan scheme for the development of higher education.

The UGC has written to all universities asking them to send by May 15 the names of journals they think should be included in the list.

The move followed complaints to the regulator that many "reputable" journals, particularly those in Indian languages, had been left out.

The list of 38,653 journals that the UGC had brought out in January this year mostly included journals mentioned in international databases like Scopus and Web of Science.

It also had journals mentioned in an Indian database - the Indian Citation Index - but hardly any published in an Indian language.

A UGC regulation says that junior teachers have to publish papers in journals on the approved list to get the points required for promotions. Another regulation, on MPhil and PhD admissions, says that teachers need to publish in the referred journals to gain the right to supervise research students.

The norms have a bearing on the careers of nearly five lakh teachers in the 800 universities and 38,000 colleges across the country.

Professor Vashist Anoop, who teaches Hindi at Banaras Hindu University, said the UGC's list does not include any journal on Hindi literature, putting a question mark over the careers of Hindi teachers across universities.

"In Hindi, there are several journals like Alochana, Dustabez, Naya Gyan Odaya, Udbhaavana, Parichaya and Bahuvachan that are peer-reviewed publications with International Standard Serial Number (ISSN). They should be included. Otherwise, teachers of Hindi will not be able to get promotions," Anoop said.

There are many Indian-language journals also on subjects like social science and law, sources said.

A senior UGC official said the universities, while recommending the names of journals, would have to explain why such journals merited inclusion in the list.

"A standing committee of the UGC will examine case by case and suggest inclusion only after being convinced about the reasons cited by a university. The revised list with the addition of new journals will be ready before July," the official said.