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The Hindu | Chennai, 22 March 2018 |
A study of UGC’s white list finds 88% of 1,009 journals are predatory
A systematic study of the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) approved list of journals has confirmed what scientists have long suspected. The white list contains a huge number of dubious or predatory journals which publish substandard papers for a small fee with very little peer-reviewing, if at all. A team led by Professor Bhushan Patwardhan from the Savitribai Phule Pune University found 88% of 1,009 journals recommended by universities and included in the white list are dubious journals. Only 112 journals met the criteria set by UGC to be included in the list. The results were published on Thursday in the journal Current Science. According to an earlier study published in 2015 in the journal BMC Medicine, 27% of predatory journal publishers are based in India and about 35% of authors in such journals are from Indian institutions. The researchers had randomly selected 1,336 journals from 5,699 university-recommended journals that were included in the UGC list. The journals included were representative of science, arts and humanities, and social science. After excluding 327 journals that were indexed in Scopus/Web of Science, the researchers took up 1,009 journals for critical examination.
For a journal to be included in the list, it should first meet the basic criterion of providing a verifiable postal address, and email addresses of the chief editor and editors, on their website. But 349 (34.5%) journals in the list either did not provide these details or the details provided were incorrect and therefore rejected. Of the remaining 660 journals, 528 were removed owing to false claims about their impact factor, being indexed in dubious indexing databases, incorrect ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) and poor credentials of editors. “Unfortunately, academic institutions which have recommended such journals have not really examined them with care. And the UGC committee appears to have taken the recommendation at face value,” says Professor Subhash C. Lakhotia from the Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, one of the authors of the paper. Only 132 journals reached the secondary level of scrutiny for analysis. The secondary level of scrutiny looked for misleading journal names such as ‘international’ and ‘global’ in journal titles, editorial policies, and nature of charges levied on authors. Twenty journals were rejected at the secondary level and only 112 journals out of 1,009 were found to be genuine in all.
A scam in itself
“The dubious or predatory journal publishing in India parallels the Nigerian lottery scam,” says Professor Patwardhan, who is the corresponding author of the Current Science paper. “It makes a mockery of scientific publishing and has tarnished the image of India.” “Honestly, I was not surprised by the huge number of journals turning out to be dubious. Researchers have been receiving mails from journal publishers inviting us on editorial boards and to contribute special articles. It’s a depressing scenario,” says Professor Lakhotia. “I think the UGC should not maintain the white list. It is simply not equipped to do it efficiently. It should instead issue advisories on the quality of research publications,” says Prof. Lakhotia. – Courtesy
Click here to download the full text article, 5 pages, pdf – A critical analysis of the ‘UGC-approved list of journals’ —
Economic Times | PTI| Mar 20, 2018 |
NEW DELHI: The University Grants Commission (UGC) today approved full autonomy for 62 higher educational institutions, including JNU, BHU, AMU, TERI and University of Hyderabad, which have maintained high standards of excellence. The decision was taken at a UGC meeting today where five central universities, 21 state universities, 26 private universities besides 10 other colleges were granted autonomy under the Autonomous Colleges Regulation. Union Human resource Development minister Prakash Javadekar hailed as “historic” the UGC move which will enable the selected institutes to decide their admission procedure, fee structure and curriculum, among others. “Today is a historic day for higher education in India. These quality institutions will get complete autonomy by which they can start new courses, new departments, new programmes, off campuses, skill courses, research parks, appoint foreign faculty, take foreign students , offer variable incentive packages, introduce online distance learning,” Javadekar told reporters here.
He said these institutes can also get into academic collaboration with top five hundred universities of the world. “And for all of this they will not have to come to the regulator again and again for seeking permission because they have maintained quality and achieved a benchmark of 3.26 and above NAAC (National Accreditation and Assessment Council) ranking,” he added. The central universities which have been granted autonomy include–Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Banaras Hindu University (BHU), University of Hyderabad and the English and Foreign Languages University, Telangana. The state universities which have been granted the autonomous status are Jadavpur University, Andhra University, Algappa University, National University of Law, Utkal University, Kurukshetra University, Osmania University, Guru Nanak Dev University, University of Jammu, University of Mysore, Anna University, Panjab University and University of Madras, among others. OP Jindal Global University, Sonipat and Pandit Deen Dayal Petroleum University, Gujarat are among the private institutions selected by the UGC for the autonomous status. The 10 colleges which have been granted autonomy will have full freedom but not degree awarding powers, Javadekar said. “The colleges will be free to conduct admissions, decide curriculum, conduct exams on their own and evaluate them and declare the results. However, the degrees which will be awarded will have the university name along with theirs,” he added. The UGC also decided to issue show-cause notice to three deemed to be universities for not meeting the required standards. – Courtesy
The Hindu | March 12, 2018 |
The UGC’s incompetence has legitimised at least 200 predatory journals
In the last decade, predatory journals, which publish papers for a fee with little or no peer review, have become a curse to science. Despite the unethical business practices adopted by publishers of such journals, the number of researchers who publish in them has been increasing at an alarming rate. From about 53,000 in 2010, the number of papers published in these journals increased to 420,000 in 2014, noted a 2015 paper published in BMC Medicine. India is the epicentre of predatory journal publishing. According to the BMC Medicine paper, around 35% of authors in such journals were from India, and 27% of predatory journal publishers were also based here, thus making India the number one country in both categories. A September 2017 paper in Nature found that authors from India accounted for 27% of the 1,907 papers published in predatory journals.
From initially being duped into publishing papers in these journals, researchers in India, particularly those from State universities, are now actively seeking out such journals. The University Grants Commission (UGC) is singularly responsible for this. Never mind the almost non-existent research infrastructure in most colleges and State universities, the Academic Performance Indicators (API) system introduced by the UGC has mandated that every PhD scholar publish at least two papers prior to thesis submission. A similar condition exists for teachers in colleges and universities at the time of recruitment and assessment for promotion. The myopic policy of the UGC has unwittingly led to a sudden and huge demand for journals that willingly publish substandard papers for a small fee. Bowing to pressure, in January 2017 the UGC introduced a white list of journals where researchers could publish to meet the API conditions. If the introduction of the API was done without any application of mind, the white list prepared without the scientific community’s involvement has led to the inclusion of at least 200 predatory journals. Worse, universities may suggest new journal titles for inclusion in the list, and the criteria for inclusion are not only vague but loose. Predatory journals are known to give themselves a fake impact factor, which indicates the standard of the journal, and claim to peer review papers before accepting, though they rarely practice it. They also include scientists as editors and board members even without their consent, include instructions and ethics policies that have been plagiarised and rarely followed, and claim to be indexing in respectable sites. Unfortunately, there are just a few factors for judging a journal for inclusion. It would therefore not be surprising to find most, if not all, of the journals recommended by universities as being predatory. Owing to the UGC’s incompetence, at least 200 predatory journals have been legitimised. It’s time it abandons the list altogether and follows standard white lists prepared by competent organisations, which, even if not perfect, are far better than this one – Courtesy
Deccan Herald | Prakash Kumar | DH News Service | New Delhi | Mar 9 2018 |
All standalone institutions will be regulated by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) from this year.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has given up its authority to regulate these institutions, which are categorised as those offering diploma level courses in various streams. Higher education institutions, which are not affiliated to any university but recognised by various councils or ministries of the government, as well as polytechnics fall under the category of standalone institutions. The decision to hand over the responsibility of regulating these institutions to the AICTE was taken by the UGC at its recent meeting, ending confusion over jurisdiction of the two regulatory bodies to regulate various types of standalone institutions as a major chunk of these institutions offer teachers’ training courses. A committee of experts, set up to review the rules for allowing higher education institutions offer distance education in various streams except in engineering, had recommended placing all standalone institutions under the jurisdiction of the AICTE.
Power to regulate
“The AICTE has a provision in its Act which vests authority in it to regulate standalone institutions,” a UGC official said. There are 11,669 standalone higher education institutions. Of them, 3,672 institutions offer diploma courses in technical education, 4,308 teachers training, 3,077 nursing, 433 post-graduate diploma in management and 179 institutions are functioning directly under various government bodies. Only 24% of the standalone institutions are run by the government and the rest are private. – Courtesy
ND TV | Shihabudeen Kunju S | February 23, 2018 |
University Grants Commission (UGC) in a recent notification clarified that the Degrees or Diplomas or Certificates awarded for programmes conducted by the ODL institutions, recognised by the commission, should be treated as corresponding degrees of regular institutions.
New Delhi: University Grants Commission (UGC) in a recent notification clarified that the Degrees or Diplomas or Certificates awarded for programmes conducted by the ODL institutions, recognised by the commission, should be treated as corresponding degrees of regular institutions. However, the commission has reiterated that, according to the UGC (Open and Distance Learning) Regulations, 2017, which was notified on last June, the programmes in engineering, medicine, dental, pharmacy, nursing, architecture, physiotherapy and such other programmes which require hands-on training are not permitted to be offered under Open and Distance Learning mode. It said the degrees of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) institutions registered under the erstwhile Distance Education Council (DEC) or the commission, in conformity with UGC Notification on Specification of Degrees, should be treated as equivalent to the corresponding awards of the Degree or Diploma or Certificate of the traditional Universities/ Institutions in the country.
“The Government of India has envisaged a greater role for the Open and the Distance Education System. The envisioned role may be fulfilled by recognizing and treating the Degrees/Diplomas/Certificates awarded through distance mode at par with the corresponding awards of Degrees/Diplomas/Certificates obtained through the formal system of education,” said the notification. According to the notification, non-recognition or non-equivalence of degrees of ODL institutions for the purpose of promotion/employment and pursuing higher education may prove a deterrent to many aspiring students and will ultimately defeat the purpose of Open and Distance Education. UGC (Open and Distance Learning) Regulations lay down the minimum standards of instruction for the grant of degree at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels, through Open and Distance Learning mode. These regulations apply to a University referred to under clause (f) of section 2 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, an Institution Deemed to be University under section 3 of the said Act, for all degree programmes of learning at the undergraduate and post-graduate level, other than programmes in engineering, medicine, dental, pharmacy, nursing, architecture, physiotherapy and programmes not permitted to be offered in distance mode by any other regulatory body. According to the regulation, “Open and Distance Learning” mode, means a mode of providing flexible learning opportunities by overcoming separation of teacher and learner using a variety of media, including print, electronic, online and occasional interactive face-to-face meetings with the presence of an Higher Educational Institution or Learner Support Services to deliver teaching-learning experiences, including practical or work experiences. Same as, “Open University” means a University which imparts education through distance education or Open and Distance Learning mode using variety of Information and Communication Technology educational aids i.e. online education in the form of Open Educational Resources (OERs) or Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) etc. On last November, the Supreme Court on no deemed-to-be-university can run open and distant learning courses from the next academic year (2018-19) unless it is permitted to do so by the concerned authorities. – Courtesy / UGC Notice : Published on 23-02-2018 : Recognizing and treating the Degrees/Diplomas/Certificates awarded through distance mode at par with the corresponding awards of Degrees/Diplomas/Certificates obtained through the formal system of education.
UGC Notice : Published on 22-02-2018 : Recognition of Distance Education Programmes for academic session 2018-19 and onwards, 2 Pages, pdf
The Economic Times | TNN | Feb 21, 2018 |
NEW DELHI: A panel headed by a former CEC and comprising top international and Indian academicians will shortlist India’s best higher educational institutions which will then be primed to have a shot at international glory.The University Grants Commission announced on Tuesday the four-member empowered expert committee (EEC) which is being entrusted to conduct the appraisal of the applications for shortlisting the 20 institutions of eminence (IoE). N Gopalaswami, the former chief election commissioner of India, is the chairperson of the committee, which comprises Tarun Khanna, Jorge Paulo Lemman Professor, Harvard Business School; Pritam Singh, former director of IIM, Lucknow and MDI, Gurugram; and Renu Khator, chancellor, University of Houston System. The government is likely to announce the names of the selected institutions by April 2018. The committee was constituted by the UGC post the approval of central government as per the UGC (Institutions of Eminence Deemed to be Universities) Regulation 2017 and UGC (Declaration of Government Educational Institutions as Institutions of Eminence) Guidelines 2017.
Hindustan Times | Neelam Pandey | New Delhi Feb 15, 2018 |
The HRD ministry can ask the UGC to act against institutions if they don’t provide mandatory data under the National Institution Ranking Framework.
The human resource development ministry may slash funding to higher educational institutions in the country if they don’t provide all the information sought under the National Institution Ranking Framework (NIRF). It was learnt that a number of educational institutions affiliated to the Delhi University, such as St Stephen’s and Lady Shri Ram (LSR), have not shared mandatory data required for the ranking exercise. “As the NIRF serves as a report card to the nation, the ministry can ask the University Grants Commission (UGC) to act against such institutions. Hence, no institution should try to duck the requirement,” a senior ministry official said, adding that a decision will be taken on the matter soon. The UGC releases funds to universities every year. St Stephen’s principal John Varghese and LSR principal Suman Sharma did not respond to phone calls and text messages seeking their comments on the matter. The NIRF will announce its all-India rankings this April. Apart from an overall list of top institutes, a separate one pertaining to colleges will also be published. St Stephen’s did not participate in the 2017 round, while LSR ranked sixth on the list.
The Hindu | NEW DELHI, February 13, 2018 |
They can start new courses, set syllabi and fix fees: UGC
Colleges that perform well will now be able to apply for autonomous status, which will permit them to start new courses and programmes, set syllabi and even “fix fees for courses at their own level”. The University Grants Commission has notified guidelines for this change. To be eligible for such autonomy, the colleges must have been given ‘A’ grade by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council, which means a Cumulative Grade Points Average of at least 3 on a scale of 4. The conferring of autonomous status will empower colleges to “review existing courses/programmes and, restructure, redesign and prescribe its own courses/programmes of study and syllabi; formulate new courses/programmes within the nomenclature specified by UGC; evolve methods of assessment of students performance, conduct of examinations and notification of results; and announce results, issue mark sheets, migration and other certificates.”
Reservation policies will apply to these colleges too. However, the degrees, including PhDs, shall be awarded by the university with the name of the college on the degree certificate. The colleges will continue to be affiliated to the university but will enjoy autonomy to take their own decisions. Autonomous status will initially be granted for 10 years, but can be extended for five years at a time.
Such colleges will also have the right to appoint their own faculty and principal as per existent UGC regulations. “Colleges (of any discipline) whether aided, partially aided and unaided/self-financing are eligible provided they are under Section 2(f) of the UGC Act. The college should have at least 10 years of existence,” the notification says. – Courtesy
UGC Circular – Published on 12-02-2018 – University Grants Commission (Conferment of Autonomous Status upon Colleges and Measures for Maintenance of Standards in Autonomous Colleges) Regulations, 2018 – 19 Pages, pdf
The Telegraph | Feb 13, 2018 | BA score counts above PhD |
New Delhi: The University Grants Commission has given more weightage to graduation scores than doctoral degrees in draft norms the higher education regulator has unveiled for hiring teachers in colleges and universities. A candidate with 80 per cent marks in graduation stands to get 21 weightage points while applying for an assistant professor’s post in a college. The weightage is one point more than what a candidate will get for having a PhD degree. Some academics called the norms “regressive” and “biased” against the poor after the commission uploaded the UGC (Minimum Qualifications for Appointment of Teachers) Regulations, 2018, on its website last week and sought feedback. They said candidates from rural or disadvantaged backgrounds don’t often perform well in their graduation and might be affected by the proposed selection formula. By laying down a uniform formula for all the 800-odd universities and 40,000 colleges in the country, the UGC has also waded into selection nitty-gritty that had always been left to the universities to decide.
The draft rules have made a PhD degree mandatory for the post of associate professor in all institutions. It has also made PhD qualification a must for appointment of assistant professors in university departments from July 2021 in addition to qualifying the National Eligibility Test (NET) or the State Level Eligibility Test (SLET). In colleges, assistant professors need to have a PhD if they want promotion to a higher pay scale with the same rank after July 2020. Under the existing policy, a PhD degree is a must only for those applying for a professor’s post. The draft policy seeks to lay down uniform norms on how selection panels can shortlist for interviews candidates who apply for an assistant professor’s post in colleges and universities (see chart). The selection panel will award scores based on academic records. But whether a candidate is finally hired or not will depend entirely on his or her performance in the interview. – Courtesy
Click here to View / Download the UGC Circular, Published on 09-02-2018 : UGC invites Feedback/Comments/Suggestions from the Stakeholders/ General public on Draft UGC Regulations for (Minimum Qualifications for Appointment of Teachers and Other Academic Staff in Universities & Colleges and measures for the Maintenance of Standards in Higher Education) 2018 – 84 Pages, pdf
The Financial Express | FE Online | February 12, 2018 |
The draft regulations, however, have been termed as “extremely retrograde” by Delhi University teachers for the appointment of teachers as well as their promotion. The teachers have objected, in particular, to the minimum 55 per cent marks requirement at Masters level for direct recruitment for general category candidates.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has drafted fresh regulations on minimum qualification requirement for appointment of teachers and other academic staff in universities and colleges. As per the draft regulations, the UGC has made PhD compulsory for candidates seeking appointment to the post of associate professor, the Indian Express has reported. Besides, it has also made a minimum requirement of 55 per cent marks at the Masters level for direct teaching recruitment. The draft regulations, however, have been termed as “extremely retrograde” by Delhi University teachers for the appointment of teachers as well as their promotion.
Here are minimum qualification requirements according to UGC 2018 has drafted regulations:
• For direct teaching recruitment, a minimum of 55 per cent marks at the Masters level is required.
• PhD is mandatory to be promoted as an associate professor.
• No study leave to pursue PhD.
• A candidate who scored 80% marks at the undergraduate level will get 20 points.
• Those with 60-80% marks will get 19 points.
• Those who scored less than 55% get no points.
• The draft regulations have however done away with the Academic Performance Indicator (API) score till the post of assistant professor.