Amidst Research Output Growth in India, Opportunities Abound to Generate Greater Impact, Reveals Elsevier Report

2013 study throws light on India's performance as benchmarked against other research nations

New Delhi, March 3, 2014

A recent study prepared by Elsevier for the UK's Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and based on Scopus data, shows that India has achieved substantial growth in research articles output, increasing from 54 thousand in 2008 to 93 thousand in 2012 at an annualized growth rate of 14.4%. This is a rate higher than that of China (10.9%), Brazil (7.9%), Russia (1.9%) and the U.K. (2.9%).

India graph

Figure: Share of world articles for the UK and comparators Brazil, India, Russia, 2008-2012 with right-hand panel excluding the US and China for clarity. Source: Scopus.

Over the same period from 2008 to 2012, India’s share of the top 10% of the most cited articles – a proxy for high quality research articles – rose from 2.0% to 3.1% at an annual growth rate of 11.3%, which is higher than Brazil (7.6%), Russia (8.4%) and the U.K. (- 2.7%). Only China surpassed India with a 13.8% annual growth rate.

India’s field-weighted citation impact (FWCI) – normalized at value of "1" as the world average – is below average at 0.75 and is declining at a rate of 1.6% per year. China has a comparable FWCI to India, but is experiencing an upward annual growth rate of 2.4%. The field-weighted citation impact is generally considered to be a good indicator for quality.

The report indicates that when India collaborates internationally, the articles with Indian and international co-authors are associated with 111% greater FWCI than articles with single institution co-authorship.

India’s international co-authorship is modest with a share of 16.2% in 2012, behind Brazil (24.2%), Russia (29.8%) and the U.K. (47.6%). Only China’s international co-author share is below India’s at 14.9%.

Dr. Michiel Kolman, Senior Vice-President of Academic Relations at Elsevier, who is visiting Mumbai, New Delhi and Bangalore, said, “India shows incredible growth in article output, even surpassing China. On the quality side, although we see an overall impact that is below the world’s average, there is a rising share of higher-quality articles from India. Articles from India that resulted from international collaboration show impressively high quality at more than twice the impact of articles from a single institute.”

“More can be done to further advance India’s research excellence. Encouraging collaboration with the international research community will aid knowledge transfer between parties and bolster cross-border recognition,” said Dr. Kolman.

On India’s performance in patents, the number of patents granted to India in 2012 is 3588, a figure that is higher than Brazil’s (1027), but considerably lower than the numbers for the U.K. (20,194), Russia (24,551) and much farther behind China (152,102).

Dr. Kolman also revealed that the proportion of Indian research cited in patents is relatively low. The relative share of India’s patent citations to articles published from 2007 to 2011 is at 1.50 for the UK, and generally lower amongst the BRIC countries: India (0.65), China (0.54), Russia (0.42) and Brazil (0.44).

Dr. Kolman went on to explain that many U.K. research articles have been cited in worldwide patents. “This indicates that the U.K. possesses the infrastructure and governance to produce research that lays the foundation for innovation. In India and other BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia and China), there are room and opportunities for greater growth in both the number of patents and the research that leads to patents.”

# # #

About Scopus
Scopus, the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature, features smart tools to track, analyze and visualize scholarly research. Its vast database contains abstracts and references from 21,000 titles from more than 5,000 publishers worldwide, ensuring broad interdisciplinary coverage in the fields of science, technology, medicine, social sciences and Arts & Humanities. Scopus was designed and developed with input from researchers and librarians internationally; and features direct links to subscribed full-text articles, other library resources and interoperability with applications such as reference management software.

About Elsevier
Elsevier is a global information analytics business that helps scientists and clinicians to find new answers, reshape human knowledge, and tackle the most urgent human crises. For 140 years, we have partnered with the research world to curate and verify scientific knowledge. Today, we’re committed to bringing that rigor to a new generation of platforms. Elsevier provides digital solutions and tools in the areas of strategic research management, R&D performance, clinical decision support, and professional education; including ScienceDirect, Scopus, SciVal, ClinicalKey and Sherpath. Elsevier publishes over 2,500 digitized journals, including The Lancet and Cell, 39,000 e-book titles and many iconic reference works, including Gray's Anatomy. Elsevier is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers.

Media contact
Jason Chan
Director, Corporate Relations, Asia Pacific
+65 63490240