ON June 20, Clarivate, a leading global institute of analytics, released its Journal Citation Report (JCR) which ranks scholarly research journals. Academic journals are ranked to enable academic institutions, researchers, publishers and policymakers to assess and understand the significance and scientific worth of research journals, and to help motivate the journals to keep publishing reliable scientific data.

The latest edition of JCR includes 21,848 journals from 112 countries across 254 research categories. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians achieved the first position in the world with Journal Impact Factor (JIF) 503.1, while other top-ranked journals were The Lancet 98.4, The New England Journal of Medicine 96.2, Nature 50.5 and Science 44.7.

Pakistan, a country of over 230 million people, currently has 264 chartered universities; 155 in the public sector and 109 in the private sector. There are 380 journals in various domains recognised by the Higher Education Commission (HEC). However, despite the plethora of institutions, academicians and journals, only nine (2.36 per cent) journals have been indexed in the category of Science Citation Index-Expanded (SCIE), and five journals (1.31pc) are indexed in Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI).

The more worrisome element, however, is the IF and Quartile Ranking (QR) of Pakistani journals. Among the nine SCIE-indexed journals, only two could achieve a place in QR 1 and 2, with JIF 3.8 and 1.2, with JIF less than 1, and QR 3 and 4. Among the five ESCI-indexed journals, only one had JIF 1.1 and QR 3. The rest could only have JIF ranging from 0.1 to 0.4.

In essence, all these statistics underline the need for the science community in Pakistan to publish eminent work that may fascinate the international science community and enhance the country’s research visibility on the global stage.

The cornerstone of any nation’s sustained progress and prosperity are based on the two primary pillars of education and innovative research. Countries that invest in education and research tend to experience accelerated growth and improved quality of life for the people, while those that neglect these traits often find themselves mired in poverty, social strife and stagnation.

Once our talented youth begins to break boundaries with ingenious ideas and innovations, we will witness how Pakistan rises, prospers and comes parallel to the world’s leading institutions in the fields of science and beyond.

Till then, we must work harder every single day, and acknowledge the fact that the road to ultimate victory is rather long.

Dr Anusha Sultan
Aberdeen, UK

Published in Dawn, July 9th, 2024

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