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ISLAMABAD, Dec 25: Though the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has made enormous efforts to promote research work, Pakistan ranked 43rd in the world in terms of published scientific papers in the year 2010.

According to the worldwide scientific journal ranking (SJR); Pakistan published 6,987 research documents in 2010.

However, the same year United States was on top with 502,804 papers followed by China with 320,800 and United Kingdom with 139,683 research documents. On the other hand, India ranked ninth worldwide.

Among the Islamic countries, Pakistan trailed behind Turkey and Iran which published 30,594 and 27,510 research documents, respectively.

An official of the HEC requesting not to be named told this reporter that in 2007 Pakistan ranked 45th with 3,750 publications, in 2003 it was ranked 50th with 1,539 research papers and in 2000 54th with 1,174 papers. In 1996, the country was on 52nd position with 893 research papers.

The number of publications is directly proportional to the production of PhDs in the country.

“Pakistan gets over $10 billion every year through foreign remittances. On the other hand, due to financial crunch demand for foreign labour has been decreasing worldwide.

Even in Saudi Arabia it has been decided to push out foreign labour force and adjust the locals in their places, because it is becoming difficult even for the oil-producing countries to address the problem of unemployment.”

The official claimed that in the West, population was decreasing and the new generation was more interested in the subjects of art and humanities rather than science, mathematics and research work.

Due to this, the official added, the demand for specialised persons would increase in the West and Pakistan can meet the requirement of these nations by producing specialised persons and earn huge foreign exchange.

Sources said most of the successive governments in Pakistan did not take future planning seriously and always tried to solve problems by makeshift arrangements.

The government should focus on specialisation in different subjects because only specialised persons can earn foreign exchange to steer out the country from the financial problems.

Executive Director HEC Prof Dr S. Sohail H. Naqvi told Dawn that they had been trying to generate as many specialised persons as possible and for that reason were encouraging and facilitating universities.

He said for increasing the number of PhDs, the commission required funds. “Hopefully, Pakistan will further improve its ranking regarding publication of research papers,” he said.