The publication of research articles in journals is no longer mandatory to obtain a doctorate: UGC

The University Grants Commission (UGC) omitted the mandatory requirement to have research articles published in peer-reviewed journals before submitting a doctoral dissertation. Professor M Jagadesh Kumar, President of UGC, said that by eliminating the mandatory publication requirement, the higher education regulator has recognized that a “one size fits all” approach is not desirable, a- he told The Tribune.

MPhil Fellows were required to present at least one research paper at a conference or seminar. On the other hand, doctoral students had to present two research papers at conferences or seminars and publish at least one paper in a peer-reviewed journal before submitting their thesis. However, in the new doctoral program regulations made public on November 7, the commission has removed this requirement.

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Professor Kumar explained the need to avoid a unified approach to the assessment of all disciplines, pointing out that many computer science PhD students prefer to present their papers at conferences rather than publish them in journals.

Kumar, however, added that he does not believe doctoral students should completely stop publishing research papers in peer-reviewed journals. He urged universities to ensure that the PhD evaluation process is strengthened and that researchers are trained to publish in peer-reviewed journals and apply for patents where possible.

The UGC president said that students can pursue doctoral studies in subjects other than those in which they completed their postgraduate studies, but that universities must change their policies to allow this type of migration. “NEP 2020 encourages multidisciplinary education. Universities need to change their ordinances to facilitate such migration from one discipline to another,” he said.

Meanwhile, the commission also dropped its plan to involve universities and colleges to reserve a minimum of 60% of their annual intake of doctoral candidates for qualified NET or JRF students. The UGC proposed in the draft regulations published in March that qualified NET/JRF students occupy 60% of the total number of vacant seats in an institute of higher learning during an academic year.

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