Jayant makes very valid points in his talk and it is always enlightening to listen to him. He rightly remarks that we should choose one criteria, stick with it and try to excel in it. Without excelling in anything, we try to become all rounders. I am reminded of Irfan Pathan, who was a good bowler who was asked to open the innings and that completely destroyed him both as a bowler and batsman.
In his talk, Jayant mentions that the CS department publishes around 0.1 papers in Tier I conferences per "smart person" per year per faculty and mentions
At IISc now, quite a few departments, especially in the Electrical Sciences division, have authored documents outlining their expectations and modes of evaluation for both faculty and students. As a simple case in point, a recently implemented policy in the Computer Science department is that ME students can be considered for an S (outstanding) grade in their project work only if they have submitted a paper to a journal or conference that is internationally recognized to be of A+ or A calibre.I did an analysis of the number of papers published by M.E students in all departments in IISc. For this, I took the names of the M.E. students who graduated in 2006 along with their department affiliation and searched in the Web of Science for publications. The reason I took 2006 and not 2007 or 2008 was because I assumed that they would not be any more publications from this group. I noticed that less than 10% of the M.E. students had any publication (While Jayant talks about conferences, I am talking about journal publications). In fact, I am including students who had coauthored papers with other research students in the group. In fact, the 20-80 principle does not hold with 8% of M.E students contributing 92% of the papers published.
In his talk, he mentions that the above policy has resulted in an increase in the number of publications. I would be interested to know whether the 20-80 criteria for research publications in IISc has been breached by this recent policy change.
After reading this, one may get the impression that several departments have followed this wise course but it is restricted to two departments, while there are 42 departments in IISc. Many departments in IISc would be shocked if criteria like publications or citations are used to judge students for grades (or even faculty for promotion/awards). In fact, in many departments, both the faculty and student are more likely to be discouraged if a M.E. student publishes in Tier IA journal in the field. (S)he would be advised to work more and publish in a Tier I journal. Naturally, after the student graduates, neither the student or faculty has the time or inclination to work on it. For many departments, small is beautiful. I think these attitudes have to be revised first before any perceivable change can occur in the overall output of IISc/IIT and catapult it to be in the top 100 internationally.