Thursday, September 3, 2009

Ratings and rankings

Soon, departments in IITs, IISc, IIMs and universities will be ranked and rated. This will based on the manpower trained in terms of undergraduates, postgraduates and doctorates, number of publications, citations of these publications etc. It may not be long that a formula is evolved such that the funding provided to the institution depends on this number. One of my colleagues mentioned that it will not be long before some of these institutions create high-paying industry/alumni funded chair positions so as to attract faculty to their institution. The presence of these faculty would lead to higher citations or patent numbers leading to higher funding from the government.


Anonymous said...

Dear Professor Madras, There was an article in Wednesdays' Telegraph. As I didn't see any mention regarding the content of this article in your blog, I thought I should let you know.
The link :

Anonymous said...

like any other professor, Madras too dont like asstt. profs getting more salary almost equal to his.. thatswhy he didnt mention that news article.

Anonymous said...

Please stop mudslinging here. Prof. Madras speaks the voice of reason and I don't like you making personal attacks against him. Plus, I don;t think he cares about how much he himself makes, so, why should he feel bad about how much others make?

I think the only reason anyone will not comment about these news stories at this stage, is that they are speculative and could very well be rumors. Let us wait till we get the official notification, and we will all know what the government is willing to provide.

Giri@iisc said...

Anon 3: thank you very much.

Anon 1: As anon 3 says, these are speculative. Will asst professors will be directly recruited in PB-4 or will be placed in PB-4 after 3 years. What is the qualification to be selected as assistant professor? Ph.D with 3 years experience is unacceptable because engineering departments will find it very difficult to find these candidates. In these cases, if IITs/IISc wants to recruit candidates with less than 3 years experience, will they be placed at 30,000 initially and moved to PB-4 later? I was told all these questions were answered by MHRD to the directors of IITs. Let them say it or MHRD say what are the qualifications for recruitment as asst professors and what scales they will be placed etc. Better still, wait for a week or two for the official notification.

Anon 2: If you read my earlier posts (late last year), I had proposed that assistant professors should be directly placed in Pb-4. I had suggested that even assistant professors with less than 3 years experience should be placed in Pb-4. The reason is as follows: IIT/IISc find it difficult to attract good faculty candidates but do not find it difficult to retain them. The amount of faculty leaving IISc in non-electrical science departments is almost zero. Therefore, it is imperative that the entry level salaries are high. Therefore, contrary to your statement, I will be very happy if an asst professor makes almost equal to what a professor makes.



Anonymous said...

His colleague has already discussed this. See

Anonymous said...

Bibiliometrics being used as a measure
of value of scientific work is a dangerous trend, since bibliometrics is for librarians and for the publication commerce. Several frauds in India
(eg the professor in SV university chemistry dept) and abroad (eg from Bell Labs: thin layered organic dye molecular transistor) were driven by this quest for reaching a bibliometric pinnacle. Then of course, is the case of South Korean Hwang which is well known. In all the above cases over production of papers is a definite symptom. The Bell Labs guy was having
one paper every eight days and received
many (respectable !) awards. Again, it may be noticed that chemists/nanotechnologists/materials scientists are the more frequent drivers of fraud.
Compared to this, pure mathematicians who must prove things only on paper and cannot describe something that is taken in good faith, are better off. They have low bibliometrics too.
Many academic people in India are trying to drive the bibliometrics
as a measure partly because Indians are good at number games (marks in exams, profits in stocks, etc etc) and partly because of lack of wide spread expertise in various hard s&t areas in the country. This suits the metrics guys in the way that it is easier to generate numbers than to create original science.
Generally, good science spawns some publication and the converse is not necessarily true.
So, there should be an optimal point somewhere and the old adage that too many or much of anything is bad must not be forgotten.
Parallel to a ranking/rating body an independent ethics watchdog must function which should investigate "S&T achievements" that are sound too good to be true. Of course, in India it is difficult to come up with a clean, professional, independent body especially if it is supposed to be a watchdog.

Alok said...

See this exhaustive report prepared by principal scientific advisor of GOI to know which institute is where in terms of quality research. Specially see its page 69 where a comparison is done among best research institutes in India.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, the number os students that graduate from a institution/department/professor is as good as # publications (associated with citations/impact factor).

Anon.5, I don't think fraud is as common as publishing the same paper (with minor changes) in 2-3 different publications. In fact, it is very commonly practiced in Europe where a major paper is always preceded by a conference article published in a journal or followed by an extended version. There a is very thin line in these cases because these articles may have several paragraphs and figures that are identical! I cited Europe just as an example; it could be elsewhere.