Ranking Indian Universities through Research and Professional Practices of National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF): A case study of Selected Central Universities in India

Bhaskar Mukherjee


Ranking of institutions of higher education has become a benchmark with the increasing globalization of higher education. The Ministry of Human Resources Development, Government of India has recently introduced a ranking mechanism called ‘National Institutional Ranking Framework’ (NIRF) for indicating the relative quality of Indian academic institutions and for improving the quality of higher education [1]. In NIRF few parameters have been identified which include ‘Teaching, Learning and Resources’, ‘Research and Professional Practices’, ‘Graduation Outcomes’, ‘Outreach and Inclusivity’ and ‘Perception’. The main purpose of the present study is to understand the viability of the facet ‘research and professional practice’ in NIRF ranking by exploring research output of scientists of Five Central Universities in India during last three years. We excavated data directly from Web of Science (WoS), SCOPUS and Indian Citation Index (ICI). The results of the study indicate that quantity of research output, as reflected in any international databases to consider as an indicator of measuring research performance of an institute, is not exhaustive and seems to be implausible. No database seems to have complete coverage of total research output of an institute. Overall, an international database includes only 80% articles of an institute and only shows output that are generated from Sciences and Applied sciences only. Fields in Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities are ignored in these databases. Inter-country collaboration is found as more prominent than international collaboration among these institutes. However, the research output mostly appeared in the journals having impact factor (JCR) in the range of 1-3. Although the citation per article by JNU authors found the least, they are in the top rank in NIRF ranking, which suggests citations do not have much influence on NIRF ranking.

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