UGC scraps rule on publishing in journals before final submission of PhD thesis

It will no longer be mandatory to publish research papers published in peer-reviewed journals before the final submission of the PhD thesis.

Earlier, it was mandatory for M Phil scholars to publish at least one research paper in a conference or seminar and for PhD scholars to publish at least one research paper in a refereed journal and make two paper presentations in conferences or seminars before the submission of their thesis for adjudication.

UGC chairperson M Jagadesh Kumar said publication of research papers in peer-reviewed journals might not be mandatory anymore, but it did not mean the PhD scholars should stop doing that altogether. 

He also urged the universities to ensure that the PhD evaluation process is strengthened and research scholars are trained to publish in peer-reviewed journals, and apply for patents where feasible.

“Focusing on high-quality research will lead to publications in good journals, even if it is not mandatory. It will add value when they apply for employment or post-doctoral opportunities.

“By scrapping the mandatory publication requirement, we recognise that the one-size-fits-all approach is not desirable. For instance, doctoral scholars in computer science prefer presenting their papers at conferences rather than publishing them in journals. 

“I urge the universities to ensure that the PhD evaluation process is strengthened and research scholars are trained to publish in peer-reviewed journals, present at conferences, and apply for patents where feasible,” he said.

Kumar told The Tribune that students can do PhD in subjects other than what they had done their post-graduation in; however, for that 

The universities need to modify their ordinances to facilitate such migration from one discipline to another.

“NEP2020 encourages multi-disciplinary education. Universities need to modify their ordinances to facilitate such migration from one discipline to another,” he said.

Meanwhile, the commission has also dropped its plan to make universities and colleges reserve at least 60 per cent of their annual intake of doctoral candidates for NET or JRF qualified students/ 

In the draft regulations floated in March, the UGC had proposed that 60 per cent of the total vacant seats in an academic year in a higher education institute be drawn from NET/JRF qualified students.

Universities and colleges will remain free to admit students through NET/JRF as well as entrance exams without having to adhere to any cap for either of the two categories in line with the prevailing norms.

In cases where selection of candidates is through the entrance conducted by the individual universities, a weightage of 70 per cent will be given to performance in the written test and 30 per cent to interview.

The final regulations retain the provision of part-time PhDs that is primarily targeted at working professionals aspiring to obtain doctoral degrees. 

However, the higher educational institute concerned will obtain a No Objection Certificate through the candidate for a part-time PhD programme from the appropriate authority in the organisation where the candidate is employed.

Under the revised regulations, those joining PhD programmes after a four-year UG programme can do so after a one-year master’s degree, while graduates of conventional three-year UG degrees need to have completed two-year master’s degrees.

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