Scientometric Study of Doctoral Dissertations in Biochemistry in the University of Kerala, India

By Sudhier, K. G. Pillai; Kumar, V. Dileep | Library Philosophy and Practice, June 2010 | Go to article overview

Scientometric Study of Doctoral Dissertations in Biochemistry in the University of Kerala, India


Sudhier, K. G. Pillai, Kumar, V. Dileep, Library Philosophy and Practice


(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

Introduction

Biochemistry is a fascinating subject that deals with the chemical language of life, be it human, animal, plant, or microorganism. No other science subject has as much application as biochemistry to the disciplines of medicine, health, veterinary, agriculture, bioengineering, and technology. Biochemistry interfaces with biology and chemistry and is concerned with the chemical processes that take place within living cells. The ultimate goal of biochemistry is to describe the phenomena that distinguish the living from non-living in the language of chemistry and physics. Its object is not only to probe into the structures of the molecules found in living organisms, but also into their overall mode of reactions, both separately and in combination.

Researchers in biochemistry use specific techniques native to biochemistry, but increasingly combine these with techniques and ideas from genetics, molecular biology and biophysics. There has never been a hard-line between these disciplines in terms of content and technique, but members of each discipline have in the past been very territorial; today the terms molecular biology and biochemistry are nearly interchangeable.

Science and scientific research have been growing at a faster rate during recent years. In India at present around 75,000 students are enrolled in research and nearly 11,000 are awarded PhDs every year, of which 50 percent are from science and technology disciplines. The number of PhDs produced might be useful as an indicator of the growth of the science and technology sector. It is surprising to find that a large fraction of doctoral theses do not result in any significant research publication, in journals of consequence. Indeed even as the number of doctoral degrees awarded in science has increased, the number of papers from India in SCI indexed journals has remained stagnant.

Theses and dissertations reflect the scholarly communication process. Scientometrics and citation characteristics of dissertations like, the subject fields of dissertations, the number of citations and their distribution by type of source, years, and by number of authors etc., have been studied with a view to identify the basic features of the scholarly communication process in different fields of study. The characteristics of cited sources that appear in the bibliographies of dissertations have been used not only to help identify core journal titles in specific subject field but also that can be used in collection management decisions and scientometric evaluations.

The purpose of the present study is to determine the bibliometric characteristics of the biochemistry research in the University of Kerala, India, including subject wise break-up, bibliographic forms of cited documents, most cited journals, collaboration in authorship, etc. In order to study the research trend of biochemistry in the University of Kerala, a total of 168 doctoral dissertations awarded between 1966 and 2007 at the Department of Biochemistry of University of Kerala are used as a source.

University of Kerala

The University of Kerala is the mother university of its state, and has been at the centre of higher education activity in Kerala since its inception. The university has sixteen faculties and forty-one departments of teaching and research, with 177 affiliated colleges. The university departments offer a wide range of teaching and research at postgraduate, MPhil, and PhD levels.

Every year the number of PhDs awarded has steadily increased. In 1960, only one PhD was awarded, whereas the number rose to 3,221 in 2008.

Department of Biochemistry

The Department of Biochemistry has a distinguished tradition of more than four decades of research and teaching on various aspects of biochemistry. The department started in 1961 as a unit of chemistry. A separate division of biochemistry was formed within the Department of Chemistry in 1964 and became an independent Department of Biochemistry in 1970. …

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