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Bangladesh fall behind India, Pakistan in research

  • Published at 04:55 pm January 10th, 2021
science research
Photo: BIGSTOCK

University of Dhaka has retained the highest position among Bangladeshi universities with 760 publications

Bangladeshi researchers have published more than 8,000 scholarly articles in international journals with impact factor in 2020 – which is third in terms of the number among South Asian countries.

An online magazine, Scientific Bangladesh, published the annual report on scientific documents of the country on January 2, analyzing the data of Scopus, a citation database of peer-reviewed literature including scientific journals, books and conference proceedings.

The impact factor, also known as Journal Impact Factor (JIF), is a metric used to evaluate the relative importance of a journal.

According to the report, the scholars of the country published 8,140 articles and other documents in 160 peer-reviewed and impact factor journals. The number was 6,363 in 2019, while it was 5,234 in 2018.

However, in 2020, Indian and Pakistani researchers published 199,261 and 28,612 documents respectively, which is far more than Bangladesh.

Bangladesh's status

Most of the publications by Bangladeshi researchers were in English (8,135). There are few publications in Chinese (4), French (2), Spanish (2) and Malay (1). 

Out of 8,140 publications, 7,186 are finally published and 954 articles are still in press. The top three subject areas of publications are Medicine (2,173), Engineering (1,824), and Computer Science (1,581).

Medicine has surpassed engineering as the top subject in this regard due to an increase in Covid-19 related publications. 

The top eight journals which published the highest number of articles by Bangladeshi researchers are: Plos One, Scientific Reports, Heliyon, IEEE Access, BMJ Open, Results in Physics, Environmental Science, and Pollution Research.

University of Dhaka (DU) has retained the highest position with 760 (100 more than last year) and Bangladesh University of Science and Technology (BUET) retained the second position with 510 (more than 100 less than 2019) publications. 

International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr, b) is in the fifth position with 418 documents from the third position in 2019. Rajshahi University is in the third position with 465 publications from fourth in 2019 with 330 Publications.

Jahangir Nagar university has secured the fourth position with 437 publications from the fifth position in 2019 with 250 publications.

North South University has recovered its position in the top ten and Daffodil International University (235, eighth) has retained its position in the top ten.

The other institutions are -- Bangladesh Agricultural University, Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, and Khulna University.

Dr Monir Uddin Ahmed, founder and executive editor of Scientific Bangladesh, said: "Though publications are increasing in small numbers, this is far from enough for the scientific advancement of the country.  In comparison to India and Pakistan, our publications are very few with only one patent while India got 276 patents last year."

"Moreover, the majority of the publications are from non-resident Bangladeshi [NRB] researchers.  Research funding also mostly comes from foreign funding bodies. This means that our own research organizations are not publishing enough documents. The result reflects that more and more Bangladeshi are going abroad for research purposes," he added.

Only one patent in 2020

According to the Scopus database, Dr Tahmeed Ahmed, acting executive director of icddr,b secured first position with 65 articles last year.

He has been working for the last three decades on simplifying the management of childhood malnutrition, childhood tuberculosis and diarrheal diseases.

He and his team at icddr,b worked extensively with Professor Jeffrey Gordon of Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, United States to find out ways and means of increasing the presence of the beneficial bacteria in the intestines of children suffering from acute malnutrition.

This has led to the discovery of a novel intervention called Microbiota Directed Complementary Food (MDCF). This novel intervention was adjudged by the world-famous journal Science to be a scientific breakthrough of 2019.

Meanwhile, Kawsar Ahmed, a teacher of Mawlana Bhashani Science and Technology University and Md Sahab Uddin, executive director of Pharmakon Neuroscience Research Network, jointly secured second position with 55 articles, according to the data available.

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