National Mapping of Science - India: Engineering Sciences*

IK Ravichandra Rao
Documentation Research and Training Centre
Indian Statistical Institute, Bangalore-560 059


P Suma
Siemens Information Systems Ltd
84 Kieonics Electronic City, Bangalore-560029


Attempts to find out India's share in the global output of engineering literature, in different forms of publications including journals used by Indian engineers and researchers in the engineering and related fields for publishing their contributions. The study provides analysis covering the following aspects: (i) Journals publishing Indian contributions, their (journals') impact factor, country of origin and subject areas covered and the number of Indian contributions published; (ii) Indian institutions contributing to the engineering literature, their location and types of contributions; and (iii) Subject-wise, location-wise, language-wise, and document-wise analysis.


Data published in COMPENDEX PLUS (CD-ROM) database of 1990 and 1994 was covered for the study. Thus, the study is limited to about 4,500 journals and other types of publications as covered by the database in these two years. To identify the Indian contributions, the word `India' or `Indian' occurring in the article title, corporate source, conference title, conference location, conference sponsor's source was tapped. Non-resident Indian authors were excluded from the study. The data for both the years was analysed together and also separately and comparison made on certain aspects. Unless otherwise stated it is to be assumed that the data related statements in this study are based on the total of two years data.


The analysis indicates that the literature output in applied physics, light and optics, bioengineering, and information science increased over the years compared (1990 and 1994) both at global and Indian levels. However, the rate of increase varied with the subject areas. In applied physics and bioengineering India's output was increasing at a faster rate than the world's output. In the areas of energy technology, metallurgical engineering and food technology and related areas of these subjects, the output was decreasing at both the levels. In electronics, computers and communications, electrical engineering, environmental technology, marine engineering, aerospace engineering and related areas of these subjects, the world's literature output was decreasing. However, in civil engineering, industrial engineering, mechanical engineering and other related areas of these subjects, the output at global level was decreasing while Indian contributions were increasing.

As regards the type of documents published by Indian authors, the study shows that 88 per cent of the Indian output was journal articles, 11.6 per cent conference papers and the rest monographs and reports. As to the language of publication, as can be expected, 99.7 per cent of the Indian contributions were in English. The remaining were in Russian, German and French. The subject-wise distribution of Indian contributions shows that the maximum contributions (20.62 per cent) were in the field of chemical engineering and other related areas. The other fields having significant contributions were applied physics (12.37 per cent), metallurgical engineering including mining and material sciences (10.23 per cent) and electronics, computers and communications (8.74 per cent), etc. It is also seen from the study that most of Indian contributions were largely (46.96 per cent) papers devoted to experimental studies.

The analysis also deals with institution-wise contributions focusing on the type of institutions and their geographical distribution. If an institution has branches at different locations, they are considered as separate entities. The study indicates that there are about 1,000 institutions in the country contributing to the engineering literature output as covered in COMPENDEX PLUS. These institutions together published 8,349 papers. Major contributors are Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore (5.87 per cent) followed by Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-D) (4.86 per cent) and Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai (IIT-C) (4.76 per cent). The output of all the IITs together was 19.49 per cent.

It is also seen that 530 institutionscontributed one paper each, 150 contributed two papers each, 203 contributed 3 to 10 each, 87 contributed 11 to 50 each, 17 contributed 51 to 100 each and 12 contributed more than 100 papers each.

The geographical analysis also suggests predictable results. The metropolitan cities of New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Calcutta lead in the contributions. Analysis by states and union territories shows that Maharashtra (15.37 per cent), West Bengal (12.06 per cent) and New Delhi (10.98 per cent) lead in the output figures. Karnataka moves from the sixth position in 1990 to the fourth position in 1994. Only two states (Maharashtra and West Bengal) contributed more than 1,000 papers each.

The total number of institutions publishing more than 100 papers is 13 while each of the other states and union territories contributed less than 100 papers. The analysis on the types of institutions is done according to academic institutions, laboratories, government (central and state) institutions, and industries.

The academic institutions include universities, institutions of national importance like IITs, IISc, Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), Regional Engineering Colleges (RECs), other engineering colleges and institutions related to agriculture, medicine and other such institutions.

The category of `laboratories' covers only those of Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) and Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO).

The category `government' institutions includes Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Department of Space (DoS), Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Department of Science & Technology (DST), Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Department of Electronics (DoE) and Ministries of Power, Commerce, Water Resources, Health & Family Welfare, etc.

The `industries' category covers both private and public.

The analysis shows that academic institutions contributed 60 per cent of the publications while the other categories, viz., laboratories, government institutions and industries contributed respectively 16, 14.12 and 7 per cent. Among the academic institutions, IISc, IITs, RECs, IIMs and ISI contributed 46 per cent of the output.

The study also presents analysis by journal titles and countries of their origin. The impact factor (the ratio of the citations to the citable items published in a journal) for each of the journals is also given by collecting the figures from the Journal Citation Reports (JCR), 1994, published by Institute of Scientific Information (ISI), Philadelphia, PA. The analysis shows that Indian engineers and technologists published their papers on engineering in 902 journals emanating from 27 countries. Of these, 47 journals are from India. Ninety seven per cent of all the journal papers contributed by Indians are published in journals of seven countries, i.e. India, USA, UK, Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Japan. The highest percentage (42 per cent) of the contributions appeared in the journals from USA followed by UK (22 per cent), India (12 per cent), Netherlands (12 per cent), Switzerland (5 per cent), Germany (3 per cent) and Japan (1 per cent). Among the Indian journals, maximum number of papers (177) were published in Bulletin of Materials Science, accounting for 19 per cent of all the papers published in the 47 Indian journals. Of the 47 Indian journals, impact factors (IF) of only four are given in the Journal Citation Reports 1994. The IF of these journals is less than 0.400 and greater than zero. It was also noticed that the well-known Indian journal, Pramana - Journal of Physics (IF 0.345), had no papers in the 1990 database and there were 117 papers in the 1994 database.


The following are the salient findings of the study:

  1. Indian contributions to the engineering literature as covered by COMPENDEX PLUS database of 1990 and 1994 numbered 3,520 and 4,829 respectively.

  2. Eighty eight per cent of the contributions comprised journal articles and the remaining were conference papers, monographs, reports, etc.

  3. Maximum number of Indian contributions were in the fields of chemical engineering, ceramics, polymers and plastics (20.62 per cent) together.

  4. The global output of literature as covered in COMPENDEX PLUS of 1990 and 1994 was maximum in the fields of chemical engineering, ceramics, polymers and plastics (17.2 per cent) and minimum (0.08 per cent) in the field of aerospace engineering. However, the world's output in chemical engineering was less in 1994 than that of 1990.

  5. Of the Indian contributions, 46.96 per cent papers were devoted to experimental work, 23.6 per cent to applications, 15.79 per cent to theoretical work and 10.99 per cent were review papers.

  6. About 1,000 Indian institutions contributed to the engineering literature output.

  7. Sixty per cent of Indian contributions in engineering were from academic institutions, of which 46 per cent were from premier institutions.

  8. Highest number of articles were contributed from New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Calcutta. The leading states/union territories are Maharashtra, West Bengal, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Uttar Pradesh.

  9. Indians published their papers in engineering in 902 journals emanating from 27 countries. Of these, 47 are Indian journals. Ninety seven per cent of all the journal papers contributed by Indians were published in journals of seven countries including India. The highest percentage (42 per cent) of the publications was in the journals from USA.

  10. Journal Citation Reports of 1994 provided impact factor for only four Indian journals The IF for these journals is less than 0.400 and greater than zero.

* Prepared under National Mapping of Science Project, sponsored by NISSAT .The coverage of Indian S & T literature by foreign databases is not exhaustive. Hence, conclusions drawn based on this data may not always be correct. - Editor

Information Today & Tomorrow, Vol. 19, No. 2, June 2000, p.75-p.17