Saturday, September 17, 2016

Pakistan Beats BRICs in Percentage of Highly Cited Research Papers

Pakistan has emerged as the country with the highest percentage of Highly Cited Papers compared with the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) in the last 10 years, according to Thomson Reuters. Pakistan has doe so despite the fact that its "R&D environment faced substantial economic challenges".

Source: Thomson Reuters
In a report titled "Pakistan: Another BRIC in the Wall", author Lulian Herciu says that Pakistan’s scientific productivity has quadrupled, from approximately 2,000 articles per year in 2006 to more than 9,000 articles in 2015. During this time, the number of Highly Cited Papers featuring Pakistan-based authors increased tenfold, from 9 articles in 2006 to 98 in 2015.

Source: Thomson Reuters
The author asserts that his report provides comparisons between Pakistan and BRIC nations taking a look at productivity and leveraging contextual indicators. His analysis points to the fact that Pakistan can be benchmarked with emerging and dynamic countries such as those in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) group.

The Thomson Reuters report has found that, in 2012, "Pakistan's normalized Citation Impact was higher than that of all of the BRIC nations".

CERN Membership:

In 2014, Pakistan became the first Asian country and only the third in the world after Turkey and Serbia to be honored with CERN's associate membership. The status of associate member is a step before full membership. As an associate member, Pakistan  is entitled to attend open and restricted sessions of the organization.

College and University Enrollment:

There are over 3 million students enrolled in grades 13 through 16 in Pakistan's 1,086 degree colleges and 161 universities, according to Pakistan Higher Education Commission report for 2013-14.  The 3 million enrollment is 15% of the 20 million Pakistanis in the eligible age group of 18-24 years.  In addition, there are over 255,000 Pakistanis enrolled in vocational training schools, according to Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA).

Graduation Day at NED Engineering University For 1300 Graduates in 2013
Pakistani universities have been producing over half a million graduates, including over 10,000 IT graduates, every year since 2010, according to HEC data. The number of university graduates in Pakistan increased from 380,773 in 2005-6 to 493,993 in 2008-09. This figure is growing with rising enrollment and contributing to Pakistan's growing human capital.

Source: UNESCO's Global Education Digest 2009

Higher education in Pakistan has come a long way since its independence in 1947 when there was only one university, the University of Punjab. By 1997, the number of universities had risen to 35, of which 3 were federally administered and 22 were under the provincial governments, with a combined enrollment of 71,819 students. A big spending boost by President Pervez Musharraf helped establish 51 new universities and awarding institutions during 2002-2008. This helped triple university enrollment from 135,000 in 2003 to about 400,000 in 2008, according to Dr. Ata ur Rehman who led the charge for expanding higher education during Musharraf years. There are 161 universities with 1.5 million students enrolled in Pakistan as of 2014.

R&D Investment: 

Rise of research and publications at Pakistani universities began during Musharraf years when the annual budget for higher education increased from only Rs 500 million in 2000 to Rs 28 billion in 2008, to lay the foundations of the development of a strong knowledge economy, according to former education minister Dr. Ata ur Rehman. Student enrollment in universities increased from 270,000 to 900,000 and the number of universities and degree awarding institutions increased from 57 in 2000 to 137 by 2008. Government R&D spending jumped seven-fold as percentage of GDP from 0.1% of GDP in 1999 to 0.7% of GDP in 2007. It has since declined as percentage of GDP.


Pakistani scientists and researchers are continuing to produced highly cited research in spite of serious economic and security challenges. Enrollment in higher education is rising and giving a boost to academic research. With better policy focus and more investment in higher education, Pakistan  can make an even greater impact with its young demographics.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan Becomes CERN Member

Pakistani Scientists at CERN

Rising College Enrollment in Pakistan

10 Pakistani Universities Among Asia's Top 300

Genomics and Biotech Research in Pakistan

Human Capital Growth in Pakistan

Educational Attainment in Pakistan

Pakistan Human Development in Musharraf Years

Robotics Growth in Pakistan 


Hammad Q. said...

Trust me I am not suprized by this ranking.In Every Final year project the students are encouraged by faculty members and advisor to publish and citate a research paper for their work in order to get A grades.
And also bv the article does not to mention the number of research papers the students have to study in order

Riaz Haq said...

Hammad: "Trust me I am not suprized by this ranking.In Every Final year project the students are encouraged by faculty members and advisor to publish and citate a research paper for their work in order to get A grades."

The only citations that count are those in papers published in peer reviewed journals.

NBRX said...

If you are happy with this report all the power to you. To me the sheer volume of BRIC articles 3.2 million (China 2.2M, India 593K) versus Pakistan's 9K tells you a different story. Very small amount of scientific literature is being published in Pakistan.

Imran said...

All this good news in Pakistan but why western media don't mention? They don't want Pakistan to do well because of favoring enemy India

Riaz Haq said...

NBRX: " the sheer volume of BRIC articles 3.2 million (China 2.2M, India 593K) versus Pakistan's 9K tells you a different story. Very small amount of scientific literature is being published in Pakistan. "

It's about quality, not quantity, as measured by number of citations.

Pakistan is rapidly increasing quantity (over 4x increase in 10 years) without sacrificing quality.

Riaz Haq said...

Morgan Stanley's Ruchir Sharma: Prospects of #Pakistan’s #economy "VERY GOOD" & #India's "GOOD" … via @TheNewsonSunday

Closer to home, he has clubbed four nations of South Asia — Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka. In general the future outlook for South Asia holds ‘Good’ and for Pakistan it looks ‘Very Good’. I started jumping on the couch after reading the outlook for Pakistan and for the rest of the time I was reading the book I was only interested as to what the future outlook holds for Pakistan in the eyes of most influential investor and thinker. But then the author has added a caution and it’s damn important that we read and comprehend this fine print in detail.

Pakistan’s economy is taking off and the future outlook till 2020 has been termed ‘Very Good’. The rationale used in building this argument is that our working age population is growing and that’s a very good sign for the economy. Inflation is under control which is increasing in the vicinity of 3 per cent but on the other hand GDP is growing at 4.5 per cent. Contrary to the populist demagogy, our debt level is pretty low in relation to comparative economies whereby debt to GDP is at 65 per cent. We have a decent manufacturing base with export economy and we are also investing in factories by opening industrial parks as elucidated in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Our trade deficit is on the decline as our import bill is on the wane, thanks to lower oil prices in the international market. We are also not exporting commodities whose prices are plummeting in the international market. We would be getting a shot in the arm once the CPEC starts rolling out as China has committed to invest US$ 46 billion in infrastructure and power related projects in Pakistan over the next 20 years.
Sharma says that even if 50 per cent of this commitment materializes, it would be enough to provide us with the necessary infrastructure that will take us from a low-income to a middle-income country during the next five years.
Though hard to digest, the most influential writer and investor says that we don’t have stale leadership like Vladimir Putin of Russia and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey who have clung to power for more than a decade and are in their fourth terms. But then Nawaz Sharif is in his third term too.
A very important point the author highlights is that for a coup-prone country like ours, the military finally seems to have decided to concentrate on ensuring the internal as well as external security while staying clear of politics.

Anonymous said...

Rizwan said...

@ Anonymous: Sheer garbage. The only reason this garbage made its way into the Pakistani papers is because the reporters probably do not have adequate scientific background to sift useful from useless science.

Riaz Haq said...

Interestingly, the report maintains that “although from productivity perspective the comparison shows a huge difference, using contextual indicators we will see that Pakistan can be benchmarked with emerging and dynamic countries as those of the BRIC group.”

‘Pakistan needs to set up more research institutes’

Pak vs BRIC

The report denotes that in 2012, in the category normalised citation impact (CNCI), Pakistan was higher than all BRIC countries besides, the percentages of documents cited and the percentage of highly cited papers are also greater.

As per data, the total percentage of documents by all the BRIC countries cited during 2006-2015 is 59.73 per cent while it was 62.27 per cent for Pakistan alone. Similarly, percentage of BRIC’s highly cited papers during the same period was 0.57 per cent while it was 0.71 per cent in Pakistan’s case.

Subject area

When compared with six major fields of sciences, Pakistan has the best CNCI in engineering and technology, showing focus on applied research. The data on natural sciences shows a steady increase while medical and health sciences have witnessed large fluctuations.

The humanities group has witnessed a steep slope in 2015 after soaring way higher in 2014. The group of agricultural sciences has hit a rock-bottom in 2015 compared to BRIC countries.

Natural sciences documents have been cited 34,538 times followed by medical and health sciences with 15,973 times while humanities with the lowest citations.

Six Pakistani universities among world’s top 700 institutes

Report findings opposed

Educationist and physicist Pervez Hoodbhoy refused to buy the claims of the report, saying the results of the report were counter-intuitive and flatly contradict with what one daily observed and experiences inside any Pakistani university.

Another Pakistani theoretical physicist with a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Amer Iqbal, also criticised the findings of the report, stating that “highly cited is not always the same as highly influential”.

Riaz Haq said...

From University World:

Understanding that strong academics are key to improving the quality and relevance of higher education, in 2002 Pakistan embarked on a massive faculty development initiative that awarded over 10,000 international and even more local scholarships. The project has been a global success story in both boosting and internationalising the country’s academic core.

Professor Sohail Naqvi, vice-chancellor of Lahore University of Management Sciences and former executive director of the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, and senior colleagues from elsewhere in Asia and Africa described a range of approaches to higher education development and internationalisation. Only a few are described here.

They were speaking at the inaugural symposium of the Higher Education Forum for Africa, Asia and Latin America or HEFAALA, held last weekend in Durban, South Africa, in a session that tackled two key issues – South-South and South-South-North cooperation, and internationalisation-regionalisation: academic mobility and brain drain or circulation.

The Pakistan experience

Drawing on eight years of leadership of the Higher Education Commission, Naqvi said that in the decade from 2002 the organisation formulated and implemented a key academic development strategy that continues today.

It focused on developing indigenous talent “and doing something at the international level”, and on producing the next generation of academics as well as upgrading the qualifications of existing faculty. Two primary programmes were launched.

One involved 10,000 international scholarships and more local scholarships that included an opportunity for every PhD scholar to spend six months abroad. The only stipulation was that the university abroad had to be ranked one of the world’s top 200 in the particular discipline.

“All of these programmes are driven by financial constraints – how can you get the maximum bang for the minimum amount of money?” Naqvi told the symposium.

Where there were good relationships with universities abroad, it was possible to bypass the tuition fee issue and just provide a stipend. “If the student is good, as they were in most cases, the university will provide you with six months. So the six months becomes one year and your local PhD turns into an international PhD.”

The second programme, said Naqvi, was about faculty development. “Everybody understands that the United States is the leader but US$50,000 a year is impossible. So we created a 10%-90% scheme. We said we would send only 10% to the top universities in the world, regardless of cost. So that is Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford etc.”

To ensure there was a balance across all disciplines, a quota system was introduced with more than a dozen categories. Later, politics introduced another dimension – there also had to be regional quotas within Pakistan. “It became very complicated to manage but we did it.”

For the remaining 90%, there were scholarships available to study in Europe, where tuition fees are low or do not exist. Government-to-government linkages were developed through the development agencies of seven countries.

The model was based on a local test through which the best scholars were selected. Experts from the partner countries were invited to select candidates from that pool. “It gave them confidence that they were selecting the best people.”

The development agencies received a management fee to manage the Pakistani scholars in their countries, “which meant they were accountable to us. It also ensured every student was accounted for, managed and came back. Well, almost all came back,” said Naqvi.

Riaz Haq said...

Google Maps #Pakistan Rival TPL Trakker to Expand in Three Countries: #Bangladesh #Iran #SriLanka via @markets

Pakistan’s largest tracking service provider is planning to expand its mapping service to Bangladesh, Iran and Sri Lanka within three years to cater to the under-served countries with a combined population larger than Eurozone.
“My short-term objective is not to look at maps just for Pakistan, but for all areas where people are not active,” TPL Trakker Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Muhammad Ali Jameel said in an interview in Karachi. “We will become a significant player in the mapping space.”
The company, which rivals Alphabet Inc.’s Google map business, is aiming to make its app one of the most frequently used mobile applications by providing services such as food delivery and e-commerce. Started in Pakistan last month, TPL’s maps will begin generating revenue in six months. The application will be free for users with the company planning to sell advertisement space.
“The objective is to have world class maps and have data that is semi-local, but will have better quality than anybody else,” said Jameel. “The objective is to get people hooked onto the maps because of the features.”
TPL Trakker’s stock rose 2 percent, the most in a week, to 12.3 rupees at close in Karachi on Friday. Shares have fallen 17.6 percent this year, compared with a 21 percent gain in the nation’s benchmark index.

Navigation System
The company also supplies maps to cars sold by Toyota Motor Corp.’s Pakistan unit as part of its navigation system. TPL plans to add the service to another automobile company by June, Jameel said. The company is seeking to boost revenue to as much as 12 billion rupees ($114 million) in four years from 2 billion rupees, he said.
Google Maps which started over a decade ago as a desktop mapping service has become one of the search engine’s most-used smartphone global app products offering satellite imagery and street maps. The market leader provides live traffic data in 60 countries and constantly adds newer features customized to each location.

The U.S. company has run into hurdles with authorities of some nations. Google’s camera-mounted cars were to roam Indian cities collecting imagery from roads and public locations for its free Street View service but the nation’s Home Ministry rejected plans in June. Indian security agencies have expressed apprehensions as the country has had multiple terrorist incidents with attackers extensively photographing targets in advance.
“Mapping is a sensitive business,” says Jameel. “It’s a sensitive business that is not regulated but can be regulated.”
Jameel got permission earlier this year for Pakistan after applying eight years ago with the government’s mapping organization called Survey of Pakistan. The group also plans to start construction of a high-end residential building in Pakistan’s commercial capital in January after listing its property business, which includes an office building that fetches the highest rent in Karachi, according to Jameel. Property prices have more than doubled since 2012 in the coastal city that’s recovering from decades of sectarian violence, bombings and kidnappings.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan's Wonder Boys Reimagine Special #Education Get Global Innovation Award at #Stanford via @forbes #specialed

Taking home third prize at the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) Tech-I Startup Competition held at Stanford University this year, WonderTree, a Pakistani start-up from Karachi, is on the road to aiding children with special needs by way of its thoroughly interactive augmented reality games.

For Muhammad Usman, the start-up’s co-founder and Chief Technical Officer, the birth of WonderTree swiftly took shape in 2015, when he saw his older brother (born with special needs) enjoying playing a game on his PlayStation. “It was then when all the dots connected and I realized what I wanted to do,” Usman stated.

Working closely with special education teachers, occupational therapists and psychologists, the start-up has currently developed four games that are best suited for children with autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, ADHD, and other mental disabilities.

With just a kinect v2 sensor, a television and a laptop as the only hardware required to play the games, WonderTree’s technology assists in developing motor, cognitive and functional skills for children with learning disabilities. But that’s not all; the start-up’s games feature an in-built reporting system which helps the developers track and document each child’s performance.

“We’re working on ways of using this data to build AI (artificial intelligence) into our games,” Usman said, speaking of WonderTree’s upcoming plans, “So in the future; our games will be able to adjust the difficulty levels and other settings as per the child’s needs, progress and disability. This will make our games highly efficient. We’re really excited about this.”