30 April 2017
Pakistan’s universities have never done well in international rankings. Every year the absence of the country's institutions from the upper levels of the QS andTimes Higher Education (THE) league tables is met with complaints and recrimination.
Last year, the country’s best showing in the QS world rankings was that of the National University of Science and Technology, Islamabad, which reached the 501-550 band. Another five universities were below 700th place. Meanwhile three institutions were in the 601-800 band in the THE world rankings
An article by Niaz Hussein in NewsGerm discusses this poor performance and argues that one reason is that the Higher Education Commission and universities put too much emphasis on quantity rather than quality. Salary and promotion are based on publication in journals even those with a poor reputation. One university requires M Phil students to publish articles even in journals of limited quality.
The author notes that QS and THE both assign a substantial weighting to citations of journals included in the Scopus database in which very few Pakistani journals are included. He also notes that researchers have little time in which to develop patents.
He concludes by arguing that Pakistan, whose output of citations is dramatically lower than that of India and Iran, should focus on research that is likely to yield a high level of citations.