Making Research More Accessible | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 16, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:16 PM, February 19, 2018

Making Research More Accessible

When we think of conducting a research we immediately associate it with a great deal of reading and field work. Access to research materials becomes a crucial point for many researchers and it is surprising that many resource bodies are not known to the scholars. Long gone are the days when a researcher had limited library resources. By the grace of technology, materials are now available online. A researcher can go treasure hunting through the resources online. However, with this access, piracy becomes a critical issue. So, it is tremendously important to know what to access and where to publish.

The state of research work in Bangladesh has not been noteworthy. Where universities are expected to play vital roles in knowledge production through research, the number of published research papers compared to the number of universities in Bangladesh does not meet the expectations. Research and publication is one of the vital points in the process of global ranking of universities and research organisations. International recognition will only be possible if these institutions take necessary steps towards creating a research friendly culture.

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An eminent researcher and urbanist Professor Nazrul Islam shed light on the basic essentials to conduct a research. If an organisation focuses on research, publication and dissemination then it must provide the researcher with adequate space and equipment, along with a rich library. Library resources need to be both physical and electronic. Research work begins with bibliographic research. Without a proper bibliographic research, a research paper would not be complete. Now the question is where could these data be found?  For some disciplines data can be collected from recognised organsations for example, economists can find their necessary data from Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. They make it available both in print and online. It would be wise to select topics on which data is available. Data for social research are not readily available. There are however research councils that may support researchers through funding or providing the necessary space and equipment. Professor Islam names the National Archive, Public Library, Central Library, UGC online resources, IPSA, and Bangla JOL as resource places. 

Professor Islam also draws attention to the medium of language in the research scene. Among the small number of research papers that are available from Bangladesh, some are written in Bangla. A paper must have at least the abstract written in English to be recognised by an international body. This according to him is also an issue for which many research papers are not accessible or citable. Many recognised scholarly writings have not been recorded globally only due to the language barrier. If Bangladesh could have a national bibliography, then all scholarly publications could be properly recorded. It is needless to say that it is a massive task to be tackled.

Professor Din Mohammad Sumon Rahman, Director, Office of Faculty Research, University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh points out three necessary criteria to conduct a research. He believes conducting a research work needs proper planning. The reason that many fail is

grossly due to unpreparedness of the scholar. Before conducting a research, the scholar must know the technical procedure. The topic on which the research would be conducted must fit with the demand. He mentions the visibilities of subjects are different. Naturally the access and provocation are bound to be different. For example subjects like Public Health and Agriculture are of interest in the international arena compared to subjects related to social science or popular culture. Secondly, the scholar must have a plan so as to where does he want to publish the paper. This is a crucial decision according the Professor Rahman. The scholar also must know the details of the journal before deciding. If papers are submitted without proper verification, rejection chances would be higher. Thirdly, he urged scholars to be aware of predatory journals. These are published with open-access, and are exploitative in nature. It involves charging publication fees to authors without providing the editorial and publishing services associated with legitimate journals. Since the time demands access to online resources, it is also important to be able to search for authentic resources.

How to identify pseudo journals?

There are various ways to pinpoint faux journals. A search click on “How to identify false journals” will give ample of points. Here are some of the most common ways to police these sources.

1. While most reputed journals allow free submission, predatory journals would ask for a submission fee instead of a publication fee.

2. A journal's strength is always reflected upon the members of its editorial board. Peer review is expected to be precise and strong. However, false journals would have a very small editorial that are often unrecognised.

3. Dead links are primary signs of false journals.

4. There are fundamental errors like spelling mistakes in the titles and abstracts.

5. Usage of boastful language like “leading publisher” should always ring a bell for false check of the journal.

There are however journals which are internationally recognised. If a scholar can have a paper published from these journal bodies, the incentives are limitless. It is also a matter of pride for scholars and teachers to have published papers in national and international journals. There are many terms that are vague in the field of research. The definitions of national and international journals are also such words. There are many organisations that include these key words with their name just to attract scholars. Journals like Web of Science and Scopus are well recognised international journals bodies. For the national body, The University Press Limited and Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, are some of the names that can be relied upon.

Research is a vast field. Proper incentives and recognition are needed to persuade a scholar towards research. At the same time, a scholar, writer or aspiring teacher must realise that having a published paper does not only contribute towards a higher degree or a promotion but also professional pride.


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