Revelations of serious nature….
While addressing students and academicians at Inspire Science Camp organized by NIT (National Institute of Technology) Srinagar, Kashmir’s renowned gastroenterologist and medical scientist Dr. Mohammad Sultan Khuroo made a startling revelation about scientific research work in Kashmir. In his address Dr. Khuroo said, “Research in Kashmir is doomed. It is a matter of shame that almost nothing new is happening here in terms of research. Be it PhD, M.Phil. or other research taking place in Kashmir, 99.9 percent research work in Kashmir is duplication and we are adding nothing new to scientific repository”. He further added research needs extreme commitment, dedication and highest moral and ethical values” (GK November 18). Such sweeping and contemptuous remarks regarding authenticity of research works in Kashmir from a scientist par excellence cannot be taken as final verdict. However, while making such statement in public he might have some logic and reasoning. Dr. Khuroo’s rise to the level of an acclaimed doctor and a scientist is because of his hard work, and a long chain of research work with extreme levels of commitment and dedication. So he knows the worth of authentic research better than anyone else. Discovery of hepatitis E and its etiological agent hepatitis E virus by him, for which he is admired globally as a pioneer in medical science could have never been achieved without extreme levels of moral and ethical values.
We know Dr. Khuroo has had many bad patches in his profession while serving at SKIMS and became victim of shameful lobby-ism; his capability, scientific acumen and highest degree of personal commitment towards his profession were never appreciated by many of his uninspiring contemporaries. So, his rancor, particularly towards medical fraternity of Kashmir is genuine. But, he is not a man made of raw steel, who would stoop to the lowest extent of negating good work and not isolating authentic research from plagiaristic duplication. In case of making any such unsubstantiated statement he is answerable not only to the researchers and authorities who monitor the research work, but to the people of Kashmir as well. So, something is wrong somewhere, definitely! No doubt the quantum of corrupted research cannot be to the extent as judged by Dr. Khuroo, but, yes the rot is there. And this postmortem of our research scenario speaks volumes about our knowledge structure and the study done in our universities and medical institutions.
Almost a year ago I had a chance to interact and discuss the issues of organic manure and organic farming with a young colleague of mine who holds doctorate in the subject. If my estimation about his raw knowledge and my better standing on the subject won’t amount to exaggeration or bragging, he stood nowhere in explaining the fundamentals of his specialization and analytical scientific knowledge. While interacting and working on the subject my bachelors’ degree in Agriculture sciences and some specialization in subjects other than organic farming turned the scales over his acquired specialized knowledge. Leave alone the scientific interpretation and application of his research he could not articulate his knowledge of applied agriculture science. This was an eye-opener, making me curious like Dr.Khuroo. My curiosity put me on a voyage to access and gauge the research oriented knowledge of many more scientists. The expedition led me to several half-baked scientists and many places and entities in and around our several institutions of learning and teaching where much of copy, paste and attractive binding of research documents is done. Definitely, in my pursuit I also found many fabulous research works and dedicated scientists. So, I can say the result of my little sample search was not as poor as that of Dr. Khuroo’s assessment. I don’t know if Dr. Khuroo was talking explicitly about the field of medical sciences or his precise calculation of 99.9 percent duplication applies to a much broad-spectrum. Of late, I tried to put my experience in black and white, but could not gather much courage until Dr. Khuroo put his calculation on replicated research in public domain.
Anyways, without going into numbers, we should take assessment of Dr. Khuroo seriously as definitely quality of our research stands compromised to a larger extent. The acts of insincere research that will have far-reaching ramifications on our overall development deserves not only denunciation at all levels but complete screening through highest body of credible scientists and academicians.