Research culture.

IN Pakistan, researchers' worst nightmare is that the publication in which they got their studies published gets blacklisted, or, even worse, delisted by the Higher Education Commission (HEC). The research culture in Pakistan is quite modest, but there remains active in the shadows a secretive network of 'researchers' and the 'journal mafia'.

The HEC a few years ago launched the HEC Journal Recognition System (HJRS) website, which contains a list of all the approved national and international journals. The journals are divided into three categories, with W being the top category comprising journals with the highest impact factor, followed by the X category indicating a lesser impact factor, and the Y category with the lowest impact factor.

Anyone in Pakistan who can write around 4,000 words and, more critically, has Rs40,000 to Rs50,000 to invest can simply become a published researcher. This undermines the credibility of the research process, and lumps those who have paid for publication or utilised touts, together with...

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