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BLOG – 40: Scientific publishing in extension: Are we doing enough and are we doing well?

Enhancing the quality of extension research is a pre-requisite for improving the quality of academic publishing in extension. Much needs to be done on strengthening drafting skills and improving the quality of peer review too.


Dr S V N Rao is Head of the Department, (Email:,  is Professor at Division of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Extension, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Veterinary Education and Research, Puducherry, India.


Dr K.Natchimuthu is Associate Professor (, is Professor at Division of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Extension, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Veterinary Education and Research, Puducherry, India.


Dr S Ramkumar (, is Professor at Division of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Extension, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Veterinary Education and Research, Puducherry, India.




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  • Thanks to Dr Mruthyunjaya for admitting the fact that the existing management of the societies is far from professional standards. Unfortunately, the senior & experienced professionals are nurturing the new generations in such a way that they have a group of professionals around them who can take care of them once they are retired. Be it the matter of awards, publications, promotions or other benefits these seniors promote professionals belonging to their own lobby including people of their own caste, state, discipline etc keeping aside the professional competence. Ironically these very people talk of professional ethics!!! Many undeserving ones are being awarded, rewarded by those who are frequently in selection committee! The very high profile academies are not free from this bias & prejudice, unfortunately ! recently I heard one of the journals was included in the list of NAAS rated journals just because one scientist had published several papers in this particular journal and his publications were only in this journals since he happened to be related to a big shot in the ICAR system as also to the journal editor these publications in one single journal are now being used to shower awards by NAAS, ICAR and every other body. It look unreasonable to write all these things here but it is important to highlight these issues which are damaging like termites

  • My compliments to Rao et al for their very useful contribution – drawing attention towards need to improve quality of extension research and I am glad they have touched upon some crucial aspects related to extension (like need for departure from TOT approach). As a development person I feel that Extension Research can play multiple and very useful role and some examples are indicated below: Make planning of development programmes appropriate and effective. Make generation of technologies and recommendations appropriate and enable their Pre-testing. Assess impact of development interventions considering economic, social and environmental aspects. Extension research can be a good link between farmer – development and research teams.There is, however, need for taking a holistic, unbiased and farmer participatory approach as well as long term

  • Congratulations to Authors I enjoyed reading the blog and it has hit the nail on the head. The responsibility lies with teachers/theses supervisors during post-graduation and professional societies subsequently. Poor quality of teachers/research guides combined with least interested students is a dangerous combination, very lethal for the health of the discipline as rightly observed by the authors. Of course, this status is universal across disciplines with minor variations in some cases. I am happy to find some eminent scholars in the discipline through these blogs/communications and if they can strengthen 1-2 scientific societies which can promote quality publications, beginning for change may be made. The existing management of the societies is far from profession standards. In fact the in-fights in them as we often hear have reached shameless levels. The quality remedy at postgraduate level is more difficult as it requires action from several players including administration. But the same team can proactively sensitize the concerned that if action is not immediately initiated to reverse the rotting, the future will not forgive us.

  • This blog paper provides a general view of scientific publishing in the extension science in India. Its always good to look into the recent past to derive meaningful interpretations and suggest future course of actions. Scientific publishing is a tricky aspect in a science which is largely perceived as an action. People always expect extension professionals to do something which will help the farmers in a direct way, rather than indulging in genius things like conducting high quality research and publishing papers etc. When technologies are not adopted or farmers are not willing to take up research outputs, it is regarded as extension failure. For a scientist/ academician from other disciplines, scientific publishing in extension is a kinda useless activity. This blog provides three reasons why our journals are not rated high in NAAS rating. If someone looks deeply into the rating system, many other discipline journals which publish very high quality papers, are also rated low or sometimes missed from the list. The reasons are unknown and the mechanics of the rating system is still a mystery. I am bit confused about the first reason lack of quality research…re we doing research only to publish papers? There are many research works that cant be published as a research paper, but can be great use for the farmers or extension administrators (e.g. compiling indigenous knowledge, documentation of production systems etc.). Besides, we cant say that all published papers are of great quality. I would say that people who think smart can publish even a small survey in a high rated journal. It need smart thinking using commonsense and an intelligent approach to put the results in perspective. We can always correct the drafting issues by adding a co-author who is good in English writing or hire writer services. This blog provides a list of broad research themes in extension. I am unaware of how these themes were identified or the extent to which they reflect the reality in extension systems of research and development organisations. For example, we have at least SEVEN types of extension professionals who are either directly or indirectly involved in extension research (i) an ICAR extension scientist posted in a crop/aspect based Institute, who spend over 50% time in exhibition, demonstration, training etc., (ii) An ICAR scientist posted in a deemed to be University who spend over 50% time in teaching, (iii) an extension SMS in a KVK which is mandated for field extension, (iv) a Professor /AP in a SAU who spends over 50% time in teaching or research (when posted in stations), (v) an extension worker posted in a Central/state-owned extension organisation, (vI) an extension worker with NGOs, (vii) An independent extension consultant. Besides we have an extension student who wish to complete his/her thesis in the prescribed time to acquire degree. The research area/topic are either decided by mandate of the Institute or research interest of the guide. Given the nature of diversity in research areas, it would be difficult to limit the research themes into a list. Besides, the listing will broaden the scope of the extension research and we will be left clueless by sitting with such an exhaustive list. In my opinion, the major problem in extension research is this broadness i.e. lack of boundary for our research areas. We often spend hours in compiling things to provide a broad perspective and often loose focus on the specifics that are required to plan and execute a concrete program to achieve tangible results. Customizing research, i.e. focusing on few research themes and develop methodological expertise to achieve tangible and visible outputs is the need of the hour. To do this, we need a significant change in the extension streams at PG level. At the MSc level, we can offer extension courses with specializations in ICTs, Livelihood system, Media communication, Entrepreneurship etc. If we define our universe with certainty, the research under each stream will be specialized and yield some tangible output. The graduating students will also feel like they acquired something new and valuable.

  • Congratulations & thanks for highlighting the issue having serious implications for the future of extension discipline. We can publish good quality papers in good journals only when we have done good research with required sample & geographical coverage including extensive review. This is possible when we have externally funded projects with required funds, manpower as our departmental projects are often with very limited budgets & negligible staff support. Our institutions say if you want more funds apply to agencies like DBT, DST, ICSSR etc but if you see the funding pattern of these agencies, we dont find many extension scientists sanctioned projects by them. May be many have not applied but I do have a bitter experience recently with one of these bodies! so how we are going to publish good papers without undertaking projects with sufficient funds & manpower support

  • Indeed very interesting blog..The basic issues I have is about quality Vs quantity…Personal Vs Professional….Initially when we start our career getting just any type of paper becomes very important. Even this is what our system demand to give us some job..The quality has very meagre role but the quantity counts to fulfil our scorecard…But, may be at certain stage when we fulfil the scorecard at least, the researchers can think of quality publications for the profession.. Further, I also have a doubt while rating the journals..How can a biological science/basic science Journal be compared with a social science Journal for having ratings.

  • Many thanks Govind and Sethuraman for these comments and enriching the discussion on this topic. Research and Publications are important and I am sure there is no disagreement on this but the many are frustrated at the way we conduct our research and the quality of publications.

  • Good attempt to sensitize on the need for quality publications based on extension research. The authors have indicated that publishing helps the wider community of knowledge users to know about the new knowledge generated through research. Unfortunately, this does not happen in majority of the publications. Recently, I had gone through six research articles on a particular topic. Based on chronology, I could locate the original article and observed that four other articles were mere repetitions. Only one article was slightly different in relation to analysis and interpretation. The classic style used is the present study corroborates with the findings of………. . My question is – where is the new knowledge? It is time that our extension researchers wake up and contribute quality research papers for publication, which have something original for our readers.

  • Sethuraman Paramasivan, There is no doubt in utility of emperical and applied research in advancement of science and body of knowledge. The point here is Are we really making an impact through publishing specially in context of Indian Research diaspora? The merits highlighted by you are the achillies heel of extension system in India. Technology transfer and translation of research into product of commercial value is a distant dream in Indian context. If we compare the outcomes just with BRICS scientific community, we are at loss. What amount of technology does ICAR institutions amount if we compare its counterparts in other countries? Lets be realistic and focus our energies on applied research rather than developing some models which might get lost in annals of rated journals; given the if this product comes to market lets work on making it most probable by focussing on market led research and dvelopment. If we just compare the number of varieties developed by private players vis-a-vis ICAR system we see a stark difference. We have failed miserably to deliver and replicate the land grant sytem in India. Probably more accountability and market sensitivity would be of some help.

  • Scientific research and publishing is a backbone for progress in any professional discipline. Be it biotechnology, business management or extension, scientific publishing is the lifeline for advancement of knowledge and practice. As you are aware, extension aims for improving the life quality of farmers by applying science i.e. using scientific materials and methods to improve the existing practice of agriculture sustainable and profitable. Though extension is a applied discipline, the scientific research gives us a structured way to approach the problem solving and improvement. I believe that this blog is not on advancing basic research in extension. If you believe that extension research and publishing is just for advancing some useless knowledge through intelligent means, you are terribly wrong. A quality research publication at a reputed journal does not need genius approach, it rather demand a commonsense approach. For your kind information, the extension journals or the journals that publish extension research, do not demand intelligent papers. If you believe that if someone is publishing high quality papers in International journals, is distancing himself/herself from farmers, you are (again) terribly wrong. For example, a post-harvest scientist has developed a food product which has high market demand, He/she is approaching an extension scientist to test its sensory quality with prospective consumers. If we conduct sensory evaluation and consumer acceptability studies, which can make a paper for a reputed journal with NAAS rating above 7. At the same time, we can improve the taste of the product and sell it to a company. If this product comes to market, the supply chain will be strengthened and the farmer will get at least 20-30% higher price for his/her produce. In this process, the knowledge is advanced, papers are published and the farmer is benefited. In another case, an extension scientist conducts participatory varietal trials in the farmers field. In one case, the variety is high yielding, but it is not palatable. Through repeated selections the breeder could identify a line which will have high adoption potential and release it as a variety. This work is also published as a paper in a high rated journal and the extension scientist is getting credit for releasing a high adoption potential variety. Do you think that the extension scientist is doing some useless genius activity which wont help the farmers? Scientific publishing is a lifeline of any discipline and its more so in applied discipline. If we think extension research papers are useless, I would say that we have inadequate or no understanding of the real spirit of extension science and its utility.

  • Do farmers give a damn about genius literature work in some peer reviewed journals? And does any of this work move beyond the conference and discussions groups to really make a difference? A big question mark! Private extension systems by agri input companies do a lot good than brick and mortar university extension system in India.