UGC norm on ISBN halts promotion

UGC norm on ISBN halts promotion

The new guidelines of the University Grants Commission (UGC) for promotion of professors has put the teaching community in a fix.

The UGC has mandated International Standard Book Number (ISBN) tag for the books published by professors as a yardstick for promotion.

The Commission came with the new guidelines for promotions last year while notifying the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission. According to the new norm, professors have to obtain ISBN or  International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) for the books they publish. Only such books would be considered while promoting professors. The rule has virtually nullified the efforts put in  to produce the works so far published.

A committee constituted by the University of Mysore has submitted a report to the UGC on the fallouts of the new norm. The committee headed by vice-chancellor Prof V G Talawar has also urged the Commission to consider the works published so far without ISBN tag.

“It is our demand to consider books published without ISBN/ISSN tag so far, for promotions. The works could be assigned lesser marks than those with the ISBN tag,” the VC told Deccan Herald.

A division of the Union Human Resources Ministry allots the ISBN tag, after submission of application in a prescribed format. The procedure to procure ISBN is not difficult. The department, after verifying the application, assigns numbers from 10 to 30 and once the numbers are exhausted, application for new numbers can be submitted. It takes a while for the publisher to get the tag. As the books in Kannada are usually published in a hurry, either publisher or author seems not to have given much thought to procuring ISBN tag.

Now, with the education sector opening up to globalisation, the UGC has made getting ISBN tag mandatory. But, in India, even certain magazines too have not obtained ISBN tag. The professors are worried that they would not get marks even for their published works as they don’t have the ISBN. 

Hitherto, a committee chaired by vice-chancellor of respective university, comprising a UGC-nominated member and State government-nominated member used to select professors for promotion, considering years of service, number of candidates guided by them in doctoral degrees and works published. There was no uniform norms among the universities for promotion.

As per the new UGC norms, the candidate for promotion should have scored at least 400 out of 1,000 in different sections such as teaching, learning and publication.
Under publication, it has several sub-rules: the books can be on any subject, but should have minimum 50 pages; if the book is authored by the candidate 25 marks will be assigned. But, these books should have ISBN or ISSN tag.

“There is a great demand among lecturers now for ISBN number. Hence, the University of Mysore has obtained ISBN tag and has applied for ISSN numbers also,” said Prof C Naganna, Head, Prasaranga.

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