The Internal Quality Assessment Cell (IQAC) and the Nodal Office, UGC-CARE Journals (South) University of Hyderabad organised two special lectures by Dr Shubhada Nagarkar for research students of the Social Sciences and Humanities. These lectures introduced students to the world of research and raised questions around numerous issues including ethics, quality, metrics and publication practices, among others. They also encouraged researchers to use the rich library resources that the University offers in a more intelligent and efficient manner.

Dr Nagarkar is an Associate Professor at the Department of Library and Information Science and the Co-ordinator at the Centre for Publication Ethics (CPE), Savitribai Phule Pune University. Since 2018, she has been a member of the Empowered Committee of UGC-CARE. She has published in several renowned journals. She has also been popularising Library and Information Science articles in newspapers and blogs.

The first lecture focused on helping students protect themselves from predatory journals. Young scholars are particularly vulnerable to predatory journals in a highly competitive field like academia. Dr. Nagarkar informed the audience in detail about the databases that they should keep track of. She also explained how one can publish in different formats on different platforms and concluded by giving several tips for identifying predatory journals.

The second lecture focused on what the speaker described as ‘information search literacy’. Looking for desired information in a vast sea of data becomes very difficult if one doesn’t know how to filter out literature of interest from search results. The lecture also covered research repositories, citation databases, and academic search engines.

She also demonstrated the role of features like Boolean operators, proximity operators, and punctuations in narrowing down search results. Subsequently, she explained how to access and use important online databases such as JSTOR, SCOPUS, Web of Sciences, etc. She also elaborated on metrics for the evaluation of impact, such as h-index.

Both students and faculty members attended these lectures. There was ample time for Q&A after each lecture which encouraged students to clarify their doubts regarding research and publishing. Dr Nagarkar also informally interacted with the students after the sessions. The lectures were held in Zakir Hussain Complex. These lectures were possible thanks to the generous support under the IoE scheme.

Contributed by Shreya K Sugathan, WJ Hermalin Levina, Dipa Parihar (Research Scholars, Political Science)