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‘India should take leadership role in international collaborations’

As scientists explore the frontiers of our understanding of the universe, science problems will get bigger and need more and more international collaboration, according to Nobel laureates Randy Schekman and David Gross, who were in the city on Friday as part of the Nobel Prize Series India 2017, a series of lectures and talks with scientists and policy makers held across Gujarat, New Delhi and Bengaluru.

Prof. Schekman won the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine in 2013 for his work in molecular biology. Prof. Gross, who is a theoretical physicist, won the Nobel Prize in 2004 for his work in quantum physics.

Prof. Gross said that the physical sciences were seeing more and more scientific problems that needed enormous collaboration in research. “A major portion of science today is on big science and big data, such as from the Manhattan Project to CERN. There has to be room for international collaborations or we will never make progress, even if it doesn’t fit our individual style of working,” said Prof. Gross. “I hope that India, a major economy rapidly becoming a global leader, will take a leadership role in international collaboration located here and led by its scientists,” he added.

Prof. Schekman, who is editor of open-access journal eLife, is a strong advocate of open access to scientific knowledge. “Many so-called reputed journals limit the number of papers they publish to maintain their exclusivity. And they may not always be credible; an investigation showed that 75 per cent of papers published in certain journals could not be replicated,” he said. He called for scientists in India to publish their work in open access journals and in archives, so that low-quality pop-up journals which did not ensure the veracity of the work published, become redundant.

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