Indian Publications and patents output in Nanotechnology
Anit Kumar Panda and V.K. Gupta
Nanotechnology, which arose out of a convergence of conventional scientific fields such as material science, molecular chemistry, quantum physics and biotechnology, has significant potential to open up new opportunities for economic, environmental and social benefits. It can be an innovation driver for sustainable development, growth and employment. India launched its national nanotechnology initiative in 2001. This section analyses the Indian contribution in the field of nanotechnology as reflected in the publications and patents output.
The primary data on publications for this analysis was obtained from Scopus database (http://www.scopus.com). The data on analysis of patents was obtained from the Delphion database (http://www.delphion.com).The search in the Scopus database was made by using respective keyword in one of the field entitled `search for’ and India in another field entitled corresponding affiliate address’. The keyword search was made in the fields of article title, and abstract of the publication data for the period 1990 to 2007. First, a broader search was made by using the keyword nano*, wherein the initial data output of publications was obtained. Further, it was observed that when a search was made using specific keywords, e.g. nanobiotechnology or nanocrystals, a larger number of relevant records were obtained. In view of this, the additional keywords were taken as nanotechnology, nanobiotechnology, nanocrystals, nanofluidics, nanoparticles, nanocomposites, nanostructures and carbon nanotube. In addition, a few more keywords wherein ’nano’ did not appear but related to nanotechnology viz. fullerene, quantum dots, dendrimer and cantilever were also used. The data so obtained was cleaned (by removing duplicate and irrelevant records, such as incomplete records) and a set of 11,000 unique publications was finally taken for analysis. The selection of keywords was not comprehensive but only indicative, so as to broadly indicate India’s contributions in the field. The same keywords were used to search patent data in the Delphion patent database comprising of data from patent databases, namely, European Patent Office (EPO), WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office), INPADOC (International Patent Documentation Center), Abstracts of Japan, and in Granted German patents. The search was made by using keyword in one of the fields entitled `title, abstract, claims’ and `India’ in another field entitled `inventor’. The data so obtained was cleaned and a set of 167 patents was taken for analysis.
Growth in Publications
Fig 1. Indian publications in nanotechnology for the period 1990-2007
Figure 1 indicates an almost exponential growth of publication activity in the field of nanotechnology between 1990 and 2007. The rate of growth of publications is much higher during 1998-2007 in comparison to that between 1990 and 1997. Of the total 11,000 publications, 9395 (85%) are research articles and 1359 (12%) are papers presented in conferences. The remaining contributions include reviews, editorials, letters to editor, and short surveys. Each publication is authored by authors from one or more institute. Counting the contribution of each author as one publication, the total number of publications worked out to nearly 21,000, implying multiple contributions from a single institute. The analysis indicates that the publication activity accelerated after the launch of the national nanotechnology initiative.
The major contribution to these 21,000 publications, nearly 48% of the total, has come from the academia. The share of the government R&D institutions is nearly 28%. The share of industrial firms in publications is nearly 1.3%, of which 80% is contributed by domestic firms and 20% by foreign firms operating in India. Foreign academic institutions contribute/collaborate in nearly 22% of these publications.
Academia: The highly productive academic institutions include Indian Institutes of Technology (Kharagpur, Kanpur, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Roorkee, and Guwahati), Indian Institute of Science, Jadavpur University, University of Delhi, University of Pune, Utkal University, H.S.Gour University, Banaras Hindu University, Jawahar Lal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, University of Hyderabad, University of Madras, Amaravati University, Calcutta University, Alagappa University, and Shivaji University. These universities have contributed more than hundred publications each. The other significant contributing academic institutions are several National Institutes of Technology.
Government: In this sector, the most productive contributions have come from Bhaba Atomic Research Centre, Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Indira Gandhi Centre for Advanced Research, Kalpakkam, Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Centre for Materials for Electronics Technology, S. N. Bose Centre for Basic Sciences, and Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology, Indore. Productive contributions have come from the Laboratories of CSIR that Include National Chemical Laboratory, National Physical Laboratory, National Institute For Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (formerly Regional Research Laboratory, Trivandrum), Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Central Electrochemical Research Institute, Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute, National Metallurgical Laboratory, National Aerospace Laboratories, Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute, Central Leather Research Institute, and Indian Institute of Chemical Biology.
Industry: Industrial firms making significant contributions in this field include reliance industries, Sun Pharma Advanced Research Centre, Tata Chemicals Limited, Torrent Research Centre, Ogene Systems (I) Pvt Ltd., GE Global Research, GE India Technology Centre, and Texas Instruments Limited.
There are about 1,367 journals in which carried publications from this field. Of these, 43 journals are high productivity journals wherein 46% publications appeared. These included Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Journal of Applied Physics, Applied Physics Letters, Materials Letters, Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, Nanotechnology, Bulletin of Materials Science, Journal of Physical Chemistry B, Chemical Physics Letters and Langmuir.
Growth in Patents
Fig 2. Indian patenting activity in nanotechnology for the period 1990-2007
Figure 2 indicates the growth of patenting activity in the field of nanotechnology by Indian inventors. It is observed that the intensity of patenting grew slowly during 1990 to 2000 but rose suddenly during 2001 to 2007, almost exponentially. Of the total 167 patents, 64 patents (39% of the total patents) are owned by government institutions, 45 patents (27% of the total) by firms in the industry, and 10 patents (6% of the total) by academic institutions. There are 37 patents (22% of the total) that are owned by individual inventors. The remaining 5% patents are joint patents pertaining to collaboration between government institutions or firms from industry. Leading contributors from the government sector include laboratories of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Department of Atomic Energy. Firms like Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited (Indian company till 2007), Stempeutics Research Private Limited, Panacea Biotec Limited, and Arrow Coated Products Limited have been the leading owners of patents. Academic institutions that have been granted patents include the Indian Institute of Science, Indian Institute of Technology, Jawahar Lal Nehru University.
The major technological areas of patenting in the field of nanotechnology include its applications relating to drugs and pharmaceuticals, chemical sciences and technologies e.g. catalysis, colloid chemistry, separation and non-metallic elements and materials, analyzing materials by determining their chemical or physical properties and methods/filters implantable into blood vessels.The analysis indicates growing Indian competence in the field of nanotechnology, particularly since 2000 onwards. There are significantly more number of publications than patents. The academic institutions have significant R&D capacity and have made significant contribution in terms of publications. In contrast they have limited patenting activity. Although firms from industry have been active in taking patents, there is almost negligible publication activity by them. In an emerging field like nanoscience and nanotechnology, the competence in basic research plays a significant role in developing new technologies. Therefore, it is essential for the firms in the industry to develop basic research capacity and contribute more towards publications. The government institutions have been playing an important role by contributing both in terms of publications and patents. The analysis indicates that institutions in each of the sectors of academia, government and industry should complement their R&D capacity and technological strengths. There is a need to further enhance collaboration amongst academia, government institutions and firms in the industry.