NEW DELHI: India may have taken a giant leap into the hallowed club of space research, with leaders like the United States and Russia, increasingly joining hands with Indian space scientists in quest for the unknown. Latest data on India's international collaboration in space sciences has shown an almost 56% increase between 2001-05 and 2006-10.
Between 2001 and 2005, 629 publications were internationally co-authored between Indian and international space scientists. The output increased to almost 980 publications by 2006-10 — a growth of 55.8% in raw volume.
These internationally co-authored publications, which contributed to 45.2% of India's total research output in 2001-05 increased to 47.1% by 2006-10.
The analysis, done by Thomson Reuters and submitted to the ministry of science and technology, says these levels of international cooperation are the highest among all the fields under analysis. The US was India's most frequent collaborating partner in this field with American researchers co-authoring 465 publications with their Indian counterparts — 22.3% of India's total research output in space science.
France was the second most important collaborating partner with India, co-authoring 206 publications with Indian researchers in 2006-10. France accounted for 9.9% of India's total research output in this field, an increase of 1.7% since 2001-05.
Collaborating in space science as percentage of India's total research output in this field also increased with the UK (+0.8%) and Germany (+1.4%), Russia (+1.9%), Spain (+1.4%), Australia (+0.7%) and the Netherlands (+0.7%). Collaboration has increased substantially across the board with all major countries.
Consider the case of Russia. Indian and Russian space scientists co-authored 29 papers between 2001 and 2005, and the output increased to 82 papers between 2005 and 2010. Ditto for Germany. As against 98 papers co-authored in 2001-05, the output rose to 175 in 2006-10.
Similarly, with the UK, the output increased from 107 to 177 during the same period, Italy (from 83 to 119), the US (from 316 to 465), Spain (from 45 to 96), Japan (from 80 to 109), France (from 114 to 206) and Australia (from 51 to 91).
According to the Planning Commission, the 11th five year Plan witnessed significant progress in international cooperative endeavours in space science.