Indonesia’s Ministry of Education and Culture has made a bold but controversial decision to boost the number of research papers produced by the country by requiring all university students to publish papers in academic journals as a condition for graduation.

Director General of Higher Education at the ministry Djoko Santoso told heads of higher education institutions that under a new regulation announced on 27 January, to come into effect from August, undergraduates must publish a paper in an academic journal in order to graduate.

Postgraduate and doctoral students will be obliged to publish in an accredited national academic journal and international journal respectively.

Santoso said in an interview that the rationale for the policy was that “graduates must possess the ability to write scientifically”.

Graduates needed to be trained to meet the needs of a modern nation, Santoso told University World News. “The culture of writing should become familiar, and university is the place to create a new culture of writing,” he said.

But academics said the main aim was to increase the number of published research papers.

“The fact is, the number of scientific papers in universities in Indonesia is still low compared with several other Association of South East Asian Nations countries like Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand,” the chair of Indonesia’s Association of Private Universities, Edy Suandi Hamid, was quoted in local media as saying.

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