Thursday, July 25, 2024 | 22:16 WIB

The future of writing academic papers in the Indonesian language: crisis of confidence and the future of the Indonesian civilization

Jakarta, IO – A few months ago, I had the opportunity to attend a workshop on academic journal writing which is a very routine event in various Malaysian colleges and universities. Trainings or courses like these are an important routine for us lecturers working and teaching in Malaysia, because every year we have an obligation to publish a number of articles into international journals which at least must be in the SCOPUS index. These responsibilities vary according to our ranks. For example, as a professor, we must publish at least ten SCOPUS indexed articles in order to ensure an extension of our contracts into the next year. A very interesting training session was given by a young professor with a number of world class awards from various prominent journals who so very kindly as to give us a lot of tips and secrets regarding the publishing of a journal. 

In the middle of the course, I was intrigued to discuss about the future of writing academic papers in Indonesian which—according to my own observations—does not have a certain future due to its exclusion or its inability to enter the currently available international indexing system. This paper is written not to criticize the academic system in our universities in Indonesia, but to enlighten and increase the awareness among the young researchers and academics in Indonesia to witness the unfolding crisis, including the future of the Indonesian civilization and science. 

Based on my experience working as a lecturer in different universities and colleges, be it in public universities—Institut Pengajian Tinggi Awam (IPTA) in Malay—or in private universities—Institut Pengajian Tinggi Swasta (IPTS) in Malay—for more than 17 years, the main target of higher education in Malaysia is to increase the university’s rank in order to maintain the quality while also improving the reputation of said university. Like our children’s ranking system in school, each university is competing to obtain higher ranks in the Quacquarelli Symonds Rankings or QS Rankings. A higher rank will earn more trust and faith from the general public which in turn will help to give more prestige to said university. 

One of the main components of the QS Rankings is the publication of papers into internationally recognized and indexed journals. In this case, because QS was initiated in Europe, SCOPUS—which was founded in Amsterdam, the Netherlands—became the main reference point for the grading system. Thus, the more papers or articles published in SCOPUS, the higher the QS Ranking of said university. This led to universities setting up benchmarks to all lecturers and researchers in their respective universities to publish papers in SCOPUS as a prerequisite for career promotions and rank elevations. 

This became the reason why courses and training for academic writing for SCOPUS indexed journals became so prevalent, even for trainings and courses with over-the-top expenses and costs. When in turn, writing papers or books in Indonesian are constantly discarded and the amount has decreased drastically. For decades, I had the opportunity to experience this exact process and environment in the publication scene in Malaysia, and as I have observed, Indonesia is going in the same direction as Malaysia. So, in the midst of my writing English papers for a SCOPUS indexed journal to fulfill my duties to my university, I make time to write this article because it is very important for the continuity and betterment of the Indonesian civilization.