The Indian Council of Philosophical Research (ICPR) is an apex body of the Government of India that was set up to promote research in philosophy around the country. The council was established in 1981 although it became fully functional only in 1984. Right from its inception, ICPR has been publishing scholarly journals and various academic magazines. The council promotes Thespian philosophy and is fully dependent on government funds for its mission to encourage research activities in universities and colleges across the country. We met Dr. Mercy Helen, director P&R, at ICPR for a discussion on the council’s publications and related matters.
Journals published by ICPR
ICPR brings out its own publications with content provided by various scholars from all over the country. Till date, the council has published 135 publications in four different categories. The first category includes manuscripts that are submitted by scholars keen to get their work published. In this case, ICPR’s committee shortlists the manuscripts which are then sent to select referees (subject matter experts) for their opinion.
Helen says that in case one referee gives a negative report and another gives a positive report, the manuscript is referred to a third referee. Depending on the report of the third referee, ICPR accepts or rejects the manuscript. The ‘accepted’ manuscript is then sent to a committee which evaluates it and returns it with or without negative or suggestive remarks. If there are any negative or suggestive remarks, the manuscript is sent back to the writer for revision. The revised manuscript is then presented to another committee, which approves the work for publishing and this is followed by the editorial and production processes.
The second type of manuscripts that ICPR receives from their fellows (numbering 162 every year) are their thesis papers which is mandatory for all of them to submit to their respective universities as well as ICPR to conduct their research. Out of the total submissions, ICPR selects the best few that can be taken up for publication.
The third type of manuscripts include projects funded by ICPR in the study area of philosophy. Such projects could include studying the scope of setting up a center of Buddhist studies or it could be a study of Sufism as a medium to promote social harmony, among others. In this case, the project report is the manuscript and ICPR chooses only what it considers the most suitable for publication after thorough evaluation.
The fourth type of manuscript is translation of work originally done in some regional or international language which ICPR considers good enough for publishing. These manuscripts too undergo rigorous evaluation and assessment before getting published. According to Helen, ICPR’s editorial functioning is based on committees and not editorial boards. At the top is the general research project committee, which evaluates the scope of the work and appoints sub-committees as per the subject matter.
ICPR has a long list of esteemed publication houses in its panel like, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, Motilal Banarasidass Publishers, DK Publishers, Springer Publishing and Routledge (a Taylor & Francis India Group company) with whom it has co-publishing agreements. Helen explains that it means, among other things, the name and logos of both ICPR and the publishing company will appear on the cover and elsewhere in the book. The council buys 250 copies of the published journal for distribution in its network while the empaneled co-publisher prints as many copies of the journal it feels is necessary for its market. For instance, the Journal of ICPR (JICPR), which is the council’s signature publication, is co-published with Springer.
Helen shares that ICPR has its own academic center library in Lucknow, which is a one-of-its-kind library in the whole of Asia, having exclusively philosophy books numbering over 30,000. Many university libraries and public libraries place orders for ICPR books in bulk (25-100 copies or more). ICPR also organizes seminars in universities as well as in many other places where the publications of ICPR are displayed. ICPR participates in almost all the major book fairs in the country and pays for stands from its own kitty. Their books are moderately priced as they are not a profit-making entity.