India was the world’s third-most-prolific publisher of research papers in 2022, but it was ranked only 153rd for the number of citations it received per paper. Indeed, in 2020, about 30% of papers from India were not cited at all, compared with 20% in both the United States and China. These trends are mirrored in many other low- and middle-income countries whose researchers struggle to get published in high-impact journals.

But despite this challenging publishing environment, some Indian scientists have produced influential, highly cited studies in a number of fields in the past few years. Here Nature highlights several of these key areas of research that have the potential to improve public health and quality of life both domestically and globally.

Strategies to reduce air pollution

Many parts of India have highly polluted air. The University of Chicago’s Air Quality Life Index ranks India as the second-most-polluted nation in the world in terms of air quality, behind only Bangladesh, and refers to Delhi as “the most polluted city in the world”.