REVISTA DE LA FACULTAD DE MEDICINA HUMANA 2019 - Universidad Ricardo Palma DOI 10.25176/RFMH.v19.n1.1786



Jhony A. De La Cruz -Vargas1,a,b,c , Elio Iván Rodríguez Chávez2,d,e,f

1 Director del Instituto de Investigación en Ciencias Biomédicas.URP, Lima-Perú.
2 Rector de la Universidad Ricardo Palma, Lima-Perú.
aEspecialista en Oncología Medica.
b Maestría en Investigación Clínica.
c Doctorado en Medicina.
d Bachiller en Educación y Titulo de Abogado.
e Doctor en Educación.
f Investigador y Escritor.

Instituto de Investigación en Ciencias Biomédicas de la Universidad Ricardo Palma

One of the most important processes and from which every other university activity is sustained is the investigation. Research is creation, original production, development of argumentation and coherence of ideas, thorough review, deep reflection, solving mysteries, and ultimately giving focus to dreams. The integral conceptual approach, proposed by Rico1 for whom research “is to colonize a small or large plot, sowing, cultivating, harvesting and distributing its fruits, so later others come to improve, optimize and overcome our task”.
Metaphorically with sowing the research process includes three moments: A first moment sowing and cultivating as the application of the methodological approach, a second time to harvest such as the assimilation, interpretation and discussion of the results and finally the distribution of its fruits can be understood as the dissemination of knowledge, an unequivocal synonym of publication. The university, as the cradle of research, has the arduous task of integrating, appropriating and producing knowledge, in addition to transmitting it.

The Peru's top 20 universities according to SUNEDU and América Economía

At the beginning of 2018, the National Superintendency of University Education presented the biennial report of university reality, where included its ranking of the best universities in Peru from an evaluation by Incites Bencharking & Analytics, which collected data from registered publications by Web of Science Core Collection2 .

What were the measured indicators to create this ranking? First, the number of posts related to each university in journals considered by the mentioned website and the number of documents quotable between 2014 and 2016. Likewise, the H index of each university between 1996 and 2016, which is the amount of scientific articles published and how many times they were cited, and the number of published articles among the 10% of the most cited in the Web of Science Core Collection, also between 2014 and 2016. In this evaluation the Ricardo Palma University in Lima, Peru ranked 18th.

In October, América Economía magazine shared its own ranking of the best universities in Peru in 2018, evaluating indicators such as quality of university teachers, research and infrastructure, ranking 18th out of more than 90 evaluated universities.

The good news for the Ricardo Palma University is that a recent evaluation: Advance of the scientist publication from Peruvian universities in Scopus in December 2018, (see table 2) ranked us fifteenth, climbing 3 steps in the upper third of Peru's universities, with a promising indicator of progress in publications (greater than 100%)3. Being the biomedical area one of the areas with the greatest power of nationally and internationally publication.


Research in private universities: A luxury or a necessity?5

The research, beyond the ranking, represents one of the most important needs for public and private universities. The relevance that each of these institutions gives to this item, is clearly reflected in the quantity of published articles, the members of the National System of Researchers (NSR) which has contemplate within its academic staff, as well as the number of patents given from knowledge obtained. Every higher education institution should consider in their aim priorities, to improve year after year the infrastructure and financial support for research. The above mentioned is essential to become leading universities, producers of new knowledge and participants in the development of their country, achieving recognition as a committed institution with scientific and technological research.

Investigation is present in the man's life from its origins. By investigating, we provide others new knowledge about the reality around us, but we also benefit the population and, above all, we offer our country the essential elements to get better. This results in what is known as "knowledge-based economy", activity that is carried out by countries such as the United States, which have always shown a very high technological development and competitiveness. The US invests more than 2.5% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in scientific activities6. In 2011 in Mexico, only 0.46% of GDP was invested in science, technology and innovation. In Europe, Finland and Sweden allocate more than 3.5% to this item. The World Bank states that Peru invests only 0.15% of its GDP in research and development, despite the fact that almost a third of the population are young people looking for opportunities to grow academically. In South America, Brazil invests more than 1%, about 0.90% more of what Peru allocates to research. Of course, this investment yields these countries a greater quantity of scientific products, good technological development and, obviously, better competitiveness. In most developed countries, the scientific activity is carried out in a very important way in higher learning institutions, especially in private universities. Harvard, Cambridge, Princeton, Columbia University and Yale are just an example of the quality level that research can achieve in these educational campuses. These universities not only share the privilege of being classified as institutions with a high research level but, in addition, share the fact of belonging to the private sector (U.S. News and World Report, 2012) In United States a very high percentage of monthly publications comes from these kinds of universities. This is without doubtless, the promotion and investment result that these institutions grant to research.


In relation with the promotion, one of the fundamental points these universities try to stand out in their promotional instruments, is the scientific activity they develop. The promotion of scientific activity, are not only managed for regular courses, they also run special summer courses, which even undergraduate international students are invited to live with professional scientists and thus start their scientific development in high level laboratories. In this sense, the Research Institute in Biomedical Sciences (RIBS) from Ricardo Palma University, has been a pioneer to develop "Research Courses and degree by thesis and summer research programs ",such us the investigation internships promoted by the Peruvian Association of medical schools , where medicine students from many universities around the country complete an intensive research experience, in addition to the develop of a national and international collaboration network.

Regarding investment, these universities consider a must-invested fund in what they called institutional priorities. As part of these priorities, stand out the support for proposals research and the scientific infrastructure purchase, which represents for the university, a way to improve its competitiveness7 .It is clear that these institutions consider research as more than just an expense, they see it as a urgent need in private universities: Only as an example, the inclusion of high quality scientific programs significantly increases the admission of academic excellence students. On the other hand, investment in high quality research lines will pay off subsidizing their graduate studies programs and obtaining in the medium and long term of extra-institutional financing and patents that, without being precise, will recover two times or even more than the amount invested. Universities from United States know very well that investing in scientific activities represent a great growth opportunity. It is evident the product of this investment is reflected these universities world ranking position.

The research perspective
Is interesting to observe the grounded model in connection with the business environment. This is the way many universities have achieved to be at the forefront of private universities regarding the scientific products generation. It is no coincidence in Peru, since 2017 the National Council of Science, Technology and technological innovation and the World Bank, launched calls aimed at promoting projects of research with the formula: Academy-company.

In Latin America is estimated only one of ten investigations is developed by private institutions. The foregoing makes clear the need to promote scientific activity in private sector.

In Peru, the patents culture is very little developed, in most cases, the researcher think first about publishing and rarely about patent. The above is clearly reflected in the gradual increase in publications nationwide but not so of patents requested by our researchers. Patents are research and technological development indicators from a country. It is clear that we are in a vicious circle in which the lower the budget, the less research, the less knowledge and therefore fewer patents.

The Peruvian researchers’ number per University, compared to other countries, is very small; however, year after year it has been increasing.

Despite this increase, the number is very small since it represents around 0.01% of the total population. It is evident the necessity to develop study programs and research activities aimed at training of resources. Research in private universities requires close collaboration between the attached professors, researchers and undergraduate and graduate students. This has already started in public universities and some of the most recognized private universities in the country.

In private universities the number of researchers belonging to the National System of Researchers is greatly fewer. One of the main problems that causes private universities have fewer of researchers registered in NSR is the lack of resources aimed at supporting research projects in these institutions. It is essential to generate the importance that should receive the vision of the university-company binomial, a point that is probably not so valued and especially little exercised by many private universities. The above could explain in some way, the reflected number in the amount of publications and patents, which is strengthened by have the financial support of the business sector.

Unfortunately, in Peru, economic support of the business sector is really lower (<2.5%) comparing to other countries (more than 60%), even so, this represents a great support for the development of scientific protocols in those universities turn to companies support this item and that are willing to provide the necessary financing to carry out research projects. The company can (and should) approach to the academic world to try to solve their problems, those that everyday life and its processes present them, but university research policies cannot focus only on solving specific issues. The university can seek business funding for some axes, but above all must also finance with its own resources a more theoretical or applied investigation, exercised by their institutes, teachers and students.

Needs and Necessary Reforms:
In Peru, and in private universities, the reforms should be aimed at developing the triple helix model, a model where universities, the business sector and government interact in an organized way in order to promote the scientific and technological advance.

However, one of the most important factors to obtain patents, NSR members and published articles is the infrastructure.

This is one of the most important points, since the institution may have with well-structured and well-founded projects, but if does not have a well-equipped laboratory or with the necessary elements to carry it out, good results will not be obtained and therefore it won't be an investigation with the quality required to be published.

Research should be a topic of interest to our youth, since students are potential inventors, able to ensure universities as natural sources of innovation. Thus, the research field should be seen as one of the education basic pillars and not as a necessary institutional requirement for any type of accreditation of the offered careers. This is why it is very important to introduce in Peruvian universities, courses to promote the training of new researchers, which teach students the investigation importance, getting them to see it not only as a subject that must be taken to continue advancing in the bachelor's degree, but as a contribution of part of them to scientific advance. Without a doubt, research should be more than a luxury it must be considered as a real need for public and private universities, especially for private ones, since at the moment they have not always addressed it in the most convenient way. Peruvian and Latin-American private universities must visualize that research is an area for positioning them as leading institutions in the development of innovative protocols, in addition to provide new knowledge, serve as base for research being conducted in other countries. High-level research should be done, which has the financing necessary to transform knowledge in applicable technology to the country needs.

From the universities we must demand to our students and teachers the ability to interpellated, critical thinking, as well as promoting maximum quality level in investigations so that they can appear in indexed journals. While more academics Peruvians are present in such publications, our university system will have a greater presence in international rankings.

But the universities ranking is only the instrument, and not the objective. The ultimate goal is to understand research as an essential part of life university. The system must be organized to that as an aim and not with appearing in rankings. The second must be a consequence of the first; let's work assuming that, if we want it solid, it will not be immediate. The logic indicators, often so illogical, no always reflects how faithful we are to the essence of an institution. It is fine to measure, but it is better to know what we want to measure and why.

Finally, higher education institutions, both public and private, must become "entrepreneurial universities", which bet on innovation, support the new proposals and have the initiative to develop new protocols and lines research to carry out investigation itself and also teach students to question and wonder the objective to research in private universities. However, many Peruvian institutions have overlooked transitions to college research, and from there to the university enterprising. Many universities by default, for inertia and by mandate, they still are only teaching8. They must teach students to break paradigms and to propose new things to allow Peru stop being a knowledge consuming country and moving to be a creates its own technology country and carries of the same worldwide. Investigation must be considered as one of the most important weapons the country has to promote the ideas that thousands of young people have in mind and could generate a relevant change in the usual way Peru is viewed around the world. The idea that research is a luxury that generates expenses should be left behind, to begin to see it as a need which also position universities as leaders in new knowledge creation, can make them participate in the development of a Peru recognized for its commitment to scientific and technological research in benefit of the society.

Table 1. Peru: Ranking of universities – General

1.        Pontifical Catholic University of Peru  99  
Associative 63  licensed  100.000
2.         Peruvian Cayetano Heredia university  55
Associative 24  licensed  69.187
3.         San Marcos National University  465  
Public 65  ultimate authorization  54.548
4.         La Molina National Agrarian University  56  
public 12  licensed  38.432
5.         National University of Engineering  61
Public 28  ultimate authorization  26.086
6.         National San Antonio Abad University from Cusco  324 Cusco public 40  ultimate authorization  23.584
7.         National university of Trujillo  192 La Libertad  Public 45  ultimate authorization  20.045
8.         Southern Scientific University  18
associative 21  ultimate authorization  19.865
9.         Piura University  48 Piura associative 28  licensed  14.843
10.     Pacific university 54  Lima associative licensed  11.088
11.     Altiplano National University 55  Puno    35  ultimate authorization  10.987
12.     Peruvian Applied Sciences university 22  Lima  associative 52  licensed  9.976
13.     National University of the Peruvian Amazon 55  Loreto  public 30  ultimate authorization  9.671
14.     San Martin de Porres university 54 Lima  associative 23  licensed  8.183
15.     Lima University 54  Lima  associative 11  licensed  7.585
16.     National San Agustin University 188 Arequipa public 47  ultimate authorization  7.562
17.     Esan university 13  Lima  associative 10  ultimate authorization  6.844
18.     Ricardo Palma University 47  Lima  associative 23  licensed  6.227
19.     San Pablo Catholic University 19   Arequipa  associative 11  licensed  4.198
20.     San Ignacio de Loyola Private University 21  Lima  associative 41  licensed  4.005
21.     Federico Villarreal National University 53  Lima  public 67  ultimate authorization  3.909
22.     Piura National University 55  Piura  public 35  ultimate authorization  3.097
23.     Catholic Santa Maria university 55  Arequipa  associative 28  ultimate authorization  2.765
24.     Pedro Ruiz Gallo state University 46  Lambayeque  public ND  ultimate authorization  2.309
25.     Antenor Orrego Private University 28  La Libertad associative 23  ultimate authorization  1.565
26.     National University of Callao 50  Lima-Callao public 17  ultimate authorization  1.235
27.     Peruvian wings University 50  Lima  associative 31  ultimate authorization  0.819
28.     National University of Tumbes 32  Tumbes  Public 20  ultimate authorization  0.439
29.     La Salle University Arequipa  Associative Provisional authorization  0.420
30.     Private San Juan Bautista University S.A.C 19  Lima  Associative 16  ultimate authorization  0.292
31.     Andean University of Cusco 32  Cusco Associative 18  ultimate authorization  0.281
32.     northern private university 22  La Libertad Associative 44   licensed  0.063

Table 2. Progress of the scientific production of Peruvian universities in Scopus, December 2018

2018* Preview** DEC 2018 DEC 2017 Preview**
Cayetano Heredia University 350  (87,1)  402  330  (82,1)
Pontifical Catholic University of Peru  349  (84,7)  412  307  (74,5)
National University of San Marcos  341  (91,9)  371  244  (65,8)
Peruvian University of Applied Sciences  147  (105,8)  139  108  (77,7)
San Martin de Porres University  100  (96,2)  104  73  (70,2)
Southern Scientific University  82  (132,3)  62  43  (69,4)
Engineering National University  77  (120,3)  64  54  (84,4)
Saint Agustin National University  70  (92,1)  76  42  (55,3)
National University Agraria La Molina  63  (82,9)  76  62  (81,6)
Saint Antonio Abad University  63  (112,5)  56  33  (60,0)
Pacific University  60  (127,7)  47  42  (89,4)
Saint Ignacio University  48  (106,7)  45  30  (66,7)
Continental University  39  (108,3)  36  24  (70,6)
Trujillo University  38  (92,7)  41  31  (75,6)
Ricardo Palma University  35  (116,7)  30  20  (69,0)
Northern private university  33  (84,6)  39  31  (79,5)
Piura university  25  (55,6)  45  27  (60,0)
ESAN university  23  (79,3)  29  27  (93,1)
Antenor Orrego university  22  (50,0)  44  22  (50,0)
Federico Villarreal University  21  (77,8)  27  20  (74,1)
* Scopus December 5, 2018, based on the affiliation ID of each university
** Progress in relation to the previous year (articles 2018 * 100 / articles 2017)
*** Production advance of 2017 measured in December 2017, over what it finally had, measured in December 2018

Correspondence: Jhony A. De La Cruz Vargas
Address: INICIB, Faculty of Human Medicine, Building I-208. 2nd Floor. Avenida Benavides 5440, Surco, Lima-Peru.
Telephone: 708-0000 / Annex: 6016
Email: jhony.delacruzv@urp.pe


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